just wanted to share my experience with buying a vintage Tilia vacuum sealer. You can get the older FoodSavers by Tilia, which were made in Italy, on eBay for $50-75.
These vacuum sealers have the nozzle-style system and are considered by many to be superior in that they use a piston mechanism, they are more durable, and they handle liquids better.
BUT, I bought mine and it did not work. It vacuumed but not that great.
The nice thing is that PMG has an excellent site to walk you through troubleshooting the older machines. And if you can't fix it yourself, you can send it in and have them fix it.
Here is the site.
I just purchased a new part from their site, and I trust my machine will be sucking soon enough.
Another problem is that these older machines often don't have the user's manual with them, but on the Smoking Meat Forum, someone has graciously posted the entire manual for the original machines. Btw, I am thinking of joining that forum -- what's not to like about smoking meats?
Here is the manual.
There is also a good history via eBay that explains PMG's role in FoodSaver and the commercial development of their products from the days of Tilia to now. Here is the history of FoodSaver and PMG. It also explains a bit of the nozzle versus channel system.
As for getting bags, the gents at Smoking Meat Forum have rave reviews of someone named Lisa (who is a SMF member) and represents Vacuum Sealers Unlimited. Apparently, they have some of the best vacuum bags on the market at good prices.
Vacuum Sealers Unlimited Bags.
That's it for now. I'll report more on how things go after my repair parts arrive. I need to fire up that Sansaire one of these days now that I am (mostly) unpacked from my move.