Developed in 1907 by Jim Kirby, the Kirby vacuum of today looks strikingly similar to Kirby vacuums of the 1920s. That retro look does not mean, however, that the performance of a Kirby vacuum is the same as it was in the 1920's. And though features and accessories have changed (some are bagged, some are bagless and almost all have HEPA filters) the quality of a Kirby vacuum hasn't changed. The method used to sell Kirby vacuums hasn't changed since the 1920s either. Kirby still relies solely on door-to-door salesmen to pitch the product, and now have independent contractors for salesmen in over sixty countries. In fact, the only way to purchase an authorized Kirby product is to find a distributor and arrange for an in-home demonstration. That does not mean Kirby vacuums are not available via other means. Many Kirby vacuums, accessories and parts can be found elsewhere but Kirby may not honor the warranty should problems arise.

The entry-level price for a Kirby vacuum is approximately $2000 dollars, but that price can be negotiable, depending on the salesperson. All Kirby vacuums come with warranties. They vary from model to model but every warranty will last at least three years and some include a lifetime warranty. Current accessories, depending on the model, include a dry foam attachment for shampooing carpets, called the Carpet Shampoo System, and a Micron Magic HEPA Filter, which filters particles as small as 0.2 microns.

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