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Jewel in the Kitchen: 1942

Jewel in the Kitchen: 1942

Winter 1942. Washington, D.C. "Jewel Mazique, worker at the Library of Congress, getting a late snack." Hey, we'll have some of that. Large format nitrate negative by John Collier for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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The handles are red Bakelite.

On the very similar gas range that's sitting in my garage. It's not quite as deluxe as this model, it doesn't have the timer or the fancy Tappan logo, just a small, nondescript nameplate. But the stainless steel burners with built-in covers, efficient drip pans, and excellently engineered operating valves caught my eye and I just had to save it. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I had been trying to date it, and this photo helps a lot.

About that protective pad... if you look closely you might be able to see that the stove surface underneath is not white enamel. Anticipating that the surface would become scratched and worn, Tappan used a different finish in that area, gray with "swirls", that would not show scratches like white would. It almost corresponds exactly to the protective pad in the photo.

Still in use

That sandwich grill looks exactly like the one my mother still uses today to make grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches for her lunch pretty much every day during the summer. It even has the same cloth insulated cord. Really nothing else works as well.

That pad!

When we got a new electric stove in 1959, we had to get a "pad", an asbestos mat with a metallic top, because the bare painted tops of modern ranges would be damaged by placing hot pots on them that were fresh off the burners. Older stoves had iron tops that could stand the heat in the kitchen.

Clever Photographer

He turned the handle of the Coffee Pot towards the camera so you wouldn't see his reflection, well maybe just a little bit of him.

Home on the (Art Moderne) Range

The stove's Tappan logo and matching timer-knob escutcheon are just too cool for words.

Forget the snack

I sleep terribly when I eat at night anyway. I want a bathrobe like that!

Not Just a Pretty Face

Jewell Mazique was a prominent mid-century labor and civil rights activist in Washington. She died in 2007.

Snack with a cocktail ?

Closer examination of this picture revived a very dim memory from early childhood. The plates and cocktail shaker are resting on metal sheet that has a pad built into it on the bottom to protect the surface underneath.

Must have been the fashion back then as we had one on our stove. Think we used it to make extra surface area as we put it over two of the burners on the stove. In this case it would keep the temperature down of items that might be above a heated oven by providing insulation.

No Joke (Cliff, Theo, Rudy, et. al.)

As it turns out, the 1940 census shows Jewel as the 24 year-old head of the household at "1861 California," a dwelling that includes her husband, two sisters, and ten (!) additional lodgers. A nice Adams Morgan address even today.

Nice kitchen

It must have been state of the art at the time the photograph was made. I wish I could still buy linoleum like that for my 1936 kitchen. My sink is a copy of the one in the pic, with a slightly different plumbing fitting. We used to have a waffle iron with plates that could be flipped over to provide a grilling surface similar to the grill shown.


She certainly looks a lot like Phylicia Rashād.

My Mom used to make us kids grilled sandwiches on a waffle iron just like that one. ( I know it's not set up to make waffles, but that's what we called it ).


I hope there's more food in the oven, because that's not enough food for Cliff, Theo, Rudy, Vanessa, Sondra and Denise. Heck maybe even Elvin.

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