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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • JOIN THE NAVY, 1917

A Fresh Batch: 1955

A Fresh Batch: 1955

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1955, and our second visit with the Fabulous Baker Sisters. For Boomers of a certain age, this kitchen will likely spark a bonfire of memories. 4x5 acetate negative from the News Photo Archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Old things!

Being a fanatic for old things, I recently installed a very similar circa 1950 Caloric stove in my kitchen (30 inches wide instead of the slightly wider model seen here), a 1940 GE fridge, and a circa 1941 Sunbeam model 7. They all still work like a charm.

OMG

Not only did we have the same floor tiles, cabinets and countertops, but we STILL have them! When the basement was finished the slab was covered with the floor tiles (most of which have since lost their grip and/or shattered), and during an early kitchen redo whatever cabinets & countertops didn't wind up in said basement were installed along the back wall of the garage, complete with metal edging.

Can anyone tell me?

What that device is top left corner on the end of the cabinet? I seem to remember that was a bag storage, but not sure.

[As mentioned in the first comment, it's a holder for a box of kitchen matches, the wood kind. Unless you mean the paper towels on the underside. -tterrace]

Thanks tterrace. I guess there is so much to read, I missed that.

The step stool saga continues

The lower steps on ours pivoted as described by Greg, there were no tracks.

I'm pretty sure it was a Cosco as I remembered the name when I bought a step ladder several years ago.

I believe the 'Cosco' name was molded into the steps as they are on my newer ladder which would explain why I remembered the name roughly 50 years later.

More Stool Talk

We had a step stool that looked like this one when I was growing up in the '60s. Most of the Cosco ones I see online, both current and vintage, have the two lower steps slide forward on a track. Ours was like the one pictured here though, where the steps pivot outward on a rod. Maybe it isn't a Cosco? I remember two things about ours: it was really heavy to move, and when you did move it you had to take care not to tilt it forward because the steps would pivot out and hit you in the shins. Ouch.

Changing styles

I remember wearing those types (boys' version) of sandals well into the 1970s as a kid. They were made of leather, too. These day all I see are flipflops. Plastic. Yuck! How does one run in them in the first place?

Nine inch floor tiles

A lot of memories stirred by this pic. We had a lot of these kitchen items in the 50's at our house including an unforgettable yellow metal step stool like the one shown. I would be willing to wager that the floor tiles were green.

Cosco

The step stool is a Cosco. Ours was yellow + chrome. Mom later recovered the torn seat and painted it copper color.

Google images show that it was redesigned many times, first to eliminate the vertical tube connecting the front of the upper step to the lower step, and later, several radical modernizations of the styling.

Cosco still markets a "retro" version of this, along with their modern products. It isn't exactly the same, but close.

So neat and tidy

I remember baking Toll House cookies with my mom. No matter what, there was flour on both of us and the counter, little blobs of Crisco, and more than one mixing bowl containing various ingredients. These girls are sparkling with cleanliness, and there's not a drop of anything anywhere. How did they do it?

70's grandma

My grandmother's kitchen still looked a lot like this in the 70's. Old gas burner, strange linoleum, ancient refigerator, step stool. And, just out the door on the back porch, a clothes washer with a hand operated wringer in case the newfangled machine broke down.

I worry about the girl carrying the cookies - she has a Stepford wives kind of look going.

Yesterday, mom gave the girls

a home perm from Tonette. The aunts assisted and the house still has that unmistakable aroma. These girls are simply adorable.

Step-stool

My granny had one of those chrome step-stools in her kitchen the whole time I was growing up. It had a padded seat covered in red plastic.

All the fittings of the metal parts gradually grew loose, and it made a strange rattle when it was moved or used. At the beginning of each summer, some of us boys would tighten it up for Granny as best we could with a pair of pliers and it would make it through another year. As time went on, the plastic on the seat cracked and the fluffy white padding would show so we'd patch the seat with some fabric tape we found in the barn. The whole contraption was finally tossed.

I'd be willing to bet money it was purchased at Sears.

