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Ode to an Electrolux model L

Have you ever given your child (actually anyone born after 1995) a rotary phone? Sure, it’s fun to see them figure out how to make a call, but the It’s fun to see how surprised they are at the weight. A blow to the head with this could kill a person. Try it on your iPhone.

As you open the latest Amazon package and remove the plastic fittings inside, you’ll notice that once upon a time, the world discovered this product, designed to last for decades, if not generations. It’s easy to forget that there are so many sturdy and functional objects out there. They worked reliably with minimal fuss and were worth repairing if they stopped working.

A cozy cylindrical solid metal canister reminiscent of 1950s sci-fi robots and rockets. This shape disappeared with the L when it was discontinued in 1979, replaced by an ugly, boxy chassis. In my opinion, it was as much of a design disaster as BMW’s decision to shrink the kidney grille in his mid-’90s.

Although I have never owned the Electrolux canister vacuum mentioned above, I have had the privilege of using it for almost 10 summers. I took that photo long before I ever imagined I would be writing this eulogy. I wanted to remember, so I took a photo.

It’s from a summer cottage we rented in Maine every summer. It’s attractive, but it’s fragile and certainly not winter-ready. The whole house creaked as I climbed the wooden stairs. Beams of light peeked out between the rough wooden planks of the wall. we loved it.

It has been in the current owner’s family since his great-grandfather built it himself in the 1910s. Our landlord was frugal in typical Yankee fashion, and the house looked like no one had spent a penny on it since the Clinton administration. The bathroom was small and swampy, and the house was decorated with classic cabin decor. There was a typed 1989 telephone directory, shelves bulging with water-damaged Reader’s Digest condensed volumes, and a non-functioning 1990s television with a DVD player in the pressboard cart. The “Jurassic Park” disc is inserted halfway.

I don’t dislike rustic things, but the clutter of thrift stores sometimes bothers me. One day I went on a little cleaning crusade. I put the books in some boxes and hid them in the attic and replaced them with my own books. I managed to shove the TV downstairs into a small broom closet. I swept the floor.

The small common area had an Ikea area rug that was faded and discolored. As Jeff Lebowski used to say, it really brought the room together. He was feeling the urge to vacuum when he stumbled upon it. An old vacuum cleaner was stuffed between an old screen door and a polyester comforter in a downstairs bedroom closet.

I almost didn’t feel like taking it out. I had become a Dyson snob at home, believing the marketing that Dyson represented a paradigm shift in carpet cleaning. Despite the imprint of my hands, pushing the Dyson made me realize how flimsy and plasticky it felt, like a child’s toy. I didn’t know if he could tell the difference, but he seemed particularly good at sucking up animal hair. But I wanted to believe it.

I had little faith in the domestic artifacts in front of me. However, once I plugged it in and turned it on, I immediately noticed the excellent suction power. I felt the vibrations travel down the cloth hose and into the worn handle I held. The floor attachment seemed to attach to the rug like a magnet, and there was enough resistance when pushed in to convey a sense of reassuring effectiveness. Add to that the satisfying crackle of crumbs and sand, and who knows what debris was violently flung around to eternal rest inside the canister.

Vacuuming has quickly become one of my favorite rituals. My head felt refreshed. It was best first thing in the morning, right before an afternoon cocktail, or late at night after dinner before I smoked alone on the porch. Having people over gives me a reason to vacuum, and lonely afternoons are rare.

As you can see, this is an Electrolux Model L in white with avocado green accents. The L was an “economy” version of the G, but the build quality was premium by today’s standards. A cozy cylindrical solid metal canister reminiscent of 1950s sci-fi robots and rockets. This shape disappeared with the L when it was discontinued in 1979, replaced by an ugly, boxy chassis. In my opinion, it was as much of a design disaster as BMW’s decision to shrink the kidney grille in his mid-’90s.

There is an ingenious cord storage on the back with a metal loop to wrap the cord around. The G has automatic cord winding, but I prefer winding it myself anyway.

I’m not the only one fascinated by this appliance. Electrolux enthusiast community. I admit I felt superior when I first read his 3,000 word post about power nozzle pigtail connectors, but now I get it. These machines evoke a sense of attachment that today’s mass-produced products rarely provide.

Actually, I’m thinking of switching from the Miele C3 I currently own.I have my eye on the perfect thing Upgrade.

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