Vintage Electric Coffee Brewers, Some Non-Electric

Electric coffee brewers appeared on the market almost as soon as electricity became available to the homemaker.
Some of the early coffee brewers were weird, and some were dangerous to use.

As with other appliances, the demand for these appliances drove the industry to produce newer, better and safer coffeemakers.

Again, design was a strong factor in the appearance of these and some were quite beautiful as well as practical.

All of the electric coffee brewers I have collected are made in the U.S.A.

I would now like to direct your attention the the following web site that has an extensive amount of text and photos detailing the history and interesting facts about vintage coffee brewers.
JitterBuzz Coffee notes

And here is a comprehensive history of the development of the vacuum coffee brewer:
Vacuum Coffee Pot History

There is this Coffee History from: Go Coffee Go.

And even more coffee history at, Talk About Coffee

And here is something of interest: A Coffee Timeline.

Not all of these coffee brewers are electric but there are a significant number to make it of interest to those who do collect electrics.
There is an extensive collection of photos of every kind of vacuum coffee brewer imaginable (and some are almost beyond imagination).

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Sunbeam produced percolators in a large array of designs. The Art Deco influence is very obvious in this coffee service that I collected several years ago.
sunbeamSunbeam Art Deco Coffee Service.

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I have quite a few coffee brewers of different types and from different eras, especially from the 1930s.

Meanwhile here’s one I just finished cleaning.
This set, made by GE Hotpoint, is actually the very last vintage coffee brewer that I purchased. This one is often seen with cream colored bakelite handles and fittings, also black handles, but the red bakelite is quite rare, which is why I I couldn’t resist it.
GE Hotpoint percolator

GE #2GE Hotpoint.

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This is the “Royal Californian” electric coffee percolator/urn that is gold-plated. It has never been used and still has the hang tag. The manufacturer is Robeson-Rochester Corp., Rochester, New York.

gold coffee urn

gold coffee urn 2

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CURTIS COFFEE BREWER – A DRIP (POUR OVER) BREWER ca. 1959

This is not an electric coffee brewer. It is a drip coffee brewer from the late 1950s and exhibits the “space age” design popular at the time.

curtis 1

curtis 2

Curtis 3

Curtis 4

Curtis 5

Curtis 6

This way of brewing coffee, in spite of the hype about the drip brewers that appeared in the 1980s, had been around for decades. In the 1930s some brewers were made of stoneware or china, including the strainers that were made with very fine holes in the ceramic itself. Hall China produced them in a wide range of designs to match their dinnerware patterns. The “Jewel Tea” company sold them “door-to-door” in the 1930s.
Others had a ceramic body with metal strainers and others had cloth filters. Later still, disposable paper filters were produced and the Chemex brewer was made similar to this Curtis brewer, but used only the paper filter.
This one has two filters, one medium perforations and one with extra-fine perforations.
No paper filter is required.
The finely perforated “Gold” filters that appeared in the late 1980s are descended from this design.
The carafe itself is one piece of blown glass and not, as it appears in two pieces.
The metal filter fits into the upper portion of the carafe and has a clip to keep it securely in place.
An optional warming place was available for purchase but was not sold as part of the brewer.
Note the address on the box. This was prior to the advent of the zip code (in 1963).

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Here’s another percolator with Art Deco styling. This one made by the La Belle Silver Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1939. It was essentially a copy of the very popular and higher priced “Harmony” percolator made by Manning-Bowman and introduced in 1937. Chase made one similar called the “Coronet” shortly after the M-B was marketed.
La Belle Silver produced some beautiful coffee services, still using colored bakelite in many when other manufacturers had changed to other materials.
The black parts on the handle and spigot are bakelite.


It is complete with an original power cord and works. I did not make coffee in it, just ran the cycle with water to test it.

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These are the “aristocrats” of coffee brewers.

These coffee brewers were made by La Belle Silver, Continental Silver and United Appliance.

They all have clear or translucent bakelite handles, one is an amber color, the others are red.
The matching cream and sugars also have matching handles.

I don’t have the cream and sugar for this one.

Or for this one.

I dusted them but they do need a bit of polish to look their best but I’m simply not doing that right now.

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This is a large coffee brewer known as a flip-pot or Neopolitan flip coffee pot for use on a stove top.







31 Responses to Vintage Electric Coffee Brewers, Some Non-Electric

  1. Darienne says:

    Looking at your collection, here and on eGullet, makes me wonder: is there a museum of kitchen ‘stuff’ somewhere? If not, maybe you should start one, or at least will your vast collection to one. Thanks for bringing all these items to our attention. It’s fascinating !!

