Finding intact 1950's kitchens gets more difficult with every passing year, for good reasons - styles have changed, storage needs have evolved, and then there are some safety questions about those old pink appliances. But if you have a 50's house, and a hankering for some style inspiration to keep it close to original these are some great inspirational publications for your viewing pleasure. We appreciate the purists who want to preserve instead of gut and landfill their original kitchens. We share your passion for vintage style! 

We often see the old stamped steel kitchen cabinets made by Youngstown and other manufacturers in the 1950's. More often than not they are in bad shape, victims of leaky faucets or storage in damp basements or garages. Every once in a while we are lucky enough to salvage a good condition original set of these beauties though, and we can see the appeal. 

If you have these stamped steel kitchen cabinets and need some pointers to help restore or maintain them, here are our tips. The first thing to remember is, these are  stamped metal, just like an old car. If you have some dents and dings in them, try talking to an auto body shop in your area to see if they can help fix those. Same goes for repainting them. Your auto body shop is your best bet for a premium paint job that will withstand the wear and tear of a busy kitchen. Most of these old kitchen cabinets were sold in plain old white. But the manufacturers were pushing color options for these that matched the trending automotive colors of the 1950's: baby blue, pink, yellow, green, red. Here's a few great examples:


As for hardware, the biggest issue we encounter at Historic Houseparts is people trying to "upgrade" their cabinet knobs and pulls. The truth is this: these cabinets have a sleek, metal look, and the best thing you can do is leave the original hardware on there instead of putting something new on them which will not match. Plus, you are looking at a weird hole spacing dimension on most of these old cabinets - 2-1/2" and 2-3/4" are typical dimensions. This is not a standard size, but there are new pulls we would be happy to sell you. But they will not look good with these old metal cabinets, trust us on this one. The old pulls you have on there are better suited to them. If your pulls don't look great due to rusting or peeling chrome plate, instead of spending money on new pulls, spend the money on sending your original pulls to a chrome plater in your area. Need a recommendation? Call us and we'll tell you who we use for this service. You will not believe how good the original pulls will look when they come back! And the price is comparable to buying a new high end pull. 

Preserving these old kitchens can be a money saver if you're on a budget. Spending your money on restoring these correctly, preserving the old hardware instead of replacing, and finding your decor and accessories at flea markets and thrift stores can be fun and cost effective too. 

Some of the manufacturers who were making these metal kitchens are listed below, with links to their catalogs:

Youngstown Cabinets (A division of American Standard)Salem, Ohio1953 Catalog
Geneva Modern KitchensGeneva, Illinois1958 Catalog
St. Charles Kitchen CabinetsSt. Charles, Illinois






Posted on Categories : Antique Kitchen Hardware