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The Salmon Kitchen: 1964

Unless you happened to live in one of those fancy kitchen decor ads like you see over on, your 1964 kitchen might be like ours, a mixture of stuff from the 50s (1955 O'Keefe & Merritt gas range), 40s (sink, cabinets & fixtures from a 1946 remodel) and even the 30s (the copper tea kettle). A package of meat is defrosting on the griddle, which was always a little warm from its pilot light. My Kodachrome slide. View full size.

Unless you happened to live in one of those fancy kitchen decor ads like you see over on, your 1964 kitchen might be like ours, a mixture of stuff from the 50s (1955 O'Keefe & Merritt gas range), 40s (sink, cabinets & fixtures from a 1946 remodel) and even the 30s (the copper tea kettle). A package of meat is defrosting on the griddle, which was always a little warm from its pilot light. My Kodachrome slide. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Merritt Memories

Wow, that museum piece O'Keefe & Merritt range fryejo posted nearly brought tears to my eyes - the knobs, exactly the same as ours. Odd that knobs stir such nostalgic emotions. Possibly it's because they were so much closer to eye level when we got it. The power plugs bring back another one: Mother had the electric waffle iron on the griddle; the top slipped out of her hand and fell back; sparks flew; the latch had welded itself to the griddle.

UPDATE to Dave's Update: Ours didn't have a fancy-schmancy nameplate, a Hi-Vue oven viewer or a Grillevator (though it did have a rotisserie that didn't work for long), it might have been something of a rarity; at any rate, of the dozens of vintage O'Keefe & Merritt photos I've found online, the only ones that match its configuration - wrap-around chrome top, space-age square clock, straight chrome door handles and single oven window - are of this one here on Shorpy.

O'Keefe Range

I have to comment about the O'Keefe & Merritt range in the photo. We have one still in use at the local museum here in Bend, Oregon. A friend of mine and I just repaired it and adjusted the gas burners. Still works great. I don't think you can improve some things. What is interesting is the Cadillac emblem on the top of the range!

[As well as that "DeVille" script on the right. Click to embiggen. UPDATE: This is O'Keefe & Merritt's deluxe 40-inch DeVille model, "the Cadillac of ranges." Below, newspaper ad from January 1957. Was tterrace's stove the Starline-Wilshire with Grillevator broiler and Hi-Vue oven? - Dave]


I also have a fondness for that 1950s pink. I recently purchased a 1956 home in Sacramento with the original pink bathroom in absolutely pristine condition. I'm so lucky the place didn't get remodeled with the gawdawful '70s or '80s decor!

Those Cabinets!

Our kitchen cabinets looked like that, down to the same silver handles on the door. Our house was built in 1951, so I guess it wasn't just 40s vintage.

Salmon Kitchen things

Nice observations, Custard Cup poster, thanks. Things to the left of the back burner you were wondering about: the round ones sticking up are lids to cooking pots and pans in a rack mounted on the side of the sink cabinet. On the counter in front of the custard cups, the orange-colored blob is actually a lemon, or half a lemon to be exact. That's what Mother used to remove tarnish from copper items, like the bottoms of her Revereware and that hot water kettle there on the stove. In front of the lemon is the little decorative ceramic dish that's on the wall at the upper right in our living room photos here and here. Must be there to get washed.

Custard Cups

The clear glass dishes on the back right corner of the sink are custard or pudding cups. We had 'em, too. I like vanilla pudding. Dad likes chocolate and butterscotch. My sisters like chocolate. Everyone but me likes tapioca. Not really sure which my mother preferred. Dad might know. Or the elder of my sisters (both younger). She remembers things *everyone* else has forgot.

That looks like a rugged wall-mounted hand cranked Swing-A-Way can opener at the far left. It was the best kind, because it was geared, and didn't depend on just friction to advance the can. I don't remember ever seeing the hand-held model like the Swing-A-Way I have now. There were hand-helds, but they were the friction variety. We moved a lot (Dad was a Methodist minister), and it just occurred to me that he would have had to find either studs or wood paneling to mount it every time we moved.

And we had (perhaps Dad still does) a rolling cart very similar to the one on the right. Ours is white, and has a heavy power cable for the outlet mounted on the cart, so it can be used to move a toaster close to the table.

Aluminum tumblers we only saw in the houses of others. Not sure why we didn't have them. (Ours were fairly heavy-duty clear plastic.) We kids were suitably awed by the jewel tones.

