Collecting Vintage Kitchen Gadgets, Cookware & Appliances

I am an avid collector of old or “vintage” kitchen gadgets and appliances, some are actual antiques. Mostly the gadgets are old but from time to time some new ones that are unusual or interesting appear and I add those to my collection, if they are quirky enough. Some are rather odd, some are clever (and actually work well) and some are downright dangerous! The late Victorian era seemed to produce a significant number of weird and wonderful gadgets, each with a single purpose, that were intended to make life easier – for the servants. Certainly it is clear that for an ordinary homemaker these things would be more trouble than they were worth. Some of these “time-saving” gadgets require two people to operate them efficiently.

You might find this link interesting:
“Why Do We Collect This Stuff?”

Jitterbuzz.com is an excellent site for the nostalgia “collector” and fans of “retro” living (and dancing). The menu for the entire site is HERE!
It is worth a visit if you were around in those days or if you have heard stories from your mom and dad, or other relatives about how things were back then.
Warning! You can spend a lot of time at the Jitterbuzz site, set a timer if you have other commitments!

If you are looking for some quality vintage items, check out the offerings at Gizmo’s – An Eclectic Vintage Collection.
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I have a nice collection of electric toasters from the 1920s and 1930s and a few from the 1940s, all beautifully designed and they actually work. I also have a few waffle irons and sandwich presses from the same decade, all in highly polished chrome and exhibiting distinctive Art Deco designs.
Here is a photo showing a few.
A few old toasters

Electric mixers are a particularly favorite collectible and again, I love the way they were designed to look good as well as work efficiently. I’ve lost count of the number I have. However, my collection pales when compared to that of other collectors.
There is an online forum (Yahoo Group) for those who collect electric mixers: WACEM – We Actually Collect Electric Mixers! And a very nice group it is and the photo archives are extensive.

One of my vintage appliances that sees a lot of action is a Westinghouse electric roaster that I have owned for over forty years. I have the fitted containers made for it that allows cooking several items at the same time but keeps them separate.

I prepare candied citrus peel and other fruits and especially candied or crystallized ginger and the roaster is perfect for the larger batches. For small batches I use a slow cooker but it is important to not crowd the pieces being candied so the roaster works much better when there is more bulk.

It also comes in handy for sterilizing canning jars so I don’t have a huge stockpot taking up room on the stove top. Saves a lot of time.

Odd and Unusual kitchen gadgets.
Never underestimate the ability of inventors to come up with an idea for something that fits a niche in the kitchen.
There is a weird and wonderful world of odd kitchen gadgets one never knew one needed.

Some of these gadgets are very useful, some are interesting and some look like they belong in a medieval torture chamber. Some require such detailed instructions on their use that they are more trouble than they are worth.
One wonders, “what were they thinking?”

Some of the early electrical appliances from the 1920s are downright dangerous, even with modern replacement electric cords. One very early one has two cords, each with one prong, which were designed to be inserted into a “light fixture plug.” This may seem like a mysterious item unless one had grown up in a home built before electricity and in which all the electrical lines were on the surface of the walls and ceilings and there was an electrical cord that dangled from the ceiling and held a single light bulb. This ended with a socket that would accept either a light bulb or a screw-in receptacle, into which one could plug an appliance.
Thus one would have either light or the appliance. It was some time later that a Y-type dual socket became available, with a bulb in one side and the plug in another.
Some of the old movies from that era shows this type of lighting.

A few years ago a “flatbed toaster” was introduced to the market as a “new” design, popular in the Scandinavian countries.
It’s interesting that some of the early toasters introduced in the 1920s were the “flatbed” type and some incorporated a manual turning feature that was (in its time) a noteworthy innovation. It saved a lot of burnt fingers as well as the possibility of electrocution if using a fork to turn the slice of bread!

The appliances developed and sold during the Art Deco era were designed to be attractive as well as useful. Some of the designs were actually quite beautiful and the engineering that went in to some of them was brilliant.
These were not appliances that were relegated to the kitchen. They were intended to be used at the table, especially for breakfast, and many of the magazine ads depicted them in such a setting, usually with an elegantly dressed lady of the house in the picture but occasionally with a maid in attendance. Ah, those were the days!

Cookware is another thing that I enjoy collecting. Some pieces inherited but others I collected or received as gifts and some were literally found at the side of a road. That was a bit of a mystery that I never solved. Perhaps a vehicle had broken down and the load needed to be lightened but it remains a mystery. I put an ad in the local paper but never got a response. My gain!

