Yes, these are for real! Admittedly, when we first toured our house – we thought the range was cool but couldn’t imagine actually using it. Renovation ideas danced in our heads. But it slowly became one of the first things guests asked about when they visited and we realized how genius these fold-down ranges actually are. They heat up super quickly and are sleek, space-saving & mess-hiding (in a pinch). I’m not promising that we will never renovate, but since they are in working condition we plan to keep them around for a while!
A bit of history – these ranges were featured and won a design award in the World Fair between 1955-57. Originally called Fold Down Electric Surface Units, each unit came with one 6″ burner and one 8″ burner. They were marketed for island and galley kitchens due to their space-saving design and were sold for $192 per unit until the early 1960’s. These fold-down burners were quite the novelty item. They were sold in closeout liquidation sales in 1963, so despite their unique design they obviously did not stand the test of time. The fold-down range’s counterpart, the built-in wall oven (often marketed and sold as a package deal) has stood the test of time and is very popular in today’s kitchens.
I am no expert, but ours is in quite good condition for being over 55 years old and being used almost daily. Most of the chrome and stainless steel surfaces still shine like new! The black collects dust so it gets wiped down frequently. The knobs are intact, original and in working condition. The stainless steel has obviously been scrubbed more than once. The wording is intact, though the gold and black paint is starting to wear off (you can see this in the third & fourth photo). On the inside there is some burnt on plastic that I have not tried to remove yet. Now that we have decided a kitchen renovation is several years away, I will be giving this unit a good detailing. I usually just use a wet dish cloth to do a quick clean every day but I should probably start using some stainless steel cleaner and a soft cloth to give it the TLC it deserves!
Did you grow up with a fold-down electric range? Do you still have one in your home? I would love to see pictures and hear about your little piece of history! Send me a tweet @lifeofbaier, tag me on Instagram or use #lifeofbtimewarp
Have a blessed day!