Other Vintage Small Electric Appliances

As soon as electricity became more widely available early in the 20th century, inventors, designers and manufacturers began a race to see who could put a small appliance on the market that would grab the most customers.
Guess what? That race is still going on at the end of the first decade of the 21st century!

Those early inventors had some good ideas. They also had some nutty ones but at least they believed in innovation and weren’t just copying the other guy.

The world was very different them, even before the Great Depression wages were low, there was no minimum wage law and many working people lived in rented rooms with no real kitchen, usually just a sink and if they were lucky, an ice box. No stove, no oven, no way to prepare a meal. They were dependent on the rooming house cook, if meals were part of the deal (room & board) and often the food was pretty bad. There were exceptions but the rooming house owner was also trying to make ends meet. For many women, whose husbands were away working on WPA projects, this was the only way they could afford to keep their homes.
Often electricity was only available via a meter that required a coin be deposited for a specific amount of time. Many of the early small appliances were designed to be stingy on electrical use.
So that’s the way it was for most people and that’s why I always chuckle when people wish for the “good old days” because they weren’t all that great, except for people with money.

While most of the appliances were designed for a specific task, a few were multi-purpose and marketed to those people with limited income and limited cooking space.
The Breakfaster, made by the Calkins company, had a hotplate on top and a drawer underneath where you could toast bread. There were also stackable table-top stove cookers with multiple pans and griddles. One was made by The Universal Landers, Frary and Clark Company.

Appliances from the Elegant Past

Designers of electrical appliances made for food preparation began to produce things that were attractive and intended for display, not just relegated to the kitchen. Sideboards in dining rooms held coffee urns that were beautiful as well as useful. Servers made to keep foods at serving temperature were also displayed and used on the sideboard.
As fewer homes had domestic servants, the homemaker bought small appliances that allowed her to prepare foods at the table and remain with her family and/or guests.
Toasters, waffle irons, sandwich presses, chafing dishes and other small appliances, attractively designed, were used at the table and not hidden away in the kitchen.
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The list of manufacturers is practically endless. Some companies appeared on the scene early, had moderate success but faded after a few years because of failing to innovate. Others prospered for decades and either were bought up by other companies or faded to obscurity because of poor management as the founders passed the company on to a younger generation.
Some companies produced superior products and had high standards and sold their products at premium prices.
One of these was Manning-Bowman whose company slogan was MB Means Best and this was also their logo: during the 1930s.

Other companies turned out many appliances at the low end, using lighter materials, less interior wiring and aimed to produce cheap products for people who could not afford the higher prices.
In between were companies who turned out appliances that were serviceable, were made to last but lacked the high style of the premium offerings. These were the companies that lasted the longest and many of those appliances remained in service for many years.

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Here are a few examples of those appliances.

The Sunbeam ToastWitch ca. 1933.

This actually belongs on the Toasters page as it is a “flatbed” toaster that toasted both sides at the same time.
1933 ToastWitch

ToastWitch 2

ToastWitch 3

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Calkins Breakfaster Model T2

This interesting combination hot plate and toaster was made by the Calkins Appliance Co., Niles, MI

This too exhibits the Art Deco styling of the 1930s when this appliance was manufactured in 1936. The shell and interior are all made of aluminum. The “grill” sides are completely open. This allowed for the heat to escape so it was of little use as an “oven” and the toast could only be browned on one side at a time.

The appliance was awkward to use and was only manufactured for two years. There was no On/Off switch and the plug had to be pulled to turn it off. The overall size with the handles is 11 inches long, 8 inches deep and 5 inches high, the same footprint as a small toaster. But it was much less efficient at toasting bread. I don’t think it really worked well as a hot plate either. I’ve seen a number appear for sale marked “as new” and in my opinion it was because it really wasn’t all that useful, so folks put them away. Fortunately for those of us who collect, they did not all go to the wartime scrap drives.

This one was apparently seldom, if ever, used as there are no heat marks on the white porcelain insulator inside the appliance. The outer shell has a few dings, the bakelite is perfect and the original power cord is as near perfect as one can find on a 74-year-old appliance.

This was advertised as an appliance on which one could “cook your oatmeal on top and toast your bread” at the same time.

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Manning-Bowman Buffet Server

A server with two containers to keep foods hot. This one from 1937.

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Everhot Roaster

While this electric Everhot Roaster, ca. 1937, was made to be used in the kitchen, it also was designed to be attractive with its lovely Art Deco design.