The step stool

No one has mentioned the step stool. Everyone I knew had one just like the one in the picture.

Familiar Look

A couple with whom I am friends live in a mid-50s side-split home, one which was fairly high-end when new. It had always been well-maintained and since they are home improvement fans, when they bought it 20 years ago they began restoring the original kitchen which, except for the flooring, was much like this. The cabinets - carpenter-built on-site - were sanded and repainted, and had these exact same hinges and pulls which were polished and reused. The counters had the same stainless trim strips, which were pulled, buffed, and put back in place. They did end up replacing the early 1970s appliances and sink/faucet. But it all worked and looked great when they were done. I notice the stove in the picture is the Caloric brand, which I gather is no longer with us.

Food mixer

Looks like a Sunbeam Mixmaster 9 or 9B hiding in the corner. 1948-1959. Mum got an Australian made one in 1955.
https://youtu.be/Op9x8bfmMbI

Those light switches

Not the silent, suave mercury switches we have now, but the kind that go CLACK CLACK CLACK.

Little girls of the 60s baking

That could be my sister and me, in 1961, when I was 7 and she was 4, helping in our grandmother's kitchen. I was the brunette and she was the blonde, too. Grandma's cabinets looked the same, including the hardware, and the linoleum tiles were the same. The sink looks like an extra large one, which she had, and that can opener mounted on the cabinet right by the sink was something Grandma, and many others, had back then. Oh, and the stool, too! It looks like a cookie mix they are advertising. I can't imagine that there would have been a huge market for it, at that point. Grandma made everything from scratch, but I'm sure there were some families who didn't get any freshly baked cookies unless they came from a mix!

'61 Or '51?

How sure are you of the year? That kitchen has an early fifties vibe, as do the girls' dresses. And the car outside is almost surely a 1950 Plymouth.

[The neighboring negatives are labeled 1961, which is where we got the year. The cookie mix box, however, seems to be from the mid-1950s. We hereby change the date to 1955. - Dave]

Odd set of canisters

Flour, Sugar, and Crack.

I can read it

The fridge is a Hotpoint from about 1950. There's a very similar 1949 model on Etsy right now.

It's a Hotpoint

The fridge, that is.

Asbestos

The floor tiles look like the ones containing asbestos, which require special removal.

These girls

These girls are so adorable, I hope stil rockin', and baking for grandchildren, or themselves! And I must say, I'm suprised this modern washing mashine. I had similar one around 1984. But well, I live in Poland. In 1984, this was communist Poland.

Aluminum Edging on Formica Countertops

There's a lot of things that you never see anymore in this photo!

The Formica countertops, which might be a deep red color, are edged with extruded aluminum strips made for this purpose. This is one more thing for the harried housewife to keep polished. It's also possible for spills to get under the edge of the edging strip.

You'll not that there's a hard-to-clean aluminum strip between the counter top and the backsplash. There's also a divider strip where the countertop sections join. None of this is seen anymore, even in Formica work.

[The edging would be stainless steel, not aluminum. At least that's what it was in our 1958 kitchen. - Dave]

The Swing-A-Way hand cranked can opener on the wall is still available in a modern version. It still has the appeal that it can be dismounted for cleaning in the sink.

The twin-beater stand mixer might be Dormann, although there were, and are, many other fine brands.

Can anyone read the nameplate on the refrigerator, or identify the laundry machine?

There ain't no need to go outside...

... to see that it's a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4 door sedan.

The View

There's most likely nothing in that image that could not have been found in millions of other American homes of that era except, perhaps, the Fabulous Baker Sisters themselves.

To me, most notably, the view out the kitchen window into your neighbors backyard. Ubiquitous even today. A little intrusive curiosity in us all I suppose.

Something you never see anymore

The tin container of kitchen matches above the stove, which was probably equipped with pilot lights. Useful for lighting the oven.

My mom used to light her Kents off the stove burners, and from time to time would burn off her bangs and eyebrows when the burner wouldn't catch right away. Whoomph!

 
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