Thread Number: 54226
Vintage Electrolux 1205 Vacuum W/Power Head - $95 (Chattanooga)
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Post# 766178   6/26/2014 at 13:29 (2,280 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        

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An interesting item local to me. I know nothing about older vacuums. Does anybody have any comments on the price, performance, and availabilty of bags for this model?

I was given one of those bagless, all plastic vacuums. Aside from being disenchanted with the dust and filth when I empty it, I find it taxing to push and I'm tired of hearing the plastic parts squeek and squeel.

You all know what I'm driving at... :)

CLICK HERE TO GO TO scoots's LINK on Chattanooga Craigslist

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Post# 766183 , Reply# 1   6/26/2014 at 14:19 (2,280 days old) by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        
i LOVE vintage vacuum cleaners......

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but i am no expert about any vacuum cleaners myself. although, i do have a:
hoover 728 upright convertible (from around 1971)
eureka 1266 canister with powerhead nozzle (from around 1973)
hoover 70 upright convertible (with a 728 paisley design bag)
hoover 65 upright convertible
and an original shop vac (metal drum with a groovy painted & color design)

if there were any advice i could give you on this vacuum cleaner:
i would say, go check it out. make sure the motor sounds good, the vacuum cleaner has good suction, the hose isn't cracked, split, broken, or coming apart on both ends. and check the electrical power cords that connect from the powerhead to make sure they are in good condition.

as for the availability of the bags, that i couldn't answer for you though. i'm pretty sure if you call your local sewing & vacuum shop and ask them if they carry the bags, that would answer your question there.

and as for the price, i would say, if everything seems to be working good on this vacuum cleaner, the price is a little bit high but compared to what you would pay for the plastic crap vacuum cleaners that are at the stores now, the price isn't too bad. especially if everything checks out with this vacuum cleaner and everything is working good.
it looks like it comes with a dusting brush, a crevice tool (not sure if that is original or not?), and a bare/hard floor brush attachment too, along with the powerhead.

if you want some comparison on what i paid for my eureka canister with powerhead, i bought the vacuum cleaner, i want to say for like $60-$65 (that's with the shipping) and i had to replace the vacuum cleaner hose which i think was $35, the little hose for the powerhead $10, i had to have the power cord replaced cuz the cord rewinder gave out on mine and that was i think like $45. and i also bought a set of attachments for it which costed me like $35 for the set. so altogether, in the end, i paid for my eureka canister vacuum cleaner, in good working condition with attachments, about $190. oh yeah, i forgot i had to replace the belt on the powerhead and i bought a spare as well. and i bought extra bags & a foam filter.
so after all that, in the end, i paid over $200 for a working eureka canister vacuum cleaner with powerhead, in very good working condition.

JEEZ!!! i never realized how much money i spent for this eureka canister vacuum cleaner. but i do have to say, it's sentimental value means more to me than that!
i'm happy with my lil' orange eureka canister vacuum cleaner with powerhead & attachments.
here is my eureka canister vacuum cleaner :o)

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Post# 766186 , Reply# 2   6/26/2014 at 14:38 (2,280 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Old Lux's are great vacuums and this one looks to be in good shape. Genuine Lux bags are still readily available from any dealer. If the machine is in good running order, and the power nozzle works then I think $95 is a great price. Because the rubber inside these cloth woven hoses deteriorates over time, there may be a lot of leakage in the hose and thus you will think the machine doesn't have much suction. However if you remove the hose and put your hand over the hose inlet, you should feel a lot of suction. A replacement vinyl hose is readily available which will make all the difference in the world in the suction power.


Post# 766192 , Reply# 3   6/26/2014 at 15:05 (2,280 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Here Goes....

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An Electrolux 1205 in good repair is a very, very fine vacuum. However, there are caveats:

1) These vacs are now over forty years old; unless they've had very light use, they usually need some work. The machine you're considering looks like it might possibly fall into the light use category. It has almost certainly had some care. You should test-vacuum with it before buying it, to be sure the Automatic Control is working right. If the machine keeps cutting off and the bag door keeps popping open as you vacuum, it's an Automatic Control problem. Usually a malfunctioning Automatic Control can be fixed, but I have also seen them defy every attempt at repair.

2) Motor bearings and brushes are two things that usually need work. The parts are readily available, and they're fairly easy to replace if you're handy. Any growling sounds coming from the motor are a sign that you need to attend to these; you'll hear them when you shut the vac off and the motor spins down to a stop.

