GW-approved 1937 kitchen

iroll_gwAugust 25, 2013

I just had to share this ad, because it has so many features that are standard GW recommendations, but way back in 1937:

Drawer base cabinets
Built-in refrigerator
Double ovens
Pull-out pantry
Sink with drainboard
Horizontal electrical outlet in backsplash;hash=item51a3f51327

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Look at the totally cool glass bricks too! What a good idea!!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:45PM
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Love that! A fun reminder that good design is timeless.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:35PM
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I love that backsplash. There's very little I'd change in this kitchen if I had it today beyond updating the stove.

Dishwasher looks a bit narrow too - about 20"?

Interesting how bottom-freezer fridges were common until the 1960s and then went out of style, only to come back with a vengeance in the last decade. Some of those '60s fridges even had French doors.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:43PM
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So I wonder why drawer base cabinets didn't stay a standard feature. I've never had them in any house (and won't any time soon, sniffle.) I'd love to, though.

Other popular GW features:
Open shelving
No microwave over the range ;-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Another 30's & 40's look was inset cabinets or lipped cabinets. That picture didn't really show it but I've seen it quite a bit in other photos. Inset or lipped really completes the look.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Thanks for posting that! My home was built in 1937, the same year as the ad. My original kitchen (since remodeled a couple of times) had many of the same features, including the soffit and art deco hardware (in chrome). Some of the true art deco homes in the neighborhood have an area of glass block, and a neighbor has the original stoves in her duplex.

The kitchen had lipped cabinets while the living room built ins are inset. The fronts were engraved with an art deco series of parallel lines.

This post was edited by gooster on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 21:48

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Cindy Noll

Maybe drawers didn't stay a standard feature because they were just a fad & are today also!!??? It looks like a dishwasher in the picture, but did they actually have dishwashers in 1937?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 7:24AM
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>Maybe drawers didn't stay a standard feature because they were just a fad & are today also!!??

More likely because builders managed to persuade everyone that door cabinets, which save builders a bunch of money, were more flexible.

Yes, there were dishwashers in the 30s. Here's a 1930 clip featuring Bette Davis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bette Davis sells dishwashers

This post was edited by writersblock on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 10:48

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:47AM
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The house I grew up in was built in 1948 (by my dad when I was 3). We always had a dishwasher. The sink had an integrated drainboard that extended over the adjacent dishwasher with a cabinet next to it at the end of the run. My mom often washed my hair with me stretched out on my back on top, head over the sink.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Old drawers took maintenance, no fancy slides to keeping them operating smoothly. I grew up in a house with a kitchen of that era and the drawers were odd sizes, would stick, and got sawdust on everything. Not that I am complaining because I loved that old kitchen, but I could see how it would bother some and probably make them want to have less drawers. Besides, back then who designed kitchens? It was becoming a bit more popular but most houses had the cabinetry built by a carpenter that was doing all of the houses woodwork and not nearly as much thought went into functional kitchen design.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:11PM
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athomeinva: oh yes, those original drawers didn't have the fancy rollers, that is for sure. I don't think the original kitchens in my neighborhood had many base drawers -- many were already cabinets.

That commercial was priceless. What we think are "modern" conveniences were actually around for over 80 years. Seems like (from web searches) the first practical dw was invented in 1886, by a rich woman who was tired of waiting for someone to invent a machine for washing dishes. She later reportedly founded a company that would become Kitchen-Aid. (And, I am reading, the first garbage disposal was invented in 1927, and produced by a company the guy call the "In Sink Erator Manufacturing Company".)

The "silent electricity" used for "washing dishes" is mentioned in the ad text, so I think there is indeed a dw in the layout.

Here is a link that might be useful: History of the DW

This post was edited by gooster on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 13:05

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Yes, that's a very valid point, athomeinva. Especially before A/C, drawers that grew in warm, damp weather and had to be removed regularly and planed down again were a great nuisance.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Another factor that may have come into play is the war. Even before the US entered it, lumber was going to the war effort and only "necessary" building was allowed. Afterwards, it was going to fast, new housing and anywhere you could cut back time and labor and material, you would! I don't know that this is really why, but it could certainly be part of it. I know the building restrictions are one reason my neighborhood looks as it does today; only a quarter of it was laid out by 1939, and nothing else happened until 1948.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:04PM
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