Here’s a photo of some old cookware, everything in this photo was made at least 75 years ago.
Old cookware

I have a large pantry and have many of my old cookware pieces hanging from the ceiling. I live in earthquake country and the sound of these things banging against each other is an excellent warning system.
Pantry ceiling

Here is a photo of some of the collection of whisks, some old, some new, that I have collected over the years. I have more, just couldn’t fit them all in the picture.
Whisks

Here are two photos of mezalunas or choppers, some made to use with both hands, some made for one hand.

choppers

Teapots & Tea Paraphanalia.

Other Vintage Small Electric Appliances

Vintage Electric Coffee Brewers

Vintage Electric Mixers

Vintage Electric Toasters

45 Responses to Collecting Vintage Kitchen Gadgets, Cookware & Appliances

  1. Colleen Zimmerman says:

    I “inherited” a PINK glass knife . . . “The New Vitex-Glass Knife” and was wondering it’s worth (or how you find it) and if anyone would be interested in purchasing it (as I do not have a collection going for myself).

    Could you help me at all with some advise???

    Thank you!!!!!

    • asenjigal says:

      Depending on the intensity of the color, these can range in price from $25.00 to $65.00. It also depends on the availability, time of year (these are popular as gifts) and the whim of collectors.
      The pink color is more desirable than the clear. The most desired are the ones with the painted decorations on the handle and the two-toned ones with lightly tinted blades and the much darker handles, usually seen in amber, which is a rarer color anyway.
      I would hold onto it as it will become more valuable over time. Fifteen years ago these were selling for $5.00-10.00.

  2. Tamara says:

    Hi Asenjigal, I have a vintage Armaid Grill & Waffler, never used, in its original box with original instructions! I was wondering if you would be interested in purchasing it for your collection. I also have a vintage Osterizer blender with a copper base, and its original glass blender with lid and base attachment that works. I am in the Los Angeles area. If you are not interested in these items, can you recommend someone who might be? Thank you so much for your information – I love your blogs! Kind Regards, Tamara

    • asenjigal says:

      At present I am not adding to my collection and I already have an Armaid and one is enough.
      I will certainly pass along the information that you have and are willing to sell the Armaid and the copper Osterizer.

    • [email protected] says:

      I am definitely interested in the Osterizer. If it is available.

  3. jeff says:

    I have an electric potato Peeler, the name on it is Peel maid, it is in great condition but I cannot find out anything about it. Hope someone can help

    • asenjigal says:

      I haven’t heard of such an appliance with that name but there were many over the years that appeared on the market for only a brief time and were heard of no more.
      If it is the kind that is a container in which you put the potatoes with water, which then spins and the skin is abraded off by bumps on the inside of the container, it could have been made any time in the past sixty years. A few years ago Preston introduced this one.
      http://www.amazon.com/Presto-02905-Peel-Electric-Peeler/dp/B000V7A9WQ but it has widely differing reviews.
      If it works well, you are lucky to have found it.

  4. Glen & Tina says:

    We have an old freezer stands about 4 1/2 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. It was made by the wc woods company in Guelph and it says KMart on it. We are both 42 yrs old and have never seen one like this before. We can not seem to find any information about this. It is in great working condition. Can anyone help us to find out how old it is and how much it would be worth?

    • asenjigal says:

      I really don’t have much information about large appliances. I’m assuming from your location that the unit was made in Canada and I have zero information about companies that produced appliances in Canada.
      I asked a Canadian friend who sent me this link about the W.C. Wood company.
      Apparently they made small freezers from just after WWII sold only in Canada, acquired other companies in the 1970s and ’80s and expanded into the US in 1990, were acquired by Whirlpool in 2009.

  5. Darienne says:

    I can’t add any really useful information to the Woods question except to add that my parents had a Woods freezer in the 1950s in Ottawa. They had a freezer plan…I have no recollection who sponsored this, the freezer people or some other company…and it’s there that I learned to hate frozen vegetables and ice cream. I recall that the freezer was a chest freezer, what I would call full size. Nothing else comes to mind.

    • asenjigal says:

      Thanks Darienne. My friend here recalls that back in the ’60s his folks rented a freezer “locker” in Hamilton to store meats and fish in a multi-unit freezer built by “Woods.” He has a photo of his dad holding two large fish in front of the locker building with the “Woods Refrigeration” sign prominent below the name of the locker company “Nichols & Son.”

  6. Toby Silva says:

    Hey there vintage cookware aficionados! I have this unique Chafer looking thing that my grandmother gave me. I don’t care if it’s valuable or not, I just want to know what the heck it is. I’ve taken pictures:

  7. Denise Andrews says:

    I have a Iona Portable Mixer. It was given to me as a wedding gift in 1981…model R12D can you tell me what it is worth today? It still works I just used it last week. It is still in it’s original box with the price sticker still on it.