3) These vacs have two weak spots in their design. 1) The plastic "sled" on the bottom of the machine, near the front, can crack with age. It is an absolute bastard to replace; you have to drill out chrome rivets and then rivet in a replacement. I would pass up a 1205 with this problem. 2) There is a "quick-connect" terminal block inside the machine, where the cordwinder is connected to the body; this was intended to allow quick servicing of the cordwinder. Unfortunately, the plastic of the block would fatigue from heat build-up and the block would give problems. The problem was so widespread that there was a field service procedure to replace the block with new components that eliminated the heat fatiguing problem.

4) That hose is original. It is beautiful. It is a lucky find. It almost certainly leaks. These hoses had a rubber carcass with a woven-vinyl exterior; the rubber ages and cracks. Figure $50 for an aftermarket all-vinyl hose on eBay, $100 or more for genuine Aerus. If you're lucky and the original hose does not leak now because of light use, it will after you've used it a while, due to the age of the rubber. If you are determined to use it, there is a repair procedure described over at Vacuumland, involving pouring liquid latex into the hose to seal the cracks. I personally would prefer to keep an original hose as a display and use a replacement hose for actual vacuuming.

5) It looks like the wands might be missing from that machine. I see that the turquoise sheath for the power nozzle wand is present, but that it is not on the power nozzle wand as it should be. That might point to a sheath problem. Turquoise sheaths are only available as used or - if you're really lucky - NOS parts. Replacement sheaths are the current Oyster Grey. This machine does not use the same wands for the power nozzle and the tools, as more modern, more cheaply built units do - it has the dedicated PN wand, and it has two wands for the tools.

6) That power nozzle is a PN-1, the first power nozzle design Electrolux used. PN-1 parts are still available, but they are specific to the PN-1; nothing is interchangeable with later Lux PNs. The PN-1 had one significant drawback that was corrected with the PN-2 design; the PN-1 will not stand up by itself like modern power nozzles do. If you're interested in correcting that problem, a PN-2 is correct with a 1205; Electrolux introduced the new PN partway through the 1205's production run.

7) If the dusting brush's bristles are worn out, or falling out when you try to use it, don't discard the whole brush. You can replace the bristles only; they're called a "dusting brush insert." Anyplace that carries Electrolux parts has them or can get one for you. They're common on eBay, too. That turquoise dusting brush is a desirable collectible in its own right.

8) The 1205 is a terrific machine when it's working right. It is a masterpiece of elegant, simple engineering; it's basically a can, a fan, a switch and a motor. It will run rings around a lot of newer, more expensive vacs.

9) Bags are readily available and not expensive. Some folks swear by genuine Aerus bags, I personally don't care and have never had a problem traceable to quality aftermarket bags.

Hope something in here helps!

Post# 766193 , Reply# 4   6/26/2014 at 15:14 (2,280 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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"Aerus" refers to the new company that was formed when Electrolux snatched its trademark back from the American vacuum company some years ago. Today's Electrolux vacuums have nothing to do with the former American Electrolux. And Aerus has nothing to do with Electrolux now.

So, if you're looking for parts or service, Aerus is the company's name today.

Post# 766194 , Reply# 5   6/26/2014 at 15:19 (2,280 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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I have one of these and am considering offering it for sale on CL for $100.  The original hose is long gone, but I would offer a newer hose with the vacuum.  I have all of the accessories with mine, including the PN-2 power nozzle.  Mine is strong and sounds good but has two negatives:  first, the cord retractor is fussy but will work, especially after the vacuum has been used for a short time and the cord warms up; second there is a problem with the Automatic Control.  If I pull or tug on the vacuum using the hose, the front will pop open.  I've not looked into a repair as this vacuum is not a daily driver, but I always hoped that whatever was the problem could be corrected.  The bags are still available - both in a service facility and online.  They are the same bags that are used in my 'Super J', both of my 'Diamond Jubilees', my 'Lux Classic' and my 'LE'.


These are great vacuums!



Post# 766252 , Reply# 6   6/26/2014 at 21:41 (2,280 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        
Thanks for the input on this purchase

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As I mentioned in the original post, this would be my first vintage vacuum purchase, so I appreciate all of your answers, especially Sandy's detailed input on the good/bad/ugly of the situation.


I'll make arrangements to look at this unit over the weekend and with Sandy's notes in hand make a decision and let you all know if I purchased it.

Post# 766258 , Reply# 7   6/26/2014 at 21:59 (2,280 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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That turquoise plastic tube is the "sheath" I mentioned. It is supposed to slip over the wand of the power nozzle, sort of like an outer casing for the wand.

