Over the last century, appliance innovation has seen many an idea come and many go still. In our last post, we took a look at some interesting new features of modern appliances, and today we'll take a look at some retro designs that didn't quite pass the test of time - even if they still seem rather ingenious.
1. Pull 'N Clean Out Oven
Bid adieu to aching back and knees! Why don't they make them like this anymore? Despite their seemingly ingenious design, Frigidaire only manufactured them for less than a decade (c. 1958 - 1965), and they were the only company who braved the task. Perhaps there were too many functionality issues with the design, or maybe they were too expensive for the average consumer. Who thinks it time they pull out the drawing boards and give it another shot?
2. Roto-Tray Dishwasher
This practical dishwasher let you load your dishes on a lazy-Susan-like rack for easy access. That's a fresh spin on design!
American Kitchens was a brand of steel kitchen cabinets made by AVCO Manufacturing Corp., who were very popular after the war. As wood cabinets fought to replace steel, the company decided to embrace the change and launched their new series in 1953 called the "Pioneer Kitchen" which featured coppertone and wood cabinetry paired with accessories such as our lovely dishwasher pictured below.
It's possible that they stopped manufacturing the dishwasher simply because their Pioneer series died out. However, they were not the only manufacturer to succeed with this design - Sears had similar models during their lovable Lady Kenmore series. Still, the design's popularity seems to have lasted as far as into the early sixties. (Ad from 1953).
3. Top-Loading Dishwasher with Removable Rack
While we're on the subject of dishwashers, let's talk about the first automatic one with a design that's sure to impress. At first, you might mistake it for a clothes washer, and the concept is the same: you load from the top. With a removable upper rack, you can load your dishes in the sink, plop it on in, and lift back out when clean and ready to unload. It may seem like a workout, but not when we consider that the most popular material for dishes at that time was plastic! However, not everyone used plastic, and that may give reason to the new style we see today. Plus, the design wouldn't easily lend itself to easy access for kids. (Circa 1950).
4. Wall Refrigerator - "Hangs On The Wall Like A Picture!"
"That's A Fridge?!" That's right... Just like the ad says, this cabinet refrigerator was useful for keeping food where you could see it. It fit the trend manufacturers were pushing during this time known as "built-in" style: Innocuous, practical, and customizable.
There are still many built-in appliances on the market today, but unfortunately these units went out of style, likely because stored items were hard for kids (and some adults!) to reach. (Era 1955)
5. Lady Kenmore Series
If you ever wanted your washer and dryer set to look as much like a birthday cake as possible, the Lady Kenmore series era was for you (circa 1950). From an array of bright and luxurious colors, these were a a huge hit as they incorporated practicality and femininity all into one beautifully elegant steel beast. The series also included some kitchen appliances such as the rotary dishwasher as mentioned above, and some accessories like blenders, which are still available for auction on some sites.
Sears stopped manufacturing these somewhere between 1984-1990 as they switched over to the "Kenmore Elite Series." Many of these machines can still be found by the keen-eyed observer, and very possibly refurbished - so if you ever come across one, you know who to call.