    Denise

    • asenjigal says:

      I only have four portable mixers and am not really familiar with most makers, other than Sunbeam, Westinghouse, etc.
      I suggest you join the WACEM group and post this question there. Just doing a simple search on the site produced 93 messages about Iona.
      The link to WACEM is near the top of the mixers page.

  8. Sue cunningham says:

    Hi

    I have a strange utensil, it has been in my family for ever!! I can’t find anything like it online we always said it was a doughnut fryer but thinking about it I don’t think you would fry one at a time!! It is like an aluminium ladle but wih a raised middle. The Hanly is thick wire with a loop at the end. It is stamped PROV PATENT NO 29747

    Any ideas muh appreciated

    Sue

    • asenjigal says:

      Sorry Sue,
      I haven’t a clue. It’s more difficult not being able to see a photo.
      I agree that it’s unlikely to be a doughnut frying utensil.
      It’s possible that it is a skimmer ladle for removing grease from the top of soup or stew. There have been numerous designs with some truly odd shapes over the decades, some worked, some didn’t.

    • sandra says:

      I have exactly the same ladle with the same PAT No.
      I was born in 1948 and thought it was as old as me or older.
      was also told it was for ring doughnuts

      http://s80.photobucket.com/albums/j188/rahere/?action=view&current=ladle.jpg

      • asenjigal says:

        I’ve never seen that particular utensil. Having worked in my mom’s bakery while in my teens and fried a lot of doughnuts, I never would have thought about frying just one. I have a commercial pancake/doughnut “dropper” that drops the batter into the fat. With raised doughnuts they are lowered into the fat with a wire mesh “spider” or skimmer.
        Thanks for posting the links and photos.

    • Ivoire says:

      In response to Sue Cinningham re item with Prov Patent 29747 stamp….I know exactly what this is as I have one. I can confirm it is a doughnut ladle for frying doughnuts. First dip the ladle quickly into the hot oil to provide a nonstick coating, then fill the ladle with batter, lower it into fryer and a perfectly shaped ring doughnut will quickly rise from the ladle and start cooking….and yes, you do this one at a time, it’s a very quick process that takes a few seconds. This was bought by my mother in the 1950′s, from a market stall in Hereford, England where the ‘new’ idea was being demonstrated. I remember we cooked doughnuts the same day she bought it. I am now in my sixties, and still have this brilliant gadget that has been in regular use ever since I was a little girl.

  9. Eli says:

    I can’t find any info on a mixer I just bought. It is a Hamilton beach mixer. Model 16 bel mar. Please help. What is it worth and where can I get more info. Thanks.

  10. asenjigal says:

    I’m not familiar with that mixer model number or name.

    You might try signing on to the Yahoo Group WACEM and post the question there.

    Sorry I can’t offer any suggestions.

  11. Kelly says:

    I have a question about a Wolf range with a salamander. Kind of random, but I came across this page while searching for my answer. What kind of hood would you recommend? It sits on top of the range, and is 36″ over all. Would I get a 36″ hood? will any hood do? (providing specs for this were correct? Or do I need to find a short one? I have no idea obviously.

    • asenjigal says:

      With the salamander, you should have a hood that is wider than the stovetop by a minimum number of inches and it varies with the local laws. You also should check with your insurance company.
      The MINIMUM clearance of height above the salamander is 36 inches and you need to check the MINIMUM CFM requirements in your town or county. (Cubic Feet per Minute)
      When I had a commercial range (Garland) I had to get a commercial range hood too. It all depends on the BTU output from the burners.

      Be sure and check before you install it and do get the information from your insurance carrier because if you do not have the correct set up, it can invalidate your insurance in case of a fire.

  12. Karen says:

    Hello,
    I had a quick question and do not know who can help me! I was given what looks like a vintage cooking item but I can’t figure out what to do with it nor can I find it anywhere on the web. It is and oblong cast iron unit about 12″ long. It opens and closes (both sides are identical) and it seems to hold food inside. It has 2 marble looking handles on the end almost as to hold it over a fire or hold it on a grill. Does anyone know the name of this item? Thanks so much!

    • asenjigal says:

      Depending on how deep the interior is, it could be either a cast iron pie iron.
      Or, if it is deeper, it can be a clamshell bread mold, which works the way a modern pullman pan works.
      They were made so the rise of the yeast dough would be limited, producing a much finer crumb and allowing the bread to be sliced extremely thin. This was a Victorian idea mainly to produce bread intended for tea sandwiches. I’ve never owned one but have seen a couple in a collection.

  13. Lacee says:

    I was cleaning out my grandmas’s house and found an antique blender from the 50′s. It’s a Rival Magic Touch with all the pieces. I plugged it in and much to my surprise it works perfectly. Do you know, out of curiousity how much something like this is worth? Thanks for any help you can give.

