Channeling My Inner-1950’s Housewife, Who, By The Way, Is Awesome

I needed to replace the gorgeous vintage Wedgewood stove in my old house (which I moved to the house that I share with Mr. Foxypants) with a “new” stove for my renters. I am a big fan of  Okeefe & Merritt and Wedgewood stoves from the 1940’s and 1950’s. In addition to cooking like champs, owning a vintage stove is like having a classic car in your kitchen. They are just so cute. So, instead of buying a new stove, I went shopping for a vintage range on Craigslist. I found a O&M cutie for just $100! Vintage stoves in LA sell for $1200-$12,000 depending on the model and condition, so this one was a total steal. The reason why it was a steal? Well, that would be because it was in pieces. I spent half of yesterday assembling the parts into what resembled the other vintage stoves I have owned. Then I called the gas company for a free appliance check, so I could be sure there weren’t any gas leaks I wasn’t smelling. 

The gas guy came out and told me I needed a “real” stove mechanic to fix the stove, as the safety valve to my oven didn’t work and two of the burners refused to light and needed to be replaced. “You know, you could buy a new stove for $300,” he told me sarcastically on his way out the door.

Today I stopped by Sav-On Appliance in Burbank. (I must give Marsha and Emmett, the owners, a huge plug. Due to their proximity to Hollywood, Sav-on supplies most of the vintage appliances you see on tv shows and movies. They have beautiful vintage stuff along with a bunch of other crate damaged but totally working new appliances. They are also amazing at what they do). I asked Marsha if she had a oven safety valve for my model stove lying around and if she could do a house call. Instead of charging me $300 for what she thought was simple work, Marsha proceeded to give me a 20 minute clinic on what could be wrong with my current stove that I could repair. For example, she told me that cobwebs could be blocking the gas line and that I could clear that up with a bent paperclip.

Armed with steel wool, a darning needle, and new information, I returned to my rental property. An hour later the stove is super clean and works perfectly! I didn’t even have to call Marsha and have her walk me through how to disable the heater (yes, the range has a HOUSE HEATER in addition to a broiler, oven, griddle and four burners) so my renters wouldn’t scorch themselves accidentally.

Vintage stove completely assembled with a flat head screwdriver and a darning needle! 

So, in addition to saving $1100 on the purchase of a vintage stove through savvy Craigslist shopping, and saving $300 on repairs by fixing the thing myself, I now have stove repair bragging rights. Which are priceless.

There are several morals of the story:

  1. Vintage stoves are the greatest. When’s the last time you heard about someone fixing their microwave oven with a darning needle?
  2. If something was created for a 1950’s housewife to use, it probably means it was designed for her to fix. This means you can fix it too.
  3. Just because some guy looks at your cute, but totally impractical shoes and deems you not handy…well, that just means he’s a terrible dresser.


  1. Luvkuku
    Posted April 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah for you. I have a ’30s Champion 36″ stove and totally love it. The cast iron oven makes perfect bread with the use of a small clip-on oven thermometer, and the well for making soups is just wonderful. No scorching ever, and it keeps the heat down there instead of dispersing it throughout the kitchen. Ditto wonderful huge griddle. Can you tell I’m in love? I actually abandoned a convection/ceramic top electric stove for this one when we bought this house.

  2. thenonconsumeradvocate
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I have O’Keefe and Merritt envy!

    When my stove gives out, I will replace with with nothing less.

    You need to post a photo! I want a photo, I neeeed a photo.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley

    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>