I was perusing the EstateSales.NET Marketplace a few days ago, and I came across a gorgeous antique Magic Chef stove and instantly fell in love. It looked like something you would see in “A Christmas Story” or an episode of “Leave it to Beaver.” Seeing that beautiful piece of culinary history sent me down an antique stove rabbit hole, and I had to learn as much as possible. We’re going to look at a few of the manufacturers that brought these works of art to kitchens across the country.
Starting as a tin shop in St. Louis in 1850, Magic Chef eventually came about from a collaboration between ten different stove companies across the country. Magic Chef has changed hands several times over the years and was ultimately bought by Whirlpool in 2006. After seeing a growing interest in nostalgic brands, the MCA corporation repurchased the Magic Chef name from Whirlpool in 2010. Magic Chef continues to churn out quality appliances to this day, but it’s their vintage stoves that enthusiasts are after. Ornate cabinet and drawer pulls, and cabriole-style legs are the signature design aspects of these art deco porcelain stoves.
Source: MCA Corporation
James Graham opened the Wedgewood factory in Newark, California, in 1919, making it the first stove manufacturer on the west coast. Before Wedgewood came along, stoves were shipped from the east coast and then assembled, making it really expensive to own a stove if you were in the pacific region. Wedgewood wanted to set itself apart from other manufacturers. It offered a wide array of vibrant colors, dual ovens, and built-in warming drawers. Over the next 20 years, Wedgewood would churn out nearly 75,000 stoves, securing their place as one of the top stove manufacturers in the early 20th century. Wedgewood stoves are highly sought after not only for their build quality but their charming aesthetic as well.
Source: Kitchen Reviews
O’Keefe & Merritt
The history of O’Keefe & Merritt stoves is a short one, but their impact on the appliance world has stood the test of time. O&M was started by two former Pacific Stove Company employees who eventually moved their operation to California. By the 1950s, they found themselves on par with the above mentioned Wedgewood, vying for West Coast supremacy in the stove market. O&M would be purchased by the Ohio-based company Tappan in 1951, and the O’Keefe & Merritt stoves would be subsequently produced by Electrolux and Fridgidaire until the 1990s. Offering innovative features like the non-tip oven racks, the Grillevator broiler, and non-clog burners, O&M stoves remain at the top of the list for vintage kitchen enthusiasts.
Source: Desiree’s O’Keefe & Merritt Stove
The Chambers story started in 1912 when John Chambers began manufacturing fireless gas cookers in Shelbyville, Indiana. Chambers developed a stove that would continue cooking even when the heat source was turned off when he saw a need for energy efficiency. This also set him apart in the industry. Instead of being shipped with an instruction manual, new Chambers stoves were accompanied by a cookbook that would let users know how to “cook with the gas turned off!” Much like other stove manufacturers at that time, the Chambers company was bought and sold a few different times until the product line was discontinued in the early 1990s. California based Thor Corporation would bring the Chambers brand back to the market in 2007. Chambers is still one of the most coveted brands of antique stoves out there with its small but mighty design and superior build quality.
Source: Chambers Appliances
Although these antique stoves aren’t commonplace on our site, they definitely pop up from time to time. Keeping an eye on the Marketplace and adding “stoves” to your EstateSales.NET Treasure Tracker are a few ways to make sure you’re the first to know when one of these timeless cooktops shows up in a sale near you. Happy Hunting!
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