  14. asenjigal says:

    Check on eBay, eBid or Ruby Lane. It all depends on the condition of the appliance. Those from the ’50s are considered “vintage” not antique but some are very collectible.
    Those in near pristine condition are worth about 50-60 dollars, more with the original box and manual.
    I have seen a lot of the manuals/recipe books for the Rival Magic Touch blender which is usually a sign that the blenders themselves did not survive, only the paper stuff.
    The Rival blender was an inexpensive substitute for the more expensive Osterizer and Waring blenders of that era.

  15. Bryant B. says:

    I have a Pasta Queen pasta-maker, still in the box/never opened, from the 1980s. Any thoughts?

    • asenjigal says:

      Appliances from the 1980s have not yet reached the “vintage” status and anything that was widely distributed, such as the “Pasta Queen” with either the Marcato or Atlas manufacturer names on it, is easily found. Numerous examples are for sale at any time on eBay, eBid, etc. If yours has the extra “blades” for cutting various sizes of noodles, those are selling from $45. to $70. And if the motor is included you can add $75. (a new motor sells for $80. to $100.)

  16. chrisann says:

    Hi,

    I can’t seem to find the right appraisal on this appliance – an antique Forge ironer. I’ve googled, ebayed and called a few folks with no luck.

    Do you have any idea or know anyone I could ask?

    Thanks!!!

    • asenjigal says:

      Sorry I can’t help you with any information on an ironer. I do know someone who recently bought a vintage (late 40s, early 50s) Ironrite mangle in working condition for $75.00.
      I think there is a book about ironers but I don’t know where you would find it.

      I only have kitchen collectibles – there are people who collect laundry collectibles but I’m not really knowledgeable about them.

  17. Bryan Lee says:

    Mpls, MN I am looking for an interested collector interested in a Frigidaire refrigerator Model AS44F. I believe it was manufactured in Aug. 1953. It is in good condition and works well.

    • asenjigal says:

      I don’t collect large appliances and as far as I know, none of my subscribers do either. Sorry I can’t help you but I will leave your inquiry on the blog so that people can see it.

  18. Nice collection! I really like the pans on the ceiling–I’d like to take some of those down and use them in my kitchen

    • asenjigal says:

      I do use them. I have been cooking with cast iron all my life – I inherited much of it from my grandmother and some SHE inherited.

  19. Today we bought an electric Browning-Manning “sandwich griller” we’re finding out. It only has the flat surphace and does not have any waffle griddles. The artical # is 402, serial # 11-39 and patent # 1481021 made in USA. Any idea when it was made or what it is worth?

    Thanks,
    Sherry

    • asenjigal says:

      Sorry to take so long to answer. I had lent my book to a friend and just got it back.

      The brand is actually Manning-Bowman one of the high end appliance manufacturers until the late ’50s when it was taken over by McGraw Electric.
      The model 402 SANDWICH GRILL was made in the late 1930s and production was resumed after the war until the 412, 414 and 423 modes were put into production in the late 1940s.
      The waffle baker was model 410 – the combination, which had both flat and waffle plates was model 515.
      Current prices vary considerably depending on condition.
      $15.00 for an obviously used WORKING model to $50.00 for an unused – new in box appliance. Surprisingly, there are a few out there. Ten years ago the values were higher and competition on the auction sites was strong.

  20. Richard Liput says:

    I Have A 1900 Catoract if anyone is Interested, Call Rick At 731 727 6262

  21. Lindsey says:

    We love the look of the remodeled, modern kitchens, with old appliances. (Or at least old looking appliances)
    The dynamic look of old with the new is really eye catching!

    Every Appliance Part

  22. Lucy Schultz says:

    Hi,

    We have a good number of appliances which are new and boxed and have been stored for many years by my father in law who was in the industry for over 50 years.

    I wondered if you could give me some advice.

    Just a few that I have picked out are as follows:
    NEW, BOXED UNUSED
    Russell Hobbs 3305 Filter Coffee Maker
    Sona PJ30 Electric Coffee Percolator Teak handle
    Rima mini deep fat fryer Model 145 in Orange
    MW5775AA Murphy Portable Radio
    Carmen Set To Go Rollers TS240 sealed box

    • asenjigal says:

      I’m not familiar with any of those appliances.
      I have two Russel Hobbs water boilers I bought back in the ’70s – and used a lot, but have never seen a coffee maker.
      Not at all familiar with the Moulinex mixer blender or coffee maker.

      Sorry I can’t offer any advice.

  23. Lucy Schultz says:

    PLS ADD TO THAT THE FOLLOWING:

    moulinex major mixer blender
    moulinex espresso coffee maker
    new in boxes factory boxed

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