Everhot

Everhot 2

This Everhot roaster was never used and is in pristine condition. The electric cord is still coiled and the original (but very fragile) cellophane wrapper is still with it.

The original “porcelain” sticker is still on the inside bottom of the roasting pan.

The ID plate shows that this originally had an “A” series imprint but it has been overstruck with a “B” which dates it to mid-1937. The design remained essentially the same until 1940.
Note that it also specifies that it be used “Only with Alternating Current.”





It was promoted as a healthy way of cooking. The electric roaster does not use up the oxygen in the house…..

The index, a list of accessories and replacement parts with prices
and a list of other Everhot appliances.

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Everhot Clock Timer

More classic Art Deco design!


Patent No. 2,182,894 – Filed Mar 2, 1938 – The Swartzbaugh Mfg. Co.

This is a wind-up clock that also includes an electric supply so that appliances (such as the Everhot Electric Roaster) could be plugged in and the ON and OFF times controlled by the clock timer.

This was in the 1930s and essentially works the same as today’s “programmable” cookers.
Amazing idea for seventy-some years ago!

The clock timer has holes in the base and an inner cast iron weight so it won’t tip over when set on a counter

and the “gimbal” mount allows it to swing so it could be mounted on a wall or other vertical surface.

The only timers that allow that today are the magnetic ones and you have to have a surface that actually will hold a magnet.
Why don’t they make regular timers so they can be mounted on a wall or cabinet?

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Westinghouse Roaster Oven, Pink

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Sunbeam Automatic Egg Cooker

Here’s a Sunbeam automatic egg cooker:
Sunbeam eggy one

Sunbeam eggy two

Some people on seeing this, make reference to “Robbie the Robot” from “Forbidden Planet.”

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Rooster, Hens and Chicks Egg cooker

This is a cute little ceramic egg cooker that holds just four eggs (breakfast for two) for soft or hard boiled.
It has no On/Off switch so one has to use a separate timer and unplug the cooker when the eggs are ready.

There is no manufacturers name on the cooker but it does state: Made in USA.

It has never been used.

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Remington Egg Poacher/Cooker

This is the same Remington Company that made electric shavers and hair dryers. This is from the 1970s and was used very little.

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Dominion Popcorn Popper

Electric corn poppers are another small appliance that appeared early on and were rapidly refined and redesigned, especially during the 1930s.

This one is an early Dominion Popcorn Popper, with a stirring crank, from the later 1920s.

Dominion corn popper 1

Dominion Corn Popper 3

Toaster Central.com has some lovely photos and descriptions of Popcorn Poppers from the 1930s to the early 1970s. (Some are for sale.)

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Manning-Bowman Smokeless Table Broiler

Look at this neat tabletop broiler manufactured by Manning-Bowman in 1941. It sold new in March ’41 for $11.95.
Yet again this was an example of an appliance that was designed to be used at the table and not relegated to the kitchen. This was a time when fewer people had servants and the homemaker was offered these appliances so she could prepare the meal while interacting with her guests.
This is a heavy metal, fully chromed, piece, still exhibiting the Art Deco influence. Not many survived the scrap metal drives of WWII.

It has its original cord and the booklet that came with it. It was never used.
Manning-Bowman broiler

Manning-Bowman Broiler 2

The brochure: MB brochure

Note the other items manufactured by Manning, Bowman & Co.
“Toaster-With-the-Tester”
“Twin-O-Matic” Waffle Baker”
“Long-Last” Percolator”
& etc.
Many writers have described M-B as the “Cadillac” of small appliance manufacturers.

JitterBuzz has a segment about the “Smokeless Table Broiler” on this page:
The Manning-Bowman Smokeless Table Broiler
Scroll down the page a bit more than half-way.

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Continental Blender

This is another of my favorites. It is a “Continental” copper blender with the body manufactured by the La Belle Silver Co., Glendale, Long Island, New York in 1957. Date is on the front control panel. The base is styled somewhat like the “beehive” design that was originated by Waring in 1938. (The Oster with the “beehive” base did not appear until 1946).
The motor and electric controls were made by GE.
The base is heavy, wrapped with solid copper, not plated, and the glass is very thick and heavy. The base of the glass does not detach, the blade shaft is secured by a hub nut and the seal is still intact and does not leak after 53 years!
The lid does not lock onto the glass so has to be held to prevent a “volcano” effect.

