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May 7, 2011

The Step-Saving Kitchen: A Vintage Video

I totally adore this video. It is produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Motion Picture Service, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics to show farm wives how to modernize their kitchens.

If you want to know how to lay out a completely efficient, self-sufficient kitchen, this will show you how. Things I particularly love are:

-The smaller, top shelves in the enormous lazy-suzan cabinets.

-The radio in the “Planning Center”

-The flour and sugar drawers. Especially the flour drawer, which is fed by a much larger flour storage bin.

-The seated work area.

-The vegetable prep area, with the in-counter garbage hatch.

-The “Functional House Dress”!!

Does anyone know what she is doing when she is at the seated work area?? It almost looks like she is portioning out coffee or something.


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14 Responses to The Step-Saving Kitchen: A Vintage Video

  1. sablemable Reply

    May 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Great video! LOL, I was laughing at the same thing: functional work dresses!

    In my ’55 kitchen, I have a lazy susan base cabinet and a towel drying rack cabinet next to the sink, plus on the other side of the sink is a base cabinet with a slide-out rack with hooks for pots and pans.

  2. To answer your question about what she is doing when seated, she is putting stuff in freezer boxes and ironing the plastic to seal it (kind of like an early version of “seal-a-meal”).

  3. Sara in AZ Reply

    May 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    This video is the best Ruth, thanks for posting it!

    I love that towel drying rack, and I can’t believe Sable has one! Go Sable!!!

  4. Goober Reply

    May 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I love this video and watch it over and over. I found the actual plans for this kitchen a year or so ago in some old government archive that had scanned it in and I downloaded it to save for my dream kitchen — someday.

  5. Oh, Goober! I’m so jealous! Over breakfast this morning I was wondering aloud to my husband about those plans. Do you remember where you found them by any chance?

  6. Goober Reply

    May 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Dr. Julie-Ann, I’m afraid I don’t but I do remember it involved a Google search involving the information on the video. It wasn’t too hard to find as I recall.

  7. Goober Reply

    May 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Here are some links to the Step-Saving kitchen:

    This link goes to a brochure about the features of this kitchen and includes the floor plan and explanations of how the bins work, including diagrams:


    Here’s a link to a blog post with pictures of an actual farmhouse kitchen that incorporated these features. Amazing!



  8. RetroRuth Reply

    May 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Sable – You lucky!

    Dr. JulieAnn – Thanks! I kinda figured that is what she was doing, but I couldn’t figure out how the box aspect fit into it. Freezer boxes, of course!

    Sara – Glad you like it!

    Goober – Thanks for posting all those links! It really is an awesome kitchen. I watch this over and over as well, so I know where you are coming from. 🙂

  9. Goober! You’re the best! Thanks!

  10. effika Reply

    May 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    The recipe holder on the cabinet door!

    I have seen a few of those in older houses, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why somebody would make such a non-functional spice rack. The best I could figure was that measuring spoons hung on the rail, and jars of spices in the rack.

    Now I know better. 🙂

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  12. Marie Reply

    May 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I watched this as a lark thinking it would be good for a laugh but now I. want. that. kitchen. It’s so efficient! I love the rack for the cookbook! And the hooks for the spoons! It’s so much better than my drawer o’ baking chaos.

  13. Katie Reply

    May 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Oh heavens, that was a lovely video! Thank you for sharing.

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