When you try to put it back on the wand, proceed with care - it is SO no-longer-available, I cannot tell you. You can, as I mentioned, get an Oyster Grey replacement, but it's never as nice as having an original.

Hopefully it is not cracked or otherwise damaged, and you'll have a beautiful PN wand again.

P.S.: The PN wand is supposed to be one-piece. If it is two-piece, then the owner has been using the tool wands on the PN for some reason. Don't try to put the sheath on the tool wands, if that is the case. It won't work, and chances of screwing up the sheath are pretty high.

Best of luck, and let us know how this turns out!

Post# 766259 , Reply# 8   6/26/2014 at 22:12 (2,280 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        
I should have asked...

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What years was this specific model in production? Also, is this TOL, mid-range, or BOL?

Post# 766260 , Reply# 9   6/26/2014 at 22:17 (2,280 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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the 1205 looks like it was made until 1970 ....? right?

Post# 766261 , Reply# 10   6/26/2014 at 22:39 (2,280 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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Years made were 1969 through 1973. There were three major versions, which you can read about at the link below, a fabulous Electrolux resource authored by mega-collector Charlie Lester:

Post# 766263 , Reply# 11   6/26/2014 at 22:53 (2,279 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

ovrphil's profile picture
well, I was trying to read a chart, with each model and thought I would botch that - anyways, thanks Sandy, I wouldn't mind having another one, after looking at that link you provided.

Post# 766375 , Reply# 12   6/27/2014 at 16:50 (2,279 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Forgot to Answer:

danemodsandy's profile picture

This was Electrolux's TOL machine of the time. You could buy it with the power nozzle or without.

Price with the PN was about $325 in the early '70s, equal to about $1800 today. Electrolux would finance a vacuum and also accepted trade-ins, which lowered the price somewhat.

Post# 766448 , Reply# 13   6/28/2014 at 07:51 (2,278 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
Priced at $85 now

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CLICK HERE TO GO TO ovrphil's LINK on Chattanooga Craigslist

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Post# 766467 , Reply# 14   6/28/2014 at 11:18 (2,278 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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I'd like to find an Electrolux like that. Here in Canada, we didn't get these at the time. I do have a 1205 Jubilee model that was apparently sold during a strike/lock out at the Montreal factory (or something like that) but I have never seen the blue model around. 

Post# 766478 , Reply# 15   6/28/2014 at 11:44 (2,278 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I have almost the same model Electrolux in 2 tone gray with the Omniflow power head. I bought it at a yard sale many years ago for $40. Always has worked fine. Takes "C" bags and when the bag is full, it shuts off and pops open.

Post# 766482 , Reply# 16   6/28/2014 at 11:55 (2,278 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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Sounds like you have a Diamond Jubilee, which was an early '80s machine. I have one of those, too, and they will suck dry latex paint off the walls when they're in good repair.

They do have a tendency to go through motor bearings; Electrolux went to a higher-revving, more powerful motor, but it had sleeve bearings.

The way to keep a DJ in good repair is to use good quality bags and change them frequently. People who try to run bags as full as they can get them are the folks who have DJ motor problems, for the most part.

Post# 766493 , Reply# 17   6/28/2014 at 12:58 (2,278 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Yes, it definitely has a very powerful suction. Most of the time I forget to check the bag and only know it is full when it pops open. That reminds me, I only have 1 more bag left so I need to get more. I usually go right to Aerius to buy them as it is not far from me. About twice a year I get a call from them wanting me to bring it in for a free "tuneup" I politely decline every time.

Post# 766543 , Reply# 18   6/28/2014 at 17:16 (2,278 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
If You're Using.....

danemodsandy's profile picture
Genuine Aerus bags, and changing when the Automatic Control triggers the bag door, then you shouldn't have any problem with bearings.

It's only folks who monkey with the Automatic Control to get more dirt into the bag who can have problems. What some people do is to leave the Automatic Control set all the way over to the coarse dirt setting. That will prevent the Automatic Control from triggering the bag door until the bag is jammed pretty full. It's not good for the machine; the coarse dirt setting is for specific vacuuming jobs, not for everything.

Post# 766552 , Reply# 19   6/28/2014 at 18:17 (2,278 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I leave it set right in the middle. Picks up fine there and automatically tells me to change the bag. I have LOTS of pet hair in my house so the bags fill quickly.

Post# 766557 , Reply# 20   6/28/2014 at 18:46 (2,278 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
In That Case....

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....You are doing it perfectly. No reason to worry about wearing that machine out for a long, long, long time.

