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The Royal "Pony" Power Tank

Tom Gasko, Tacony Vacuum Cleaner Museum

Royal power nozzle photo
Royal "Manna Ray" style power nozzle.
Royal power nozzle photo
An Air-Way built power nozzle left, and a Filter Queen built power nozzle right.

While Royal made tank-type cleaners starting in the 1930's, this article focuses on the Power Tank cleaners. These machines came with an electric outlet that the owner could use with the optional power nozzle. Royal tank cleaners used Lamb motors and had a triple filtration system consisting of a paper disposable bag, cloth bag, and fiberglass pre-motor filter. They kept the dirt out of the motor fairly well, allowing the motors to last a long time.

The first Power Tanks came out in the mid 1970's. Air-Way made the power nozzle for the Royal, and it had an external cord along the hose to provide power to the nozzle. In 1980, to celebrate Royal's 75th anniversary – Royal added an electrified hose and designed a new Royal-Built power nozzle.

Called the "manna ray" nozzle, Royal's goal was to have an easy to use and see carpet height adjuster, an easy to remove soleplate, and the same brush roller and belt that was used in the uprights models. The "manna ray" nozzle was large and heavy, made out of metal. It was very problematic as well. The belt was in the center of the path of dirt, vulnerable to damage. The belt drive shaft was also 'in the open', and frequently bound with hair and threads, causing the belt to slip off the drive shaft. It was a failure in many ways, and today is VERY rare and desirable

After the "manna ray" debacle, Royal turned to their old friend Filter Queen. Royal and Filter Queen started their business relationship in 1930, with Royal building "The Health-Mor" upright. In 1939, Royal was the manufacturer of the first Filter Queen, the model 200. They were also the builder of the second model, the 350. This time, they would build the Royal Power Nozzle using the existing molds that Health-Mor bought from General Electric in 1972 when GE ceased making cleaners.

The last power nozzle Royal used was a Cen Tec nozzle with a geared belt. These proved to be great cleaning nozzles, easily able to keep up with the tremendous suction produced by the new Lamb High Efficiency motor. As more and more people were buying upright vacuums, and with the advent of on-board tools and bagless models, Royal stopped making the Power Tank line, and they now belong to the ages.

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional, September 2015