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Retro Kitchens

Kitchens have always interested me, even as a child.  I can vividly recall my great-grandmother’s kitchen in her house in Brooklyn.  She had an old, wall-mounted sink, a wringer washing machine, a free-standing old cast iron stove and a cupboard for storage – all lined up against the far wall.  A small refrigerator was standing between 2 windows by the sink and, of course, the multi-task table in the center.  That was it! 

Everyone would gather in the kitchen for cooking, meeting for coffee, just chatting and visiting.  She would have really loved to make her homemade pizza in one of these kitchens:

1930’s  Kitchen

The sink seems to be undermounted in the countertop and the stove has a smooth top.  I wonder if this is authentic!  I don’t see any venting over the cooking surface.  The full tile backsplash and tray base storage are items we incorporate in every kitchen today.

 

1930’s  Kitchen

This kitchen doesn’t have any work space so I guess they provided the stack tables on the right side to give the space some function.  Note the open area under the sink where they stored the garbage can.  Little did they realize that it was set up for a wheelchair.  The built-in storage areas and tray space give it a cute touch, in addition to some much needed storage.

1935 Kitchen

This kitchen has more counter area for food preparation and a separate eating area with built-in storage.  Notice the old telephone on the “telephone table: with a shelf for the phone book.  I notice the clock in each kitchen has a prominent location.  Today every appliance has an LED panel with a clock/timer, so clocks are not needed.

1953 Kitchen

Finally!  The dishwasher was becoming a hot item in the 50’s.  American Kitchens made a “Roto-Tray” dishwasher where the upper rack  rotated through “steaming, swirling sprays of super-hot water getting them 3 times cleaner than washing by hand.”  Looks like the corner lazy susan was included in this kitchen. 

1954 Kitchen

Creativity and function was starting to flow in this kitchen.  The framed, wood cabinet doors were bringing in a whole new look and feel.  The cantilevered desk area with the wall phone (how cute?) was incorporated in the kitchen so the shopping list and recipe storage was efficient.

1955 St. Charles Kitchen

Prior to 1953, steel cabinets were available only in white.  St. Charles introduced pastel colors to their steel cabinet line.  Until a few years ago, St. Charles cabinets were still made in the original factory in St. Charles, Illinois.  Take note of the built-in refrigerator, wall ovens and double-bowl stainless steel sink.

2 Comments on this Post

  1. Great pictures. I wish I had a picture of the kitchen in the house on Coolidge, that would have been approximately 1952. It had L shaped cabinets and I do remember the kitchen was yellow.

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  2. The 1930’s kitchen stovetops have enameled steel covers over the burners. This type of stove was made by companies like O’keefe and Merrit. The actual cooking surface was much less “attractive”, and in the first of many “function follows form” arrangements, the covers added not only tasks related to maintaining form, but the tasks of maintaining the tasks: not only do you have to lift and deploy the cover, but you have to clean it as well.

    Not what we’d call “labor-saving” design.

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