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Jan 2, 2007 08:08 PM

vintage stoves?

Does anyone here have a vintage stove?
I'm thinking about saving up to buy a restored one from the 1920's or 30's that is raised off the floor on bowed legs. I think they are gorgeous and I love the thought of not having an area under the oven that is difficult to clean.
My main reservation is that the ovens look pretty small on these things.

So please, share your stories about antique and vintage stoves and ovens. I'd also appreciate any advice on acquiring one in the NYC area for a good price. TIA.

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  1. I have a 40's Chambers stove. I've cooked on it for 30 years. I LOVE the way it looks, BUT, if you cook or bake a lot, you will probably be disappointed in an old stove's capabilities. I ALWAYS wish the oven was bigger, especially for parties and holidays. The amount of heat the burners give off is not equal to that of a more efficient stove of today AND it is not easy to clean. A real drag actually. I built my kitchen around my stove so it stays put( it is cast metal and weighs a ton) but sometimes, I long for a brand new efficient stove. I drive old cars,listen to old music, live in an old house and wear old clothes, my stove fits my aesthetic but not my cooking needs.

    Also, if something breaks, it is expensive and can be hard to find replacement parts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: missclaudy

      Each burner on a Chambers stove has an adjustment for a larger or smaller flame, whichever you prefer. Or it could be that the tubes to the burners need cleaning. Many people say that it boils water really quickly.

    2. There was one in my house when I bought it. I second what Missclaudy said. Both the oven and top burners were hard to clean and the oven was inefficient. Also keep in mind that the stove top height probably will not match that of standard cabinets and they are much wider than modern stoves, so you will be taking up potential countertop space. Finally, the very old models have an exhaust stack for the oven. I don't know if you can simply seal it off, or would need run a vent through the wall or ceiling.

      Needless to say, I don't have that old stove any more.

      1. I have a 1930s Magic Chef (like the one in the upper left picture here: ). Yeah, it has idiosyncracies, but I love it anyway! Mine has two ovens: one on the side and one under the burners. The side oven is big enough for a 9x13 pan and tall enough for a roast chicken, and the bottom oven is as big or bigger than a standard oven (I don't use it very often, though).

        Unless you're a very serious cook, I don't think you'll be sorry if you buy one of these -- I enjoy cooking on mine, and I get nothing but compliments on how stunning it is.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Magic Chef here, on one of their earliest models from the 19teens
          I've found it to be very reliable -- the gas technology is just too simple not to be.
          The temperature regulation for the oven is non-existant, but I've found that easy to adapt to -- rather like cooking with wood. If you do alot of baking, my oven would not be for you. For what I do, it's fun to manage the challenge.

          The oven is not huge, but again I have not found that to be a problem. I've cooked large turkeys in it. The cooktop gets as hot as a modern gas cooktop -- not a mega-restaurant stove, but fine for most things. I do find it cramped when I want to have lots of large pots going at once - basically I can only have two.
          But's that's my "bachelor" sized model.

          The thing is so charming to look at, I don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I might get a stand-alone countertop oven.

          They come up on craigslist, or occcasionaly since people rip old stoves out in demolition.

        2. I know there is a company which refurbishes the old ranges and brings them up to todays standards. Someone published on CH about it about a year ago when someone was asking about Rachel Ray's Chambers. The refurbished ranges are pretty pricy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Candy

            There are quite a few companies that do that around the country. You want to find a local one, because shipping one of these babies costs a fortune, and you want to be able to have them serviced.

          2. I have an O'Keefe & Merritt that came with the house. I think it must be from the twenties. The oven is nice and big. Besides the oven and four burners, it has a wood burning stove with two other burners. However, I don't use them. If you do buy one, I've heard that having a clock makes them more valuable. The clock on mine is missing. I still love it, though. It gives the kitchen retro look and it works very well.