  2. asenjigal says:

    There is a Toaster Museum and Toaster Central here in the U.S. There is an international toaster museum but the site is difficult to navigate.

    There are museum scattered around the country with rooms set up to show the large and small appliances and furnishing of different eras.

  3. shanha says:

    hi, are you open to selling any of your pieces? i am interested in one of your continental silver co. percolators.
    thanks so much,
    sg

  4. Debby Fracier says:

    I have a vintage art deco coffee percolator urn, red bakelite handles with handle on coffee spout red. Made by United Metal Goods. In good condition, insides are completely clean. I don’t have a cord so I don’t know if it works. I kept it because it is so pretty. Can you tell me the value. Thanks so much.

    • asenjigal says:

      In working condition, with all the bakelite/catalin intact with no chips or cracks, it would range from $110.00 up to $165.00.
      Power cords are fairly easy to find, the standard appliance cords for that era are often offered (sometimes new or unused) on eBay and other auction sites.

      • Debby Fracier says:

        Would ebay be the best place to sell this item. It is in perfect condition.

        • asenjigal says:

          Yes, or ebid, and you might check on Ruby Lane. There are a lot of vintage items there.

          • Debby Fracier says:

            Thank you so much.

          • Debby Fracier says:

            Where might I find a lid for the sugar bowl and creamer?

          • asenjigal says:

            On the sets made by United, LaBelle Silver and Continental Silver, the creamers did not have lids.
            I have no suggestion of how to find a lid alone, as those were the most easily lost parts of the set..

            Manning Bowman, Sunbeam and GE Hotpoint sets did usually have lids on the creamers but not always and sometimes the handles and lids had contrasting colors, not the same color – as you can see on the Hotpoint set near the top of the page.
            I have heard rumors of an up-to-date reference/pricing book that was supposed to be published last year and now possibly this year but I have not been able to get any confirmation. These things have a limited market and some are self-published, which is expensive, so they are few and far between.

  5. Dotti Trapani says:

    I bought, online, an electric coffee maker/server. It is Victorian style & I love it but the power cord shorts when I plug it in. Do you have parts ? It’s made by United and the plug is quite big & different from other electric cords made later.
    I love your collection~ I coild fill my home w/ “STUFF” and be perfectly happy.. :)

    • asenjigal says:

      You can buy replacement cords for almost any vintage appliance from
      Toaster Central

      Measure the size of the plug you have and match it to one of those pictured on this page.

      It is possible that it is not the power cord but the connections of the prongs inside the bottom of the pot.
      If a new cord has the same effect, have the pot checked by an electrician who knows small appliances.

  6. Joan says:

    I have a 1924 Coffee percolator from the Royal Rochester. I am needing a cord and I do not know how to go about finding one. Can you help? It is in excellent condition.

  7. If you would like to view the worlds largest small electric appliance museum. With over 5000 electic appliance. just google small electric appliance museum. thank you Richard

  8. karen says:

    I have on e of the robeson urns like the californian , except it is copper on the out side . I need a replacement stem as it broke ( wore out ) and also , perhaps the thermostat is out because it does not percolate water with an alternate stem ( of a different type) up to make coffee enough , just weak water . I need a stem any how – I have looked and looked , Please help !!!

    • asenjigal says:

      From time to time I see this type of urn on eBay and if not in pristine condition they are inexpensive enough to purchase for parts. Many of the large urns used standard stems and baskets which are interchangeable.
      This vendor has some parts and you can contact them for information.
      As for the heating, depending on how it is constructed internally, there can be a rheostat as well as a thermostat and switches, which can be adjusted or replaced by someone who repairs small appliances, you might find an electrician who does this as a hobby. Unless you are skilled at this sort of thing it is best left to an expert.

  9. Erik says:

    I recently picked up a Curtis “Bing Crosby” Filter Drip pot w/tag and 7 packs of filters. Any idea where I can get more info about this item and its value?

    • asenjigal says:

      I have seen these on auction sites from time to time and have seen them sold anywhere from $30. to $50., depending on condition, original box, etc.
      The “Bing Crosby” model is virtually identical to the Curtis pictured here but has a slightly different handle – the ones I have seen are square at the top of the handle instead of rounded.
      They were available in 2-cup, 4-6 cup and I believe 8-10 cup but I’ve never seen the latter identified as such but have seen a larger carafe only, with no gold overlay that was a 10-cup. It did not have the Curtis name anywhere but was the same shape.
      The one I have is new in the box and did not require filters.
      The Wilbur Curtis company is still in business and manufactures commercial coffee equipment, air pots and accessories. It is now located in Montebello, CA.

