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Collecting Dust

A New Dawn!

By Tom Gasko Vacuum Cleaner Museum

On October 15, 1936, the very first Rexair, model A, was sold in Detroit. While the Great Depression was still a dark cloud on the American horizon, there was a ray of hope for the first Rexair salesmen. They had in their hands the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner that used dual cyclonic dust separation technology so it never lost suction.

Back then, once the salesmen were trained on how to use the machine, they were turned loose in neighborhoods to knock doors and put on selling demonstrations. The price of the cleaner was $99.75 – in today's dollars that's $1678. The real problem for the salesmen was that they were selling the first machines. No one ever heard of Rexair before. No one knew anyone who owned one. Where would you get it fixed? What if the company went out of business (as many did during the Great Depression)?

The merits of the water filtration concept were selling the machine were well, even with the opposition from the public to a cleaner they'd never heard of. In two years, Rexair salesmen managed to sell 170,000 units. By 2013, over 14 million Rexair and Rainbow vacuum cleaners have been sold. There's virtually no one who hasn't heard of water filtration vacs. But until now, they were all still sold through door to door salesmen. And that becomes a problem for a cleaner that many like and want to own. Unless a salesman visits your home, when would you get a chance to see a new model or update your old cleaner? What happens to the 25-year-old Rainbow that need major service?

Early Rexair vacuum and New Sirena vacuum photo
An early Rexair model (left) next to a new Sirena vacuum, photographed at the Vacuum Cleaner Museum.

The "New Dawn" in water vacuums has finally happened. And just like Rexair in 1936, the new Sirena Vacuum Cleaner is just starting out. To be in on the ground floor of this company and the opportunity they provide is breathtaking for the vacuum shop. And that's where the "new dawn" comes in. No longer does the owner of an old Rainbow have to get it endlessly repaired because of the very high cost of a new model or the unavailability of a salesman to visit the home of a loyal Rainbow owner. Today, the local vacuum shop can sell a machine that does everything, for $895. No door to door salesmen, no high pressure sales, the Sirena will be a dream come true for any vac shop that regularly sees Rainbow (or any water vacuum) for repair.

What a blessing for the customer as well as the vac shop. Imagine a customer with a 1986 model D4 Rainbow. It's so old now, it needs major repairs. Power nozzle motor, brush roller, cord, water pan, hoses, main motor, etc. Instead of using a blow torch and spending half a day to repair the 27-year-old model, the vac shop owner goes over to his new Sirena, and shows her all the upgraded features, and then stuns her with the low price (especially when we consider that 27 years ago, a new Rainbow was more than $1200). For any vac shop that has always wanted a water filtration machine that works, is quality made, and will last – the new Sirena is the answer.

And so, just like in October of 1936, the vacuum cleaner world is poised to begin showing and selling something exclusively for people already sold on the idea that "wet dust cannot fly." Millions of people have used Rainbow as well as other water filtration vacuums. Now is the chance for the vac shop instead of the door to door salesman to present and sell something of their own. It's an entire untapped market just waiting for the vac shop owner with the foresight to see the future by learning from the past.

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional, December 2013