29 January 2010

Those Were the Days

In 1949, it seems that developing an optimal floor plan for the kitchen was still in its early stages; only later would people realize that putting the range in the middle of the room was not exactly the best way to go. But that is an insignificant quibble when compared to the many reasons for delight this ad presents. The fashionable ladies—young and matronly alike—are all so politely impressed by the appliance's 'Talking Colors': push-buttons whose hues indicated the temperature of the electric coils. And in an era when gloves were de rigueur, such 'finger-tip controls' were bound to receive a warm welcome.

One feature puzzles me—the 'Raisable 4th Surface Unit', which sounds like a military brigade of sorts. I call upon KBCULTURE readers for enlightenment.


  1. I was a small boy when this range was new. We never owned Hotpoint products, but I do remember having or at least someone having a range where the broiler pan slid back under the flames or element and was raised by a lever to broiling height. You could select from two or three different heights, one smellier and messier than the next. Maybe they still make those, I haven't broiled anything for the last forty years. Briquettes and portable barbecues put an end to that. However, it would make sense that the Raisable 4th Surface would be an adjustable broiling pan or shelf. That's my guess. And you're right, those were the days.

  2. Over the weekend I came across a 2-pg GE ad in the 23 Jaunuary 1953 issue of LIFE. While I was most smitten with the "heated salt conditioner" found in the Liberator range, there was also this [from the Speedster model]: "Deep-Well Cooker with fourth raisable surface unit." Sounds like one of the hobs was recessed to deep-fry [or pop corn], but could be 'raised' to be level with the rest of the cooking surface.
    I'll head to YouTube and see if there's a demo film there.
    But to think I've been using cold, unconditioned salt all these years...
    Thank you for reading & writing, evanjones.

  3. Good work. I found the ad here on pages 26 & 27 of the 5 January 1953 issue. In a December ad of the same year the heated Salt Conditioner became a heated "salt conditioner". So they may have been slowly retracting the idea, whatever idea that was. It seems you solved one baffling puzzle only to provide us with another.

  4. Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.

  5. Thank you, how to ollie. I hope you enjoy the site.


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