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Kirby Vacuum Cleaners celebrates its 100th birthday in 2014

Kirby Vacuum Cleaners celebrates its 100th birthday in 2014 in conjunction with Quality Cleaning Equipment, Hamilton


2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Kirby Vacuum Cleaners, an important milestone for Kirby service providers Quality Cleaning Equipment, Hamilton.

1914 was an important year in world history.

The first colour film was shown in London, the first traffic lights were installed in Cleveland and Franz Ferdinand Archduke of Austria and his wife were assassinated precipitating the start of WW1.

And it also marked the year that Kirby Vacuum cleaners was born.

At the early age of 21, James Kirby developed his first vacuum cleaner.

It was powered by hand - the husband operated the bellows and the wife guided the nozzle over the carpet. Dust was separated by drawing dust-laden air through water. In the same period Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity.

James Kirby was quite an inventor of his time and was responsible for many advancements and improvements in home cleaning methods.

James Kirby joined the Scott and Fetzer (Machine) Company at the start of World War 1 when their combined engineering and production skills were in great demand for the war effort.

After the war, James Kirby continued with his cleaning designs and subsequently introduced many advancements over the next few decades such as the an electric motor, a detachable long handle, toe-touch height adjustment, an electric light on the front (now an LED), introduced vibration for more efficient cleaning, designed shampoo and spray guns, and a two-speed motor that automatically adjusted to either hose cleaning or carpet cleaning.

The Kirby model 505 was the first Kirby unit to be produced after WWII began. The Kirby 500 series vacuums lasted through to 1965 with the Kirby Model 562 Sanitronic

In 1970 The Kirby Classic model launched the “second generation” of Kirby vacuums and was the first Kirby Classic in a line of three models.

James Kirby died in 1971 but his legacy remains intact with the Scott Fetzer Company which continues to produce only one model, in one colour, at any one time.

In the 1980’s sanding, scouring and polishing accessories, and the furniture cleaning Zippbrush, were added.

In 1990 a major breakthrough occurred when the Tech Drive was added – a power steering gear system that made the Kirby easier to push than ever before.

ince then Kirby systems have continued to evolve particularly in terms of improved efficiency, superior filtration, design and ease of use.

In 2014, Scott Fetzer will celebrate 100 years of business, a tremendous feat in today’s business world.

The Kirby Company – a division of Scott Fetzer - now operates in more than 76 countries around the world, selling approximately 600,000 Kirbys each year.

Kirby offices/ distributorships are run by those who have started at the bottom and worked their way up. It is not a franchise and cannot be sold or bought – but can be earned by working your way through the business and meeting set targets.

Today, all Kirbys continue to be built in accordance with James Kirby’s strict standards of quality and innovation and the goal of being the best machine available and are still only manufactured by the Scott Fetzer Company in America.

James Kirby’s belief was that a Kirby was not to be the best ‘under the circumstances’, nor the best ‘for the price’; but rather Kirby would simply just be ‘the best’.


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