Found an old Wedgewood. What can you tell me about it?

fb1981June 7, 2012

Hey guys!

I recently bought a place that came with an old Wedgewood stove. I know next to nothing about these guys. Can anyone tell me more about what I have? I'm planning on redoing the kitchen in about a year. Is it worth keeping/restoring this guy?

Also, it smelled of gas when I first moved in. I cut off the gas to the stove and the smell went away. Thoughts on the cause? I'm guessing it's just a pilot light, but not sure yet.

Thanks!

Francois

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Fori is not pleased

Call the gas company and see if they'll do an inspection. Mine will.

I'm afraid you're just going to have to cook on it to see if it suits you. It's certainly cute! :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:16PM
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asolo

"...it smelled of gas when I first moved in."

If you're dedicated, by all means move ahead. However, I'm strongly suggesting that you DO NOT mess with any confusion having to do with gas in your home. This unit should be thoroughly inspected and refurbished before being allowed into service anywhere.

If you really, really want this thing you'll need to make certain is isn't a hazard. Having someone with experience inspect/refurbish may or may not be possible in your locale.

If I was your gas-inspector guy, I wouldn't be your friend.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:28PM
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marcolo

No need for weeping and hysterics. Many of these stoves remain in use without fancy restorations. Of course someone should pinpoint the smell of gas. It may indeed have been the failure to light the pilot. You can use as-is, or have restored. A fully restored model would retail for about five or six grand or so.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:38PM
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lee676

gas leak could also be from the water heater, or the piping feeding either appliance. And yes check that all (usually) 3 pilot lights are lit, one for each set of two burners and one for the oven/broiler.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:44PM
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alexrander

Yes- they have standing pilots for the top 4 burners- which means there's always a small flame going. It's usually under the white top plate that sits between the 4 burners. That pilot or maybe 2 pilots feed into each burner. The center section will stay warm, you don't want to put your hand on it, it's a good place to warm or melt butter.

You can also turn the gas to the top pilot light(s) completely off. There's a screw that shuts that flow off. Also underneath the top enameled plate, and behind the knobs. Then you have to manually light each burner with a lighter/sparker/match each time you go to use a burner.

Anytime the gas is turned off outside the range, the top pilot and the oven pilot will need to be re-lit.

The oven usually has a pilot flame too. You'd have to take the broiler drawer out, and the racks and oven floor out to check it out. To find the oven pilot you'll need a good flashlight, and (with the gas off of course) you'll be looking for a tiny tube near the main burner- sometimes it's at the very back.

All ovens have a temperature thermostat... usually made by "Robert Shaw"
If the oven has a pilot, it will also have a thermocouple. This detects that the pilot flame is hot before allowing gas to flow to the main oven burner.

Top burners don't have thermocouples or thermostats, only the oven has those.

The oven burner itself is probably cast iron, and it will have a flow valve (orifice) and air shutter adjustment right where the burner attaches to the oven wall usually on one side. These sometimes need cleaning out.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:38AM
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fb1981

Thanks guys! I will see if the gas company can come check it out first of all to make sure it's safe.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:06PM
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sundarman

Hello all,
I have been lurking for a couple of years to follow the conversations about vintage stoves and have finally found one. I am thrilled! I live in Philadelphia but have grown to love the look of the old Wedgewoods. Attached please find a photo of my grand dame. She will probably arrive sometime in the middle of July and has been owned and maintained by the same Los Angeles family since new. I had agonized over whether to search for a 4 burner with griddle model or 6 burner but decided to go with the middle griddle. In addition to the obvious, please share uses for the griddle. I understand from all the comments that the griddles are bit of a pain to maintain. Let me know about your experiences . . I look forward to hearing more from other vintage stove owners. . . especially those who also have Wedgewoods!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:34PM
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Circus Peanut

I restored my 1948 O'Keefe & Merritt by myself, had a gas expert look it all over and install it properly, replacing a few of the parts like the burner heads, and have been loving cooking on it for 4 years now. I cannot recommend these old stoves warmly enough.

Definitely have your gas person check all the piping and supply lines for issues that might have caused the gas odor.

The fears are overrated, and largely apply to really old 1920's and 1930's models that don't have pilot lights, requiring matches. None of the stoves pictured above are in that category. The best part of all: anything, virtually ANYthing, that can break on them can be repaired. My OKM is built like a gorgeous tank & will outlast me for sure.

There are a plethora of websites online that will walk you through the necessary cosmetic repairs and provide you with replacement parts and installation advice. Go for it!

This photo has weird focus issues, but here's mine:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Circus Peanut

PS: Sundarman, we don't do much grilling, so our center griddle has become a repository for lots of implements during cooking. It works exceedingly well as a plate warmer before you dish meals up, too. But it is indeed a great griddle for pancakes -- we just find it too heavy to lug to the sink for washing every single time, so when we grill, we use a cast-iron pan on a regular burner.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:14AM
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sundarman

Circuspeanut. . . love your kitchen! Was definitely an inspiration to me as I was planning my own renovation, thank you! I remember you posted a photo of your stove completely disassembled that gave me the courage to take on a project too! Have you moved on to a new kitchen now? I think I remember seeing a post with all sorts of kitchen planning ideas and some great renderings. . . thought it might be you.

Francois, it looks to me like your stove is one of the more basic Wedgewoods. From what I have been able to gather, Wedgewood offered a broad range of stoves from single oven apartment size units with simple burners to the full dual oven rigs with 4 and 6 burners with simmer settings. It seems to me that you'd want to decide if the stove is sufficient to meet your needs before deciding to spend money on restoration. At the very least you'd have a basic unit that is more finely made than any basic stove you'd buy today.

I started out considering a 40" Wedgewood with a broiler oven on one side and a bake oven on the right but I decided that what I really wanted was a double oven model because my kitchen is on the small side and can't really accommodate wall ovens in addition to a cook top. Would probably have been happy with a 6 burner model but the fact that the one I just found has had only one owner and has been maintained nicely meant more to me. . . plus, the built in griddle looks really cool!

I just ordered a newly published book on vintage stoves that is called "Old Stoves are Hot". Looks like it gives a social history on these critters in addition to a discussion on the technical developments that led to the period during which the Wedgewoods and Okeefe and Merritts were at their best: 1948-55. There is also a chapter on the subsequent period of decline in quality where all things were made and designed with planned obsolescence . . .

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:26PM
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