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November 30, 2010

Fixing Up Vintage Appliances – Aikens Furniture in L.A.

By RetroRuth

I got a great article emailed to me from Tom’s Aunt Pat the other day.  Aunt Pat lives in California, and occasionally sends me links or photos that have to do with mid-century, even though I think my obsession with mid-century is a bit ridiculous to her.  🙂 

But I received this very cool article on a place called Aikens Furniture that restores and sells restored vintage appliances.  Pretty sweet!

Gorgeous, aren’t they???

New (to me) and interesting fact from the article:

History, it seems, is in the details, and some, like the pale pink stove at the front of the store, can’t be repeated. Stove finishes are created by a process called porcelain enameling. Color-producing minerals are smelted and ground into what looks like powdered sugar, then applied to the metal part and fired at a high temperature.

Finding the right proportion of minerals to match a particular color can be time-consuming. To get the violet his sister wants, Aikens has to send her stove parts to Tennessee.His local porcelain enameler doesn’t do purples. In recent years, environmental concerns about cadmium, the mineral source of reds and yellows, and about red oxide, have led the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict their use. That has turned red and pink stoves like Aikens’ into rarities.

Wow!  I hope no one in LA needs their pink stove enamelled anytime soon….

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6 Responses to Fixing Up Vintage Appliances – Aikens Furniture in L.A.

  1. Toni Reply

    November 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Years ago, I rented a room in an old convent. It was a circa 1925 mansion that had a wing added on in the 1950’s to house a chapel, confessional and tiny rooms for the sisters. Anyway, there were also 2 kitchens and you had to use the kitchen to which you were assigned. Mine had this fabulous 1955 stove. 4 burners, grill I’m the middle. Folding shelf above and four ovens. It was Huge and worked great. I loved that stove.

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    November 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Fascinating! I’m glad that he’s out there doing what he’s doing!

  3. RetroRuth Reply

    November 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Toni – Sounds awesome! Was the rest of the kitchen vintage too, or just the stove? I have actually read/heard from multiple people saying that the old stoves are the best.

    Eartha – I know, right? I would love to live near that store. I would be in there every week checking out what he was working on!

  4. Sara in AZ Reply

    November 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Wait, what???? We can’t color stoves pink anymore? 🙁

    • RetroRuth Reply

      November 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

      I think that is just in Cali. It said in the article he could still get red-based colors in Tennessee….

      And as Tom says, “Tennessee-in’ is Tenne-believin’ “

  5. DrJulieAnn Reply

    November 30, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for the link! Somehow I missed it when it was in the paper.

    I LOVED the O’Keefe & Merrit cooktop and wall oven in our northern Los Angeles suburban house when I was growing up. It ruined me for anything else.

    Ironically, I was having trouble with my 6-month old Whirlpool range today. I couldn’t get the temperature panel to go above 275º! Eventually I figured out that if the “broil” button is held for too long, it changes from Fahrenheit to Celsius (and back again, if it is pushed again). I cursed at it and longed for having a range with dials. My landlord bought the stove for us, so I didn’t have much say in the style.

    By the way, I’ve had Savon Appliances bookmarked forever planning on buying from them when we eventually get our own place. http://savonappliance.com/savon.html They are in “The Valley” and closer than Aikens, but I am delighted that I have two vintage stove restorers available to me now! (I think I’m rambling, so I’ll just be quiet now and listen to everyone else’s comments 🙂 )

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