Eureka introduces cordless upright BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Eureka Co., one of the leading floor care manufacturers, has unveiled a full-size cordless upright vacuum cleaner operated by rechargeable batteries — a unique device, according to the company.
The Freedom vacuum cleaner is “a quantum leap in convenience and an entirely new product category for the floor care industry,” declared Gil Dorsey, Eureka’s new president.
“It’s the only new product that lets consumers thoroughly vacuum all their carpeting without a cord.”
The unit, which the company has been touting as “the next generation” in floor care, will be introduced at the Housewares Show in Chicago, which begins Jan. 15. Eureka said it has scheduled an array of product additions for the show.
Cordless vacs are a significant segment of the business, but until now have been confined to the smaller handheld units.
Plans are to begin shipments of the Freedom vac in April. Targeted channels of distribution are department stores, vacuum specialty outlets and upscale retailers. The retail price will be about $300, according to Eureka.
To Freedom vac utilizes a 12-volt battery, described as similar to those employed by telecommunications firms as emergency backup power sources for telephone equipment. The big battery reportedly can operate for 30 minutes on a single charge.
The company compared its power unit to nickel-cadmium batteries commonly used in other cordless vacuums. Most competitive products run out of power in 10 to 15 minutes, it was said.
“A half-hour is sufficient to do the vacuuming of most homes,” said Dorsey. “Unless you have a huge home or have a special job, this will take care of it.
“We consider this a serious vacuum, not a toy,” he added. “It can pick up surface litter and ground-in dirt.”
Dorsey noted thta Freedom was unlike any available machine. “Our dealers will have absolutely no competition on this highly desirable and innovative products,” he said.
“The exciting part of this is it’s a new concept,” he continued. “For dealers, it means extra business. It’s something that can be profitable. It’s something they can make money on.
“The industry is severely lacking in innovation. We know this is going to hit the consumer.”
The machine was an outgrowth of extensive market research. According to the company, questioning of consumers produced the information that the most desired cordless appliance is a full-size vacuum cleaner.
“We’re targeting Freedom to people who have limited time for housecleaning and are willing to pay a premium for convenience,” explained the executive.
“More and more consumers fit this category. They want fast, easy cleaning. The days of the full-time housewife who devoted an hour a day to vacuuming are over.”
To monitor its extended power, the Freedom vac was designed with five light-emitting diodes to indicate the remaining battery charge and show when the unit is recharging. As the energy runs down, lights go off in sequence to provide ample warning of the time remaining.
Dorsey noted that the vacuum cleaner has an automtic shutoff to protect the power source. The battery does not drain after a half-hour, but reaches a level at which recharging is advisable.
Eureka explained that complete depletion of the battery requires a 16-hour charge. However, 60 percent of the power can be restored within six hours.
The battery is easily acessible through a simple snap-out port at the lower rear of the machine.
Other claimed features for the Freedom vac include a revolving brush roll with stiff nylon bristles; a large-capacity dust bag; automatic adjustment for carpet height, and dual headlights that can be turned on and off during vacuuming to conserve battery power.
Dorsey said that since it is too early for production models, some of the vac’s specifications have not been finally determined. “It’s fairly lightweight,” he reported. “It’s easy to maneuver, easy to handle; it rolls on big wheels; it can be transported up and down stairs.”
The unit resembles conventional uprights produced by Eureka, both in appearance and performance. However, the company said the Freedom vac operates much more quietly than units powered through cords.
Only one model (the 6350) and color (bright red) will be offered initially. “As marketing needs grow,” said Dorsey, “we’ll have more models.” Production is scheduled for late in the first quarter — probably March, possibly late February, he added.
Eureka, which disclosed plans last month for its biggest advertising campaign (HFD, Dec. 26, page 100), said it will break a major support program for its cordless upright in April. The nationwide promotion will utilize women’s and shelter magazines, noted Richard G. Smith, advertising manager