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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Dream Kitchen: 1920

Dream Kitchen: 1920

"Washington Times. Interior, Hamilton Street house" circa 1920. View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress.

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Nice view...

I suppose the shingles of the bungalow next door are preferable to the sooty bricks of a tenement airshaft.

1920's stoves on legs!

This is my dream kitchen! Love that in the 1920s everything was on leg so you could clean under the sink and stove.

I grew up in a New York City apartment with a very similar 1920s enamel stove. It had four gas burners over a gas oven. The lid served as a backsplash and could be folded down over the burners when not in use. (The backsplash on the stove pictured here is simply a backsplash.) It was pretty and extremely functional.

Work space was provided by a table, which doubled for family dining. A built-in floor-to-ceiling breakfront, with glass-doored shelves above and a closed cupboard of three shelves below, was sufficient storage for dishes, canned goods and appliances. There was also a hand-pulled dumbwaiter for garbage pickup and a Murphy ironing board. A huge porcelain-enameled cast-iron double sink on legs featured a porcelain drainboard cover that slid between a shallow dish sink and a very deep laundry sink. A pull-down wooden laundry rack hung over the sink. The gas refrigerator was also on short legs.

My mother turned out magnificent huge meals in this kitchen and I learned to cook in it. It was extremely efficient and easy to keep clean. One wall was breakfront, sink, and stove. The other wall accommodated the table and dumbwaiter shaft and ironing board build-out. A western window with a view from Third Avenue to the Hudson made the kitchen sunny and airy.

If I could ever build a house, the kitchen of my childhood would be the ideal, but this one is pretty similar and would fit the bill beautifully!

Nice Stove

In my first apartment, I had a stove very much like that. The back panel doesn't move, it's just a backsplash. Which was much needed with my cooking abilities. You had to light the burners with a match, and the oven wasn't the best thing in the world and barely held anything bigger than a duck.

Heat efficiency

Note how the dish drainer is located directly over the radiator; perhaps merely serendipitous, as opposed to deliberate positioning, but the heat would hasten drying.

Gas in the Kitchen

I may be totally off the beam here (as it seems most of my comments here are), but is it odd to anyone else that the furnace is so close to the stove? The stove alone could heat up a kitchen, but maybe a family just wouldn't run both at the same time.

I lived in a 1920's era house that was still heated by room furnaces, and the kitchen had a very small one on the opposite end of the room.

[That's a radiator for steam heat. Not a furnace. You'd heat your kitchen with a gas range or gas oven? Someone call 911. - Dave]

Marlor Stove

The Washington Post reports the sales of several "Bungalow Homes" on Hamilton Street at this time. To me, the simplicity of this kitchen suggests the modern utility associated with the Arts & Crafts bungalows, as opposed to previous stodgy Victorian designs. What I find most curious about this photo is the complete absence of ready information regarding Marlor Stoves. Neither the internet nor Washington Post archives return any relevant info. Anyone out there know any background on Marlor Stoves?

The Modern Kitchen

I bet it was described as "sanitary."


This lucky housewife was probably thinking how good she had it over Mama, who still pumped her water and heated it on a woodstove.

Home Depot

Imagine this in the kitchen setups they have at your local Home Depot or Lowes.

Back Panel

I believe that panel folds down to provide more counter space. Can you imagine trying to cook for a family with that setup?

Back panel to the spider burners

looks like it folds down to cover them, a griddle perhaps, but I suspect not with that white finish.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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