Author Topic: Retro Appliances  (Read 1115 times)

thesvenster

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Retro Appliances
« on: June 26, 2017, 12:07:53 PM »
So I really want a retro looking stove. I really dislike how all modern stoves have the digital LCD with the 20 buttons as the standard. Anyone aware of replacement control boards for modern stoves that have analog clocks?


Or any other ideas for "retro my stove"?

PS I'd love to buy an actual retro stove from Big Chill or one of the other companies, but that's out of the question.

Cadman

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:51:49 PM »
What you really want is an actual vintage stove. The Big Chill stuff has the same cheap parts, assembly issues and life expectancy of other new units. The performance also suffers compared to the originals and the purchase price is out of sight.

For stoves/ranges, there's no real energy savings to be had with new units, but the thicker metal and increased insulation of older designs means more even baking and less heat-loss.

Parts are a non-issue if you pick something mainstream, like a GE P7 design. Then you get self-cleaning along with the benefit of plug-in replacement burners and a oven elements that can be bought almost anywhere. If you're talking a gas cooktop, then this becomes trickier.

thesvenster

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 02:52:13 PM »
What you really want is an actual vintage stove. The Big Chill stuff has the same cheap parts, assembly issues and life expectancy of other new units. The performance also suffers compared to the originals and the purchase price is out of sight.

For stoves/ranges, there's no real energy savings to be had with new units, but the thicker metal and increased insulation of older designs means more even baking and less heat-loss.

Parts are a non-issue if you pick something mainstream, like a GE P7 design. Then you get self-cleaning along with the benefit of plug-in replacement burners and a oven elements that can be bought almost anywhere. If you're talking a gas cooktop, then this becomes trickier.

Thanks for your knowledge! I'm looking at a 50s era gas cooktop by Dixie at the moment. Probably not ideal but there's not much up here in Alaska.

Are these appliances safe?


Cadman

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 07:53:04 PM »
You're not kidding, pickin's are slim on the Anchorage CL.

The problem with gas is that condensation from the combustion process can cause rust out, so check that Dixie out thoroughly. Standing pilots will accelerate the problem (and waste gas). And baking in a gas oven (new or old) tends to be uneven, hence the trend for new ranges to have gas burners and electric oven elements.

If it's cheap enough and you decide to try it for awhile, do the obvious checks for leaks and rust around the burners and plumbing. Course it might just be best to hold out for a solid electric range.

thesvenster

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 11:32:24 AM »
Can you get kits to rebuild these older stoves? I would definitely consider that.

Sibley

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 12:57:07 PM »
You're not kidding, pickin's are slim on the Anchorage CL.

The problem with gas is that condensation from the combustion process can cause rust out, so check that Dixie out thoroughly. Standing pilots will accelerate the problem (and waste gas). And baking in a gas oven (new or old) tends to be uneven, hence the trend for new ranges to have gas burners and electric oven elements.

If it's cheap enough and you decide to try it for awhile, do the obvious checks for leaks and rust around the burners and plumbing. Course it might just be best to hold out for a solid electric range.

No kidding on the gas ovens. I hate them.

Spork

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2017, 09:23:32 AM »

Well hello there crazy stove person!

The way to go is to get an old stove.  There are several REALLY GOOD brands of stoves from the 40s/50s that are hands down better than modern stoves.  Even better: These are stoves that were cadillac brands that sold for over $3k in todays dollars.  They can be found for a few hundred bucks on craigs list.

When we built our house, DW had already pre-decided on make/model.  Our kitchen was designed around a 50s era Chambers 90C.  I'm not sure about the other popular brands, but Chambers definitely has several online forums and several facebook groups dedicated to restoration and repair.  These forums are invaluable.  Everyone on them has been there before and has rebuilt/restored stoves.

If you take time and wait/watch craigslist, you can generally find a 50s era Chambers for $100-300.  Stoves you find will generally be working ... and minimally will need cleanup, possibly restoration.  I've bought 3 Chambers for an average price of $100.  Our daily use stove, fully restored, probably ran us about $800 with me doing all the labor.  This includes fully rechroming everything and includes me selling off surplus parts to try to recoup some costs.  Our "full restoration" did not include re-porcelain... It looks very nice, but it does not look like it just came off the showroom.  Our goal was to cook on it, not make a museum piece.

Here are photos from restoration.  I started with 2 stoves (1950 and 1951) and combined them to make one working stove.   
https://goo.gl/photos/UkyUvTD9b7Sh4uov8

I still have one cooktop from late 1950s/early 1960s that I have not restored but plan to "some day."  I plan on building a rolling cart for it and using it for outdoor cooking.