P.S.: If you have pets, and you don't have an Electrolux Sidekick, get one. The Sidekick is a mini power nozzle that fits onto the hose without a wand; it's for vacuuming furniture, stairs, etc. Unlike some of today's puny "turbo" brushes that are only powered by air flow, the Sidekick is a true power nozzle with a motorized brush. Mine makes short work of pet hair problems. My cat friend, Marty, has selected my burgundy velvet ottoman as his throne, so I have lots of hair to get off of it. A minute or two with my Sidekick and the hair is gone. All of it.

Sidekicks are readily available on eBay, often under $20.

Post# 766587 , Reply# 21   6/28/2014 at 21:12 (2,278 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I have 1 pair of stairs and that Electrolux with an extension wand and the other side on the dusting brush work fine. Most of my house is solid wood floors so I only need a Powermate, opps Sears, on a few rugs. I do have an ancient Kenmore with a Powermate downstairs, that still works fine and does that space fine. I am NOT lugging a vac up and down, too old for that now.

Post# 766672 , Reply# 22   6/29/2014 at 09:27 (2,277 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        
Thanks for the endoresment of this vacuum...

scoots's profile picture

I've got a few calls in to the seller, let's see where it goes.

Post# 766779 , Reply# 23   6/29/2014 at 18:41 (2,277 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Crossing My Fingers, Toes, Knees....

danemodsandy's profile picture
And everything else that comes in pairs!

Please let us know how it goes.

Post# 766811 , Reply# 24   6/29/2014 at 21:19 (2,277 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        

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I will be going to see him tomorrow about noon.

Post# 766825 , Reply# 25   6/29/2014 at 22:00 (2,277 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

wayupnorth's profile picture
I think you will be happy. They are big but do the job very nicely, then it decides time to change the bag right in the middle of motivated cleaning, Too bad so sad for me. Then it works even better with a new bag. My animals are shedding like crazy now and I have fur everywhere and the Lux will find everything in every crevace

Post# 767060 , Reply# 26   6/30/2014 at 18:46 (2,276 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        
Well, I finally got it home...

scoots's profile picture
It took me forever to find the house, but I finally hooked up with the seller. Basically an estate sale. Had I known that I would have brought more money and allotted more time, but I thought it was just the vacuum so it was a lunch hour dash.

I'll give a complete report tomorrow, but there's something very odd... all the detachable pieces (hose, power head, crevice and upholstery tools etc.) are in pristine condition. Not even dust in the joints. The canister however shows moderate wear for age. Chrome and paint still good, minimal denting, but strange discoloration at the back end of the unit (plastic is darkening, it may be thermal damage). Both the main fan and the beater motor work, but I haven't tested the auto-sensor for the bag.

In the mean time, two questions:

1. Does anybody have an instruction manual for these units that they can sell?
2. Do any of the attachments ride along on the canister, or do you schlepp them around as you work?


Post# 767062 , Reply# 27   6/30/2014 at 18:48 (2,276 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
congratulations, scoots

ovrphil's profile picture options that I know of - but someone else might know...just schlepping as usual for me

Post# 767064 , Reply# 28   6/30/2014 at 18:50 (2,276 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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I believe the only tool that can be stored on-board is the dusting brush.  It will slip over the tail end of the long handle (bristles facing the rear of the canister).


Watch Ebay for the owner's manual, I think I have seen them from time to time.



Post# 767067 , Reply# 29   6/30/2014 at 19:02 (2,276 days old) by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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on your vintage vacuum purchase scoots!!!

keep us posted on how everything works on it.


Post# 767069 , Reply# 30   6/30/2014 at 19:03 (2,276 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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The dusting brush fits onto the little clip you should find at the end of the white plastic carry handle - close to the blower door. However, not every version of the 1205 has the dusting brush clip. That is the only tool that attaches to any 1205.

I'm emailing you a copy of one of the 1205 manuals (there are at least four versions) I grabbed from the Internet some years back. It's not the greatest scan, but it will help you for right now. It's going to the email address in your profile.

Post# 767071 , Reply# 31   6/30/2014 at 19:09 (2,276 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Forgot to Say:

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The reason your tools are so pristine is probably that the machine belonged to someone who had previously owned an upright. Many such owners just used power-nozzle canisters like they were an upright - they didn't use them for above-the-floor cleaning, because they weren't used to having a vacuum that made above-the-floor cleaning easy, or even possible.

The discoloration on the plastic at the rear is likely a bit of dust leakage. It should clean off with 409 or a similar cleaner. It's nothing to worry about - the machine is forty years old and cannot be expected never to have let a dust particle slip through.

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