Vintage range

crl_May 31, 2012


We are house looking, as my two year old says, and considering an offer on a place with some original 1940s details, including a nice tiled arched niche for the range. Unfortunately it does not include the original range. I have been doing a little poking around for a replacement for the not very attractive electric range that is in there.

I am wondering about a refurbished vintage range. I know we would need gas, but I am guessing it is already there, or, if not, it shouldn't be too hard to run from the nearby gas water heater. I also know the burner output isn't as high as new professional ranges, but I have never had anything that fancy anyway and doubt the current original ceiling ventilation could take that much power. The final downside I know of is that the oven(s) would not be self cleaning.

Anyone have experience or thoughts on other potential downsides or about cost or about vintage ranges in general?

Thanks so much! (By the way if we buy another house in need of a kitchen remodel it will be our third with you all!)


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The cost of a fully restored vintage range is about the same as a new pro-style range.

If I were getting a vintage residential range it would be the Chamers 61C that began production in 1949. Prices have gone up recently on this model because it is the yellow stove Rachel Ray uses on her show.

It has 12k btu(unheard of at the time) daisy burners,super insulated oven that can be turned off the last ten minutes of baking time and still cook evenly plus many cool features. Check out links below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video Link

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 6:41PM
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CRL, I have two vintage ranges, both O'Keefe & Merritts from about 1934. I've been very happy with each of them. (My first had the "grillerator". I replaced that one with one that had double ovens, but I still have both of them.) It is true that the ovens aren't self-cleaning, but I've never found that to be a problem. I also had the local gas company guy come out and adjust the burners. Have no idea how many BTUs, but they sear just fine and do anything I ask them to do.

Go for it!


ps- if you're in the LA area, I'm ready to sell the double oven model - for *way* less than a new professional-look range!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Thank you both! I am a little far north of you to take advantage of your extra range, Burntfingers, but am glad to hear you have have been happy with vintage ranges.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:12PM
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You can get a used Chambers 61C for as little as $500.

A fully restored one is a tad more ! :)

It is like buying a used '65 Mustang or a fully restored '65 Mustang.

Chances of running into problems and needing repairs are a bit higher on the used ones:)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:29PM
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I cooked for 12 years on a Chambers B range.
I loved the burners. Even if according to the technical specs
the btus were lower than my new Wolf,
I felt that they gave similar cooking/searing power.
I loved the design of the burners.
The oven, however, was small for my needs.
Anyway, I loved the Chambers so much it is still sitting in my garage --
I can't bear to part with it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:44AM
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I have a vintage range and will be glad to get rid of it when we renovate the kitchen. It's a 1930s Magic Chef with six burners, two ovens and warming compartment. It looks great, but even when it worked well (it does not now), it was a challenge. The burners are very small, 9' in diameter, so pans heat very unevenly - a small concentrated circle of flame makes the center of the pan hot but the rest never gots hot enough. I struggle every day with a 12' saute pan on those tiny burners. With the small burner size, I can only use three pans at a time, in a V-shaped pattern, or handles interfere with each other. Even when they worked well, the oven temps were variable - I could never get a consistent 350. Fine for things like muffins and long braises which are forgiving, but I never chanced anything that needed a more precise bake with consistent temps (something like popovers, for example). I didn't have an issue with small oven size, since there are only two of us, but neither of my ovens takes a good-sized cookie sheet - an 11x17 lasagna pan is about the max.

When I bought the house, I loved the look of the vintage range in a vintage-style kitchen. Having cooked on it for 4+ years, I'm very ready to sacrifice its looks for something more functional for my cooking style.

Here is a link that might be useful: This the the model I own

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Chambers are the tops!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 10:48PM
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i crazy love my vintage O'keefe and Merritt range! There is so much good info to be found online about vintage stoves. Research!

my stove has been cooking for about 65 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Powerful burners (13k). Dual stage, plus a keep warm setting. So really, triple stage. Big griddle lined with copper. Full size broiler oven with adjustable heating element--like a salamander for the home. Can "deep broil" roasts and chickens. Oven is calibrated and absolutely spot on. Oven is small, but can hold a full size turkey. And small is also efficient, and gives good browning. High temp--600 degrees awesome for pizza! Fold away shelf/cover is beautiful and useful. Outlet on top. Salt and pepper shakers. Lights. Stove was designed for a time when home cooks cooked HARD every day. I don't begin to use it to its full potential!

I'm also hugely into reduce/reuse/recycle. It feels great to me to keep using things that work beautifully, and were built back when things were expected to last more than a lifetime. (most of my kitchen appliances--blender, waffle maker, mixers, coffee pots, coffee grinder--are over 40 years old.)


Here's an old photo from many years ago, before i started "restoring" my vintage kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 7:20PM
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bayarea :0 !!!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 11:14PM
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We had a nice old O'Keefe & Merritt late 60's stove like shown on Betty Crocker's cookbook of the time. These units are simple to work on and I did some of the repairs and adjustments myself. It is not difficult. That approach could save a lot of cash. You may note that many new owners have stopped doing self cleaning cycles to prevent burning out control boards. Unfortunately I think these old ovens are coated with less easily cleaned interiors. Our unit came with the grillorator lift unit (very cool) and central grill with cover: great landing area but not such a great grill due to uneven heat.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Bayareafrancy: you're my hero! I love old vintage appliances and have an OKM very similar to yours, but not exactly.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 3:59PM
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bayareafrancy .... we must have been separated at birth - lol!

Here's my baby.....a 1953 Roper. This pic is from when I got it back from having the valves and thermostat adjusted, about a year ago, before it was hooked up. I bought it for 375 dollars, and spent another 400 or so getting it tuned up (it had sat for many many years).

Yes, it is quirky, has a small oven capacity, the oven needs to be lit with a lighter, etc.....but I love it so much! I have also made it the centerpiece of my vintage kitchen, all my appliances (except fridge) are from the 40s - early 60s. Oster beehive blender (1953), Hamilton Beech toaster (1955), Sunbeam Mixmaster (1957), Farberware peculator from early 50s, even a full set of Revere Ware pots and pans from the 60s. My house is from the 1870s...I have furnished the main floor in mainly stuff from the first half of the 1900s...I did not want to go the way of everyone else I know (stainless steel appliances, granite countertops....zzzzzz), I wanted to do something different. And everyone loves it....sure a lot of people would not want to deal with all the quirks of having all this old stuff....but it works for me. I am a single father with 50% custody of my two teenage kids, so it's not like I am cooking 21 meals a week on this stuff.

And yes...stuff back then was built to last...this thing weighs at least twice what a comparable size non-commercial stove weighs these days. And you are right on with the temps....I also get it up over 600+ and make awesome homemade pizzas in it all the time.

Oh, one more benefit....I am on city gas, and when I lose power, I can still cook because this stove is all manual (except for the clock of course), all my other friends who lost power after Sandy (or Irene last year) could not cook, even if they had gas, because all their fancy stainless steel stoves had electronics that need to work in order to cook.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:30PM
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Mkroopy: 2 essential appliances you might be missing: sunbeam double bubble coffeemaster, and hobart a-9 coffee grinder. I start each day with them, and drink my coffee while leaning on the toasty warm stove top.

i did my first "rotisserie" chicken in the broiler the other night. I need to come up with some sort of turning mechanism, because i was giving it a quarter turn every 15 mins for 2 hours. The broiler can be set on low for 250 degrees. Wowie was that chicken good!



    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 2:19AM
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