      • Erik says:

        Thank you very much for this information. I found the pot at an antique store for $10 so I’m pretty happy about that. :-)

  10. Sandy says:

    Hello, I’ve just purchased a percolator just like the one with red handles posted on 1/24/10 that has a photo of three coffee makers…mine is, sadly, missing its cord. I would love to find a replacement cord to find out if it works! Any ideas where I might get one?
    I would also like to know of a good way to clean ages of grime out of it.
    Thank you for any help you can lend,
    Sandy

  11. Jody says:

    Is there a market for these old percolators? I have the United Metal Goods set with percolator, cord, creamer, sugar bowl (both have lids) and tray {coffee basket missing}

    it is beautiful, but lost in the clutter of some inherited crystal, and I would like to “rehome” my coffee service.

    What is the best way to find it a new home and recoup some of my investment?
    thanks

    • asenjigal says:

      Look for what similar items are selling for on eBay, eBid, Ruby Lane and other auction/sales sites and pick one that has the most action for these items.
      On some sites your first few listings are free.

  12. Clarice Glandon says:

    Do the vintage electric percolators stop perking on their own when the coffee is brewed
    or does one have to time when it begins to perk and then shut it off after say eight minutes of perking? I have a Royal Rochester Royalite.

    • asenjigal says:

      Most of the electric percs do stop after the cycle, especially those that have settings so you can choose the strength of the coffee. Some of the earliest (and cheapest) need to be timed and unplugged when they have perked long enough. I have a Royal Rochester and it does stop perking at the end of the cycle.

  13. Jeannie Hieb says:

    Hi asenjigal: I have an exquisite Robeson Rochester orange coffee maker from 1937. It is in perfect condition except today the chrome rim came off from the top of the pot and the gasket or glue that held it to the pot crumbled. The gasket or glue was time and heat dried, mostly blackened and it turned to dust and tiny pieces. When I made coffee without the glue/gasket under the rim, the perking made a lot more noise than usual (banging I guess) and I am afraid that I can’t use it any more without damaging something. Since you are a collector, do you know of a place to find a replacement gasket or a glue that will appropriately repair the coffee pot? By doing so do I degrade the value? I guess I’ll quit using it sadly–it was fun while it lasted. Reminded me of my mother :-)

    • asenjigal says:

      This happens often with coffee makers of this vintage.

      There is a solution. Clean the inside of the metal rim well with fine steel wool (not Brillo) wipe well with a paper towel to make sure there is no residue. Also clean the ceramic edge lightly with the steel wool and wipe with alcohol.

      At Auto Zone or Pep Boys – you can find Permatex/Hi-temp RTV silicone gasket maker. Get the gray stuff, not the black.

      Apply a continuous “bead” of the material all around the inner surface of the rim and press into place firmly and using a piece of paper towel wipe off all the material that has oozed out under the edges, both inside and out. Put a weight on top and leave it to “cure” for a couple of hours. It will now be set but you should not use it for 3 days to allow the material to fully set – there will be an odor at first but it should not be noticeable after the wait time.
      Use plain water and put it through the cycle twice.

      If you do sell it, just disclose that you have repaired the gasket. It should not lessen the worth at all.

  14. Christine says:

    Hi. does anyone have info on La Belle Silver Co Brooklyn Coffee Urn I have one and am trying to find history and any info it’s in good shape says 115 volts 400 watts brooklyn NY

    • asenjigal says:

      The five La Belle Silver Co. brewers pictured above are all 400 watt, 115 volts.
      They are all fully functional, perking the coffee but have to be manually unplugged after sufficient time – when the coffee is fully brewed – then the inner parts, basket and stem removed and then plugged back in for serving.

      You can’t leave them plugged in for a long time, just until the coffee has been dispensed because otherwise it becomes very strong.

      Some models are supposed to be “automatic” but they continue perking much too long and the result is extremely strong coffee.

      Some of the urns seen on ebay are from the post-war forties, some from the ’30s and some from the ’50s although styles changed abruptly in about 1953.

      It’s important to have a good, undamaged cord. Replacement cords are often on ebay, make sure you measure the distance from center to center on the pins. You can also buy replacement cords at Toaster Central.com: http://www.toastercentral.com/cords.htm

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