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Waring Model DM 4 Drink Mixer

Here’s an unusual Waring drink mixer that is very different from those usually seen. For one thing, it is all in one rather than have a base with a detachable container.
A profile view shows that it appears to be just a beverage server but only when one looks inside is it obvious that it has blades for blending. It is not designed, nor is the motor powerful enough to do the heavier blending of firm fruits and vegetables that is the purpose of the standard Waring blender. It is strictly for blending liquids and very soft fruits and ice cream, etc. And is not for crushing ice – the ice has to be crushed before adding to this mixer.




The original Waring blender was originally developed by inventor Fred Osius in 1936 who obtained financial backing from Fred Waring, a bandleader and singer who had a popular radio show and used that venue to sell the blenders. This was ten years before the Oster Liquidizer.
History of the Waring Blender.

Oster History.

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Webalco Stainless Steel Electric Skillet, Poacher, Chafer, made by West Bend Co.

This is an electric skillet made by the West Bend Company in the early 1970s, with the division name of Webalco, the top of the line appliances made by this company.
It is an “oil-core” skillet, very heavy, stainless steel. It has an insert with removable cups for poached eggs. The lid can be inverted and set over simmering water in the skillet bottom to perform as a chafing dish.
It operated at a higher temperature than most other electric skillets of that time with a top setting of 450° F. This one was never used.
A very versatile and unusual appliance.

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Volcano Stove

This little “stove” hotplate was made by the Hilco Engineering Company in Chicago, Illinois. It is marked, “Pat. Pending” and a patent search does not come back with any patent number.

Unlike other hot plates, this one has a lever that elevates the grid 1 1/2 inches above the heat element.
It is quite small. The heat element and the grid are just 4 1/2 inches in diameter and the overall height with the grid flat is 6 inches and 7 1/2 with it fully elevated.
I think this would make anything on it very top-heavy and I don’t see this as being at all safe to use.
I have been told that there were utensils made to be used on it that had a depression in the bottom that would allow a snug fit onto the grill but I have not seen these, nor have I been able to find any ads for this “stove” or any accessories. So far, this is just hearsay.
I’ve plugged it in and the element heats rapidly and gets quite hot. There is no On/Off switch.

18 Responses to Other Vintage Small Electric Appliances

  1. Darienne says:

    Just incredible. Are these your pieces?

  2. asenjigal says:

    Yes, they are all mine. I will be posting photos of many more, as I take the photos. I have to bring most of them out of cabinets and my storeroom so I can take individual pics.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Hi I have a vintage Everhot counter top stove I havent seen another one anywhere just parts of one on ebay. Mine is in mint condition and still works. It even has the griddle and broiler pan that goes with it. Do you have any information on this vintage appliance. Id love to know more about it.

    • asenjigal says:

      There were a couple of companies who produced appliances with the “Everhot” label but yours was probably manufactured by the Swartzbaug Manufacturing Company between 1932 and 1941.
      Most of the appliance line was not resumed after WWII and the “Everhot” name and the small appliance manufacturing equipment was sold to McGraw-Electric in 1951.
      It is very rare to find one of the tabletop multi-function stoves with all the parts intact. You are very lucky to have one.
      The Everhot was loosely based on the Universal table-top stove made by Landers, Frary & Clark in the late 1920s.
      It was very popular with people living in “rooms” with minimal kitchen facilities. Occasionally one can be seen in the background in some movies from the 1930s.

      • Steve says:

        I have a large number of working old appliances from one household…Manning Bowman Sandwich press (makes the best panini’s…no offfense to Italy. universal percolator 1929 0r s0. large Holliwood (made in Chicago so I’ll forgive that spelling) table top steak broiler…I love this one. A GE pop up toaster in bakelite ivory with the arrows and laurel leaves on the chrome sides (any source for the heating elements?) banning bowman and westinghouse wafflers. And it would seem every dry electric iron ever made by GE and then one from Westnghouse with steam…none after. Guess that was the ticket (and 7 ironing boards to go with them all (did they give away an ironing board when you bought an iron? I mean really, I could iron in every room here. A terrific tiny percolator that makes one cup..,.and the everhot complete cooker (“keeps food hot and cold” should read OR…don’t you think…but well it is advertising) along with the directiuons taped on the inside door of one of the kitchen cabinets….no temperatures. just times to have “on current” and then “off current” based oh weight of whatever youve put in. This in the original box as well.

    • Susan Hinshaw says:

      I was given my grandmother’s Everhot counter top stove and it sounds just like yours. Mine also has the griddle and broiler pan. It is not in working condition but my husband may try to see if there is a way to make it work. He does electrical work. I also have her old Housier cabinet.