I can't quite make out what those things are between the sink and the back left burner. Anyone?

Good Bye O'Keefe & Merritt

Had to replace my MIL's O'Keefe & Merritt stove/ove about a year ago. Tried to sell it but ended up just having the appliance store remove it when they delivered the new stove. Great old stoves and ovens, but we just couldn't get it repaired to keep the pilot light lit.

Aluminum tumblers

I've commented here about anodized aluminum tumblers before (in fact, Safari filled in the Subject for me after I typed "Alu"). We had the little "socks" too. I'd make a full blender's worth of chocolate shake, fill up a big glass to drink, then pour the rest into an aluminum tumblers and stick it into the freezer. The little sock came in really handy when holding onto that when I took it out later to eat with a spoon. You can find the tumblers on many shopping sites. We got some new ones a couple years ago.

Let's Make a Deal

We don't have O'Keefe and Merritt here on the East Coast. (Oddly enough our gas range growing up was an RCA.) But we're familiar with the O'Keefe name. They sure gave enough of them away on the quiz shows!

I just put a bid on a house...

...and while one bathroom is green, the other is PINK...tile and everything!

The kitchen is white (mercifully!), but I don't know how I'm going to live without a dishwasher. (Instead of "mad4books," I'll just be "mad.")

Oh, and schmthaus, thanks for the pics of your kitchen. It kinda' reminded me of the Shorpy gem found at:

My Mammaw's Kitchen, circa 1962

That's me, hiding...

Uh oh

Groovy kitchens

My kitchen, which was my parents', was remodeled in 1966 when I was 6 years old. The countertops are white with turquoise flecks, which match the turquoise stove top. The wall oven door was also once the same shade, but was replaced by a white door in the 1980s. I may be jaded, but I still think its a very timeless color scheme. Much nicer than avocado or brown.

My Kitchen

Except for the salmon pink color and the vintage appliances, that could pass for my current kitchen.

Welcome home

Nothing evokes the feeling of home like being in the kitchen, which is the real heart of a home, the workshop, Mom's domain and the family's refuge. I LOVE this warm, homey, lived-in kitchen, it feels like I've been there. The object hanging (like a wire) from the salt and pepper rack is, I believe, a cake tester, which was better than a toothpick because it was much longer and could be used for deep cakes, breads, etc. They usually were free from the Fuller Brush man or Jewel Tea or Tupperware, but you could also buy them for pennies. This fabulous photo captures forever a middle class family's central headquarters where it all happened: the loyal fellowship, petty arguments, shared home-cooked meals, loving encouragement, heartbreaking news, revealed disappointments, warm hospitality to visitors, where all emotions from mindless silliness to deep, heavy sadness was witnessed. If only these walls could talk. It is a wonderful photo and really took me back home. Thank you.

Kitchen appurtenances

That is indeed a chrome and pink enamel rolling cart in the lower right, and I'm happy to say it's in my possession now. It held the toaster plus heaps of printed materials: Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney catalogs and magazines on the bottom shelf, more catalogs and magazines and a dictionary (my mother did crosswords) on the middle shelf, more magazines and newspapers on the top with the toaster. The crumpled thing on top of the pile is a homemade toaster cover or "cozy."

The thing hanging from the spice rack with the shakers is a cake tester. For some reason, I always visualize my mother poking it into hot gingerbread. Yum.

The colored anodized aluminum tumblers came with cottage cheese in them, that's how we got ours.

Our refrigerator, bought the same time as the range in 1955, was a Kelvinator, one with a separate dedicated freezer compartment, which quickly converted my mother into a freezeraholic. Shortly thereafter we got a separate upright.

Refrigerator Remembrance

Though I was born in the mid-1980s (way past the time of pink kitchens and more into an ugly brown carpet and dark wood time period), I love the ads of the beautiful bright 50s kitchens and this picture is almost as great!

Tterrace, what kind of refrigerator did you have? My grandparents built their house in the late 1950s and had a GE wall-mounted refrigerator that I thought was the coolest thing when I was little--it, and their kitchen, went the turquoise route. They remodeled in 2006, and that refrigerator was still chugging along (though it leaked a bit). The electrician actually took it back to his shop and reinstalled it as a beer fridge--so its long life continues! I don't suppose they were ever very popular--you pretty much had to be remodeling to have room for one. I found a copy of the ad for one, and framed it for them as sort of a memorial to the greatest fridge ever.


