Mid-century modern design continues to be a popular style for homes, and many collectors like to capture that look in their kitchens.
We recently appraised a home that had a kitchen filled with 1920 to 1960 vintage electric appliances that still worked. There were toasters, blenders, mixers, juicers and other items not commonly seen in today’s kitchens.
A 1950s vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster Model 12, with its classic milky glass bowl sitting on a black base, may be used to add a certain look to a kitchen. It can also still work – and work well. This was the first 12-speed mixer on the market adjusted by turning the large black knob on the back of the machine.
The mixer also has a setting to adjust the spinning bowl platform from large bowls to small bowls. The beaters can be disconnected and removed by swinging the handle off to the motor’s side, which can be used as a portable hand mixer. A well-maintained, used Sunbeam Mixer usually sells for $30 and can even be found at your local thrift store for less.
The General Electric toaster, which was prevalent throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, was constructed of a single chrome case with no seams and stood on a base of ribbed Bakelite in marbled brown. Its popularity has resurged and sells from $15 to $30 depending on condition. The Toastmaster and Sunbeam toasters are equally popular.
The Osterizer blender with the classic beehive chrome base (Model 10), mass-marketed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, has maintained the best value. It weighs at least 10 pounds. The black hard rubber top looks strong enough to be a hockey puck, and the glass is so thick that if you dropped it, it probably wouldn’t break. The blender typically sells for around $75.
These mid-century appliances were made when Americans built for Americans in America, and when our technology, practicality and labor force were the world’s envy.
These early appliances were better-made, lasted “forever” and were only forced off the countertop and relegated to the garage because of color changes, new design styles and upgraded technology that enticed consumers to get something newer and seemingly better.
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