Are these appliances safe?

Absolutely.  Most people do add a safety valve/standing pilot for the oven.  Safety in appliances is based on keeping them well maintained.  My mom had a modern stove with electronic ignition.  She had alzheimers.  She turned on the stove top and walked away and the electronic ignition failed.  I just happened to visit her and the kitchen was full of gas.  Moral of the story:  New isn't necessarily safer.

The problem with gas is that condensation from the combustion process can cause rust out, so check that Dixie out thoroughly. Standing pilots will accelerate the problem (and waste gas). And baking in a gas oven (new or old) tends to be uneven, hence the trend for new ranges to have gas burners and electric oven elements.

The main problems I've seen with rust is not from combustion but from improper storage.  You will sometimes get light rust on oven burners, but these things are heavy cast iron things.  Brush it off and it's fine.

Standing pilots really don't use much gas.  Certainly they use less than none... but it's very small. 

And let me assure you: not all gas ovens cook unevenly.  We had never had a gas oven before this one.  Now I could never convince my wife to go back.  Our "second oven" is a modern electric wall oven.  My wife is constantly scheming on how to rip that out and replace it with a 1950s gas oven.  Other than overflow cooking for Christmas/Thanksgiving, the modern oven is used as a storage device for cookware.

A Chambers oven is SUPER insulated.  It also contains quite a lot of heavy cast iron parts.  This leads to very even heat.  It is also designed to cook "with the gas turned off."  You generally cook a while with high heat, then turn the stove completely off and let it coast for several hours.  When the oven turns off, the air intake and exhaust clamp down hard and hold the heat inside.
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Cadman

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 10:54:27 AM »
Spork,

Thanks for weighing-in. I'm hardcore vintage as well, but my expertise (and collecting) is all-electric. I've never had much luck with gas baking on anything newer than the 60's (other than what you're talking about where the oven is designed to be heated, then gas turned off). The Maytag 'Dutch Oven' comes to mind and is highly recommended by friends.

Sounds like you're contemplating your own version of GE's Partio Cart....

Spork

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 01:11:25 PM »
Spork,

Thanks for weighing-in. I'm hardcore vintage as well, but my expertise (and collecting) is all-electric. I've never had much luck with gas baking on anything newer than the 60's (other than what you're talking about where the oven is designed to be heated, then gas turned off). The Maytag 'Dutch Oven' comes to mind and is highly recommended by friends.

Sounds like you're contemplating your own version of GE's Partio Cart....

Ours works well either straight baking or doing the CWTGTO.  The gas off method works well for long cooks (Thanksgiving turkey) and the gas on method works well for traditional baking (cakes/pies/etc).  Most Chambers also have a gas well on the stove top.  This can also be used for baking small things (pies, for example) and is excellent for rewarming leftovers or stews.  I'm told by Chambers folks (who are biased, obviously) that the Chambers ovens work well going back from the 20s up until the model D (mid 70s I think).

I've heard that Okeefe and Merrit and Roper gas stoves from the 40s through 60s are also very good buys.

The only GE/electric ovens I've had experience with were in my parents' house.... It was whatever model wall oven that was uber popular in the 60s.  It was always dead-on-balls accurate and was still working fine when we sold the house last year.  The only issue mom ever had with it was with the clock -- which had to be replaced every 10 years or so.

Haha!  I googled "GE Partio Cart".  That's awesome.  (I fear my wife is going to want one.)  I am planning on going a little more simple.  It will be a cooktop/griddle/broiler only.  It is this model cook top:


Note: That's not mine.  Mine is in seriously sad shape.  This was just the first googled image I could find.
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thesvenster

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 05:58:37 PM »
Thanks for the insights spork, I'll let you all know how this works out. And I'll post some pics, this stove looks sweet.

Spork

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 06:16:29 PM »
As an aside, I remember there is one person on Chambers Rangers discussion board that bought a Chambers 90C on ebay and had it shipped up there.  If you were wanting to go that route, it might be worth your while to join Chambers Rangers and discuss it with her.  I imagine shipping is a bear... they're about 450lbs.

Chambers Rangers is http://chambersrangers.proboards.com/
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craiglepaige

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Re: Retro Appliances
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2017, 09:54:08 AM »
GE had a retro inspired like called the Artistry. You might still be able to get them online. I wanted these for a midcenury modern house we had put an offer on but didn't get. Man that home had great potential.

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