      • asenjigal says:

        The inner workings of the older appliances are fairly simple to repair for someone with even basic electrical knowledge.
        Sometimes it is as simple as cleaning contacts and other elements.
        We used to have a small appliance repair person here in Lancaster who would remove the coils from old electric appliances, soak them in a mild acid solution to remove corrosion and replace them with very good results in hot plates, toasters, waffle iron (he did this on three of mine) so they would again heat evenly.
        There are some online articles about repairing and this site has links to specific module repairs.

  4. Wendy Guerin says:

    Hi. Your blog is very informative. Yesterday I took home an Everhot Roaster similar to the one you show above that is Art Deco. Mine says No. 680 Series A. It is very similar to yours with the same booklet but not quite the same in the front. Is there some kind of catalog that would help me reference the date of the model. Are there any sites that help value roasters? I can’t find my model anywhere online. I am not a collector… we have an online store that sells used cookbooks. I found this roaster while hunting for stock for our store. We plan to likely sell it later but don’t know where to begin as it’s not our specialty. It looked so great…I couldn’t resist. It has a broken handle but is otherwise in very nice shape.

    • asenjigal says:

      I don’t have any reference dates for the 680 series roasters. The last year of manufacture was 1950 – the company was sold to McGraw in 1951.
      I haven’t seen any values for electric roasters per se, but some of the models do appear from time to time on online auctions, Craig’s list, etc.
      Unfortunately any damage will devalue any vintage appliance considerably but if the unit itself is in good condition and works, it might be worthwhile to look for one in poor condition and buy it (inexpensively) for parts.
      The company continued the Art Deco look, with variations, until 1941, after which domestic product manufacture was suspended and military items were in production. Manufacture of the roasters resumed in 1946.

  5. PatB says:

    I have a vintage egg cooker made by Pacific heating company called El Eggo. I have only been able to find one picture of it on the internet so far and virtually no information about what it might be worth.
    I was wondering if you might have any information about this appliance?

    • asenjigal says:

      Pacific manufactured small appliances for Hotpoint, including “flopper” toasters, a percolator, a tabletop cooker/chafer, from the late teens through the 1920s and into the early 1930s. The first “El” toaster was marketed in 1919. I thing the egg cooker, the earliest of which had the screw plug connector, was first marketed in 1924 and continued in production until about 1936.
      The screw plug looks like the base of a light bulb attached to the power cord. In many homes there were no receptacles as we use today. Most people had overhead light bulbs that hung from a cord and if you wanted to use an appliance you had to unscrew the bulb and screw in the appliance plug. I’ve got an early Hankscraft egg cooker with this type of plug. I should take a photo and add it to the page.
      The earliest El Eggo cookers with the screw plug are difficult to find and have sold for as much as $125.00 but that was before the recession. The later ones, depending on condition sell for $40. to $60. with the top prices for those that still have a good power cord and are in working condition with the interior parts intact. Some had a ceramic holder for the eggs and they were breakable.
      I hope this helps.
      Andie

  6. rina scott says:

    I have a blender by McGraw electric called the marvelizer all stainless steel I was wondering what year and if it was worth anything to a collector?

  7. Kris says:

    I am looking for the everhot waf-fil baker. Model number 4. Manufactured by Swartzbaugh.

    • asenjigal says:

      The production of these was quite limited – I think in the late ’30s but would have to look in my books. My waffle iron book is loaned out right now so I can’t check.
      I know Swartzbaugh was taken over by McGraw in the ’50s and only a few of the appliances were manufactured after that.
      I saw one about 15 years ago and was fascinated by the look of the finished “waffles.”
      The auction went past my price limit so someone else got it.

  8. Tim Deady says:

    Asenjigal I have a Everhot broiler model number 690. I am looking for some information on the item…….I cannot seem to find it anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • asenjigal says:

      Everhot appliances were manufactured by the Swartzbaugh Mfg. co in Toledo, OH.
      This is a link to a page with limited information on the types of products they made.
      The company was eventually purchased (one of many) by the Bersted company which manufactured appliances originally patented by Swartzbaugh under the Bersted name (often using much cheaper components).
      The appliances manufactured under the Everhot name are usually quality items – During WWII they had contracts to supply various cookers and etc., to the military.
      Information about some appliances is difficult to find, unless you come across a brochure or owner manual that accompanied it when first sold. (like the one I have for the Everhot roaster) They do show up from time to time on eBay and other sites.

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