Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vintage Kitchen Stoves

Here are some postcards advertising kitchen ranges from early- to mid-twentieth century. The card above advertising the Quick Meal Range is circa 1909-10. This range was apparently made of iron with ornate embellishments.That looks like a coal bucket next to it. Both wood and coal were used for cooking at that time.

The next two postcards advertising "modern" Monarch ranges are probably from the early 1930s. No mention is made of the type of fuel used by these stoves. The first model looks like a modernized version of an old wood or coal burning stove. It was a "balanced design" incorporating "adequate equipment for heating and cooking."  and was available in either Ivory-Tan or Nile-Green porcelain enamel finish. The second model looks closer to the more modern ranges of the last 75 years. It had a practical "4-in-line" top, a large bake oven, a warming compartment, a light, and a timer clock. It was available in Ivory-Tan, Nile-Green, or White.

There were big changes in cooking stoves in the thirty years between 1910 and 1940, but not many obvious changes from 1940 until now.

Early electric stoves were unsatisfactory for several reasons. "By the 1930s, decreased cost of electric power and modernized styling of electric stoves had greatly increased their acceptance. Electric stoves and other household appliances were marketed by electrical utilities to build demand for electric power." (source: Wikipedia)

The 1940s Frigidaire models illustrated on the next two postcards don't look very different from today's stoves. The 1940 Frigidaire Special Model B-15 on the first Frigidaire card has features comparable to more expensive models — 5-Speed Surface Cooking, Twin Unit Oven, Thermizer well cooker, High-Speed Broiler,  and Cooking Top Lamp.

The 1953 Crosley electric range also still looks fairly modern. Crosley also manufactured automobiles, and the back panel reminds me of an auto dashboard. This range has two "Bake-Best" ovens, and "Automatic Mastermind," and Pushbutton controls for seven surface heat speeds.

Appliance company ads seem to emphasize electric ranges and appliances. When a gas range is shown, the ad is often promoting the use of gas rather than a specific brand of appliance. The ad below promoting modern gas ranges is from the December 1939 issue of The American Home magazine.(This image can be enlarge to an easy reading size)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Family Group

There is nothing written on the back of this postcard photo to identify the people or the location. The group of people seems to represent two families, possibly related.

The three boys seem too close in age to all be brothers. My guess is that the one in the center is part of a different family than the other two. He is intermediate in size and is wearing a different type of shirt. The other two boys have fancier shirts with big round Peter Pan collars, and I think they probably belong to the more formally dressed adults who are wearing white shirts.

The people appear to be dressed in their Sunday best. I imagine that this somewhat rundown house is in a rural area, and that the family has gotten together for Sunday dinner. I can see a table with a checked covering through the window on the left. A white cloth and a chair are visible through the window on the right.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Portrait of a Little Boy

This real photo postcard of a happy little boy was mailed in 1910. I like the image, but I don't know who he is or were he lived. Possibly he is from Rowan, Iowa and is a relative of the addressee, Mrs. M. W. Shaner of Laurens, Iowa. I couldn't find a 1910 census record for her, but there is a 1930 census record of a Mollie Shaner (born about 1870), spouse of M. W. Shaner.

The back of the  postcard has a message that is somewhat puzzling. The underlined word must be important, but I am not sure what it is. It looks like cong to me. Apparently the boy is Irish., There is a village named Cong in Ireland. The only other meaning I could think of is an abbreviation for congressman. However, I couldn't find anything to support that interpretation.

Any thoughts about the underlined word?

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Oranges and Grapefruit from Florida

Here are two mid-1930s postcards advertising fancy fruit gift packages from Indian Rocks Fruits, Inc. and Rancho Margarita. Florida is a big citrus producing state, and the mid-1930s was a time when auto travel to Florida was increasing. Roadside shops sprang up along the highway where tourists could stop and buy fruit to eat and ship. 

The prices seem absurdly low now, especially considering that they included shipping. The largest size in a wooden crate was 90 pounds and cost only $7.50 from Rancho Margarita.

The Orange Blossom Groves postcard below is a circa 1950 example of one of the shops. The first Orange Blossom Groves location was opened in 1946, and the one in Clearwater was opened three years later. This is now closed, as are most of the old Florida tourist-oriented roadside citrus attractions.

The Orange Shop shown in the video below opened in 1936 and is still in business. Their current "free shipping specials" of approximately 27 pounds. cost over $70.

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