I have a hunch that if your mom knew that someday you were going to show the world her kitchen, she'd have done the dishes. She probably wants to give you a little swat right now, wherever she may be.

Although these are not what my memories are made of, I still enjoy reading about others'.

Tumbler Sweat

The lovely aluminum tumblers! My grandmother had a set and, because they sweated so much when holding iced drinks in summer, knit little socks/mittens to cover the bottom third of them. That meant, of course, that we then had to wash the socks or at least hang them to dry...

Can it be?

Down in the righthand corner, with papers and magazines piled on it- can it be one of those chrome and enamel rolling tea carts? In pink? They were usually red. Or a pink step stool? I'd settle for that. We (or rather our grandmother) had the aluminum tumblers. They made the peculiar water in their town icy cold and drinkable. Froze your hands,too.

The saucepan in the sink- the harbinger of harvest gold Things to Come...

My other grandma's kitchen was a little more pink, from 1957 until they sold the house in the late '60s.

Across the Ocean...

You'll be glad to know that kitchens didn't look much different here in Australia in that time. We had the metal tumblers (in the draining tray), the cabinets and drawers (painted the same too), the tea-towel hanging from the cabinet drawer, the spoon rest... this could have been my childhood kitchen.

Only ours was painted a very fetching two tone of royal purple and lavender. Noice!

Kitchen Items

In the We Had One of Those category, score one for the spoon rest hanging above the spice rack. Ours was identical. My guess for the item hanging from the rack is a match holder to light the pilot light on the stove. And the magenta, gold and silver items on the sink must be aluminum tumblers, a popular item in 50s-60s kitchens. Unbreakable!

Shaker Variations

I can't tell you how strange it is to have perfect strangers commenting on things that were familiar sights in my daily life nearly 50 years ago and whose images remain burned in my memory. Glad someone noticed the shakers; judging from their dents they'd seen meal preparation service since well before I was around. Now, how about that thing hanging from the rack they're on? I know, do you? Also, the magenta, gold and silver things in front of the cake cooling rack on the sink? Things that never fail to get a "Oh, yeah, we had those, too!" reaction from other 50s kids.

The partially-painted drawer sides were intentional, I'm sure. I always thought it was rather clever. My father did the salmon paint job, and merely covered over the existing yellow from the original remodeler's work. All the drawers in the kitchen were like that.

Now yer cookin' with gas

Ah, aluminum salt & pepper shakers - a classic kitchen staple. But what I really like is the partially painted drawer side. A little paint probably got splattered/brushed onto it by accident, so the painter decided to paint a bit more so it would look more "finished" when the drawer was opened. As long as you only open it a couple inches.

Our Stove

This one had four burners and a griddle, with a rotisserie in the oven. Mother loved rotisserie chicken. The motor eventually burned out, and could not be fixed. The chrome on the grill was well worn from years of flipping Sunday morning pancakes.

-tt's big sister

The stove

To die for! Now, for two to three (or more) times the price you get half the stove. The kind of stove shown here was standard through the 40's and 50's (at least) and I miss it. They usually had 6 burners, a built-in griddle, a broiler (door on the left) and an oven. You can have the pink kitchen though. I still have one exactly like it, handles and all, except it's sort of cream color. Yuck.


That is a beautiful stove!

The Kitchen

My dad was a millwright at the local Alcoa plant and his hobby was woodworking and making furniture.

In 1959 he decided that he would buy his first brand new car. Mom put her foot down declaring that her late forties kitchen would be remodeled before a new car ever came into the driveway.

The very next day Dad went to Rogers and Company in downtown Knoxville and brought home a new 1960 Pontiac sedan. He parked it in the driveway and began tearing out the old kitchen.

He told my older brother privately that he just couldn't walk away from the dare. I sold that house after Mom died in 2001. The appliances have all been replaced but the 1959 cabinetry is still intact.

Oh How I Wish That Was Mine!

Be still my heart - I have a warm fuzzy place for pink kitchens and bathrooms.

When my folks purchased their first home after a long while of rentals, the 4 bedroom Orange County (california) sprawling ranch-style had an exquisite pink wall mounted electric oven, pink electric counter top burners, and "boomerang print" pink and silver formica counter with glitter flecks. The best part - the pink sink. Oh how I cried when they remodeled in the mid-70's to a harvest gold monstrosity.

Even then at 14 I knew I was born at the wrong time. Thanks tterrace for another beautiful memory!!

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