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An Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction - latimes

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An Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction - latimes

  1. 1. 9/17/15, 3:43 PMAn Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction - latimes Page 1 of 3 Email Share 0 TweetTweet 0 An Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction Collector: Hoover, Eureka, Electrolux . . . if it's old, Stan Kann the vacuum man loves the sight, sound and smell of it. That's why he owns some 125 vintage vacs. June 08, 1997 | PAULA STORY | ASSOCIATED PRESS Stan Kann collects vacuum cleaners. Ever since he was knee-high to a Hoover, he's had a penchant for the things. "My folks didn't have a vacuum," says the elfin Kann, his bushy silver eyebrows doing little dances. "That's why I loved them so much." "I was a skinny little thing and hated food," Kann says. When he was 5, a friend visiting his mother brought her a vacuum--the first "Ohio" in their modest St. Louis neighborhood. Kann appears to be in his 60s, but when asked, he quotes "Mame," saying he's "somewhere between 40 and death." "The reason I like to have the vacuum cleaners around the house is because I like to have something older than I am," he says. Affordable Solar Power Custom Solar Panel System Designed to Fit Your Needs. Act Now & Save! In truth, Kann simply loves vacuums. His mother and her friend, a nurse he remembers only as Mrs. Nagle, would switch on the vacuum only after Kann ate. He loved the sound of the whining engine, the way it smelled, the way it looked. "Everybody in those days had Hoovers, Eurekas, Electroluxes and Royals, because those were the ones that were sold in the big department stores," he says. Mrs. Nagle would later give the Ohio vacuum to him as a gift, one of about 125 vintage vacs in his collection. The 1914 model is one of about a dozen vacuums he has showcased in his 1926 Hancock Park home. Like a curator tending fine art, he rotates the pieces in the collection, using the maid's quarters as a holding area. The first vacuum cleaner was sold in 1909. Kann's collection starts with a 1909 Eureka. The collection rolls through time and ends with a 1940 Hoover. Kann can distinguish the whine of his 1937 Electrolux canister vac from that of his 1933 Hoover Silver Advertisement FROM THE ARCHIVES A veritable vacuum cleaner July 7, 2008 Advertisement YOU ARE HERE: LAT Home → Collections 0RecommendRecommend
  2. 2. 9/17/15, 3:43 PMAn Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction - latimes Page 2 of 3 Jubilee series. He knows the aroma of a Eureka bag from that of a Royal. He can tell by the sound when a bag is getting too full. He can tell how a vacuum has been cared for. He uses every machine in his collection to vacuum his own home (every two weeks) and says an old vacuum, if taken care of, will last nearly forever. He oils them, rotates the belts and keeps them clean. Does he talk to them? "Only when I'm cussing at them," he says. Kann's vacuums are beautifully shaped, sturdy rounded chrome with the original cloth bags, some in satin. Each retains its impressive dirt suction, and nearly all are original right down to the plugs. Kann had a brief stint as an Air-Way vacuum salesman in high school, but ended up fixing more vacuums than he sold. RESTORATION SOLUTIONS Water Damage Restoration Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Title Nine 20% Off Sale 20% Off Dresses, Skirts & Tunics! Shop Apparel for the Active Woman. A professional organist, he moved from St. Louis--where he played at the St. Louis Theatre from 1952 to 1976--to California, where he ended up performing for "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson." "The vacuum cleaners, of course, didn't make a living for me. They were just my love," he says. When asked why, he looks genuinely perplexed. "I wish I knew," he says. "I think the thing is, I was very drawn to the vacuum cleaners that friends and neighbors used to have. We relate to something we couldn't have when we were young." Kann began fixing neighbors' machines when he was 12. He recalls daydreaming in school about solving their mechanical problems. "My friends' parents in the neighborhood said, 'Here comes that Kann boy. Get your vacuum cleaner locked away,' " he laughs. "Every playmate I had, every friend on the block, I knew exactly what vacuum they had and what day they used it." He even thought up excuses to stay home from school and visit those lucky neighbors with the best machines--or those he thought he could fix. When he began dating, "I was more interested in the Ohio than I was in Betty," he says. Kann has started a vacuum cleaner collectors' club. There are about 60 others around the country who share his passion for suction. Kann wrote and appeared in a 1978 Hoover commercial and once on "The Gypsy Rose Lee Show" with his vacuums. His musical talent, he says, may be linked to his distinctive yearning for the pitches and sounds of different cleaners, although he says he has relative, not perfect, pitch. He has no idea how much the collection is worth. The only sign of a post-1940 vacuum in Kann's house is a wall-mounted Dust Buster, which is used mostly in the kitchen. "That 1936 Singer will clean just as meticulously as anything you can buy today," he says. "And back then, it only cost $39.95."
  3. 3. 9/17/15, 3:43 PMAn Uncommon Hobbyist Feels the Seduction of Suction - latimes Page 3 of 3 Email Share 0 TweetTweet 0 MORE: Seizure Led to FloJo's Death His 104 scores make his case Restaurant review: South Beverly Grill Brutal Murder by Teen-Age Girls Adds to Britons' Shock Comaneci Confirms Suicide Attempt, Magazine Says Copyright 2015 Los Angeles Times Terms of Service|Privacy Policy|Index by Date|Index by Keyword 0RecommendRecommend From the Web by TaboolaSponsored Links NextAdvisor Provide-Savings Insurance Quotes The Huffington Post | Tasting Room Home Solar Rebates How This Razor is Disrupting a $13 Billion Industry Dollar Shave Club I Tried FanDuel: Here's What Happened FanDuel on Topdust How To Pay Down Credit Card Debt At A Furious Pace Jim Cramer's Genius Tip on Paying Off Mortgage Brilliant Mortgage Payoff Method Has Banks On Edge Drivers Surprised They Never Knew This Rule Why You Should Be Ordering Your Wine Online California Power Companies Fear This