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Vintage Kitchen Appliances -It's a Whole New World

I love history and the events that built countries. Some events have details unknown to the average person, and they are interesting.

The Kitchen Post –Civil War Era

Vintage kitchen appliances show us how much easier it is to cook today. The kitchen by definition is a room used to prepare food and it is equipped with a stove, a sink for cleaning food and washing dishes, plus cabinets for storage and a refrigerator to keep food cold.

While kitchens have been around for centuries, it was not until the post-Civil War era that the majority of small kitchen appliances were invented. One of the main reasons was people no longer had servants and housewives who worked alone in the kitchen needed culinary help. The invention of electricity greatly advanced the technology of laborsaving kitchen devices as well.

GE Oven Courtesy Appliencist


Keeping Food Cold - a Constant Battle in Summer

Keeping food cold before electricity required a refrigerator that story nice which in the cities was delivered by nice truck in the country quite often the ice or snow was brought down from the mountains.

The stove on display from appliencist is but one above variety of beautiful vintage stoves for sale.

Icebox Old Norwegian




According to Wikipedia kitchen forks can be traced back to the time of the Greeks. Knives have been used as weapons, tools and eating utensils since prehistoric times. Only in fairly recent times knives have been designed for specific table use. Spoons have been used as eating utensils since Paleolithic times.

First Patented Appliances

In 1850, Joel Houghton patented a wooden machine with a hand–turned wheel that splashed water on dishes and while it wasn't the greatest machine, it was the first patent for dishwasher.

Architect, inventor, John W. Hammes built his wife the world's first kitchen garbage disposal in 1927. He went into business and his company was called In–Sink-Erator Manufacturing Company.

The first historical record of a stove built in Alsace, France was in 1490.

The waffle iron was patented on August 24, 1869, invented by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. The patent (United States #94,xxx) described the invention as a "device to bake waffles

Oulder Style Can Opener


Canned Food and How to Open It

Initially canned food was invented for the British Navy in 1813, in made of solid iron which meant cans weight more than the food they held. The inventor, Peter Durand, was guilty of an incredible oversight. He figured out how to seal food into cans, but gave little thought as to how to get it out again.

The instructions read:" Cut round the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer." Only when thinner steel cans came into use in the late 1860s could the can opener be invented. The first patented was in 1858, devised by Ezra Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut, and forcibly worked around the edge of the can. Stranger still the first type of can opener never left the store. A clerk had to open each can before the can was taken away.

Finally, William Lyman in 1870, invented a modern can opener with the cutting wheel that rolled around the rim.

Slinky Peeler


Potato and Apple Peelers

Wikipedia shows four different types of peeler's for potatoes or apples. Each one of these looks like it has some potential for cutting yourself, and I think you have to grasp the potato or apple tightly. I can see why a lot of country people just simply used a good sharp knife for peeling.

In Conclusion

It is fun to look back and see all the old appliances and compare them to all the neat appliances we now have but are disposal.  We have machines that open jars, we have Cuisinarts, juicers, easy to use can openers and knife sharpeners, convection ovens, machines to make panini sandwiches, cappuccino machines, electric knives in the list goes on and on. The biggest problem I have today is where to store all these things!

©Copyright 2012 by Pamela Oglesby. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 27, 2012:

molemeter, They are unique and I like them also. Thanks for your comments.

Micheal from United Kingdom on April 27, 2012:

I love these old appliances. Some people still have something similar in the UK. Called a Arga.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 01, 2012:

suziecat, I love the vintage look, but I also like my modern appliances. Thank you so much for your comments.

suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on February 01, 2012:

Great Hub! There are a few folks around here who have chosen to use wood cooking stoves even in this modern day. Love the look of those iceboxes but am very happy with my modern refridgerator. Rated up and I'm a fan.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 10, 2011:

jojoluvsjon, Thank you for the comment.

jojoluvsjon from Pennsylvania on June 10, 2011:


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 03, 2011:

imatellmuva, I think that it is great that you peruse the thrift stores. I would love to visit the museum. Thanks so much for your comments.

imatellmuva from Somewhere in Baltimore on March 03, 2011:

I love this hub. I love history, the origin of things...this is great. I actually peruse the thrift stores, looking for small kitchen items for display, and some I actually use. A friends mother had a stove like the one pictured in your hub, only it was white, and I loved it. Everyone thought I was crazy, but modern stoves did not really compare.I live in Baltimore, Maryland and we have the "Baltimore Museum of Industry". This is a great place to visit for anyone interested in seeing what life was like before "our" modern times.

This is an awesome hub Pamela99!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 02, 2011:

KKGals, I think the stove is beautiful also. I knew when I read about the cans that I had included in the hub because it really is funny that didn't consider what it would take to open. Thanks so much for your comment.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 02, 2011:

Pamela, I absolutely love the vintage stove. I laughed as i read about the cans and the problem with opening them. How funny that someone figured out how to seal food in cans but not how to oen them.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 27, 2011:

Support Med, That stove is a beauty. I sometimes want the lifestyle back. Thanks for your comments.

Support Med. from Michigan on February 27, 2011:

Love that stove! Just gives you that feeling that whatever you cook on it or put in its oven will come out tasting Gooooooooood!!!!!!!!!! Visiting a musuem a few years ago when my daughter was in elementary school, they had kitchen models set up from the 1950's and such, some in pink, it was awesome! I don't know what it is, but there are times when you just want it back, maybe not permanently because the new is definitely gorgeous.v/r

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 26, 2011:

Huguette, It's also important to keep those fingers away from the rollers. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Huguette on February 26, 2011:

I remember the wringer washer diapers wrapped around the wringer,If it does, an article of the wash may

wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a

piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller .

Its you're already happened?

I ruined a couple of shirts!!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 25, 2011:

Dusty, I think that is a good recommendation. Your stove sounds like one we had when I was growing up with the griddle in the middle. My mom would make pancakes on the griddle on the weekends. Thanks so much for your comments.

50 Caliber from Arizona on February 25, 2011:

Pamela, after landing a good job I helped my dad with an upgraded? house. His wife was wanting a new stove and washing machine and dishwasher, all the frills, she's a bit greedy that way. I was able and did see to it my dad got a leg up after all he'd been through. I kept a 1952 O'Keif and Merrit 36 inch 4 burner with griddle in the top center gas range and a 1955 washer, power wringer cloths washer in ugly pink, but it works. I put both to use here when I built and found a place in California for parts I got a sight unseen offer on both pieces. $4,500. on the stove and $1,500, on the washer. I declined but if it weren't for the family connection I'd have gone for it and paid the 6500 for a bright red and chrome stove identical to mine in white, any way best stove I ever had, the griddle I had re-plated in chrome and replaced the safety valves and rebuilt the clock/timer. In Arizona most days I can wash wring rinse wring and hand clothes and in 15 to twenty minutes they are dry in the hot months, this time of year 45 minutes. I like them. Great article on the past, these things are not out dated, in my opinion they are better than just about any modern built stoves, I paid 6k for a commercial "Wolf" stove like a restaurant would use with a griddle it was a 60 inch and great but I like this stove better they sell for 6500 plus from places on line. I recommend, especially to younger folks by your appliances good 1 time and move them with, if they move.

Peace 50

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 24, 2011:

Mickey Dee, Things were made better years ago in my opinion. Thanks for your comment.

Micky Dee on February 23, 2011:

I love the old stuff. I've seen a "Psyche" TV show and a "Burn Notice" show with the same old fridge that I've had. It runs so quiet! Thank you again Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 22, 2011:

Peg, I agree they don't make appliances like that anymore. Small appliances used to last for 25 years or more. Thanks for your comments.

Peggy, I remember that when I was a young child also. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub I appreciate your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 22, 2011:

My mother had one of those old wringer washing machines and an extra tub for rinse water and naturally the clothes were hung out to dry. That was all when I was a young child. My great aunt had the hand pump outside and a smaller one in by her kitchen sink. She also had an outhouse. That was all at her lake cottage.

Fun hub to read, Pamela. Like you, we no longer fool with electric can openers but use the ones that easily work by hand. Loved the photos of the old appliances!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on February 22, 2011:

Love those vintage appliances, so heavy and durable. Not at all like the plastic ones today. I still have an old 40s mixer that works. They don't make them like that anymore.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 22, 2011:

Audrey, It is fun to think about those old memories once in a while. I appreciate your comments.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on February 21, 2011:

I had many experiences with my grandma's wringer and got my neck wrung....brings back a lot of memories. Great job!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 21, 2011:

JY, I used an old wringer washer back when I was a teenager for brief time. I guess any of us that have been around for a while and have some memories associated with these vintage appliances. Thanks for your comments.

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on February 21, 2011:

Pam, This brought back memories of time down on the farm at grandma's in the Ozarks. She had one of those old ice boxes...and a hand cranked wringer on a manual clothes washing tub. Many other things as well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 21, 2011:

BobbiRant, I saw several websites that had been each appliances on sale and they were beautiful, in excellent condition and really expensive because they're so hard find. It is my should have the collection and I'm glad you like the hub. Thanks for your comments.

Hello, I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 21, 2011:

That was great fun, reading about the good old things.

BobbiRant from New York on February 21, 2011:

I love collecting vintage kitchen appliances and gadgets. They are still quite beautiful and very pretty designs. Great hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2011:

rpalulis, I like our modern-day appliances to the certainly a brief appreciate the quality workmanship that went in to the material of appliances made a few decades ago. Thanks so much for your comments.

rpalulis from NY on February 20, 2011:

I am very thankful for our modern day appliances even if they make them now a days to only last a few years-lol

My parents have the original cooking stove in the old farm house they bought. It's a beautiful wood stove and I hope that it will always stay in the family. Great for warming up the room on cold winter days and meal here and there.

Great hub Pamela, thanks for sharing this.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2011:

Pamela, That's funny as I refuse to biu one also. Thanks for your comments.

Will, My husband had some of those same experiences and has told me about them in detail, including helping his Gramma make lye soap. Thanks for your comments Will.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 20, 2011:

When I was young, I often visited my uncle's farm where the new electric lines had yet to be strung. As result, my aunt had no electric appliances at all.

One of the chores my cousin (and I) had to perform early in the morning was to build a fire in the cook stove so my aunt could make breakfast.

The water supply was an indoor hand pump. If you wanted to take a bath, you filled a couple of large buckets with water out of the pump and heated it on the cook stove. Then you poured it into the tin tub on the back porch. Since it was so much trouble, everyone used the same water, with the youngest being last.

Most people in those days bathed once a week on Saturdays so they could go to town on Saturday night and to church the next day.

We have it made today!

Wonderful Hub Pamela!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on February 20, 2011:

Pamela great hub! I would love to have one of those stoves like the one that you have pictured. I still to this day refuse to buy an electric can opener. I had one when I was first married and it lasted such a short time. One of those antique ice boxes would be great as well. I have looked at some in antique stores.

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