This Gave Me Goosebumps! 1956 Time Capsule GE Kitchen

A while back I posted about an apartment in Paris that had not been lived in for 70 years, all of its contents left completely undisturbed. It was literally a time capsule dating back to just before the second World War.

Paris Apartment 1

 

Another time capsule has come to light, this one dating back to either 1956 or 1962, depending on which source you read. Apparently, after the home was built, the owner never moved in. I couldn’t find the reason why, hope it was nothing tragic. The Chicago home stood empty until around four years ago when it was purchased by Nathan Chandler, a talented furniture maker.

Home Never Lived In

 

Nathan appreciated the workmanship that had gone into the kitchen, but he had his own plans in mind for that room. Of course, not wanting to just rip out this pristine, museum quality kitchen, he took photos and posted them in hopes of finding a buyer for the kitchen. From what I read, he got several offers and the kitchen did go to a good home. I wonder who purchased it? When I first saw the pictures, I thought that GE would have been crazy not to purchase the kitchen. Who knows, maybe they did.

As you can see, the color pink was “the stuff” back then! The kitchen had pink countertops, pink appliances and a pink porcelain sink.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 06

 

I wonder if that’s a paper towel dispenser in the corner, not sure they even had paper towels available on rolls back in 1956. Maybe it’s a dispenser for wax paper or aluminum foil. Check out the pink counters and the pink clock. Obviously, whoever this home was built for, loved the color pink. The pink is really pretty with the yellow tile.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 02

 

I remember kitchens with cute shelves like this. Hey, open shelving isn’t so new after all! 😉

1956 Kitchen With Pink Porcelain Sink and Pink Countertops

 

Fancy knobs!

1950's Cabinet Knobs

 

Guess what’s hiding behind those three doors?

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 13

 

The refrigerator! I think that’s the freezer on the right.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 03

 

You would need to be pretty tall to reach the top shelf. Isn’t this amazing?! I’m all for hidden appliances but I had no idea they were doing hidden appliances back in the 50’s!

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 05

 

All the appliances still had their documentation, the little booklet that normally came with your fancy new appliance.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 12

 

A pink oven…almost feels like it should be a play oven, doesn’t it?

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 07

 

It also still had its booklet. Notice the book calls it an “Automatic Electric Range.” Love that!

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 11

 

All the appliances in the kitchen were by General Electric.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 14

 

This push button operation for each of the burners/coils was state-of-the-art back when this was installed.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 15

 

Kind of reminds me of a jukebox. I think I remember seeing buttons like this inside old cars, too…maybe to operate the radio. Push button equaled luxury back then, I suppose. There was no such thing as a touch screen.

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 01

 

And this my friends, is the dishwasher!

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 08

 

I did a bit of research and found that the first dishwashers for “domestic” use were invented in the 1920’s, per Wikipedia, but they were not in widespread use until the 1950’s and that was in the most expensive homes. They didn’t become commonplace for all homes until the 1970’s. So, this kitchen was a super high-end kitchen back in the day!

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 09

 

The little starter kit is still inside. It kind of gives me the chills seeing this. Does it do that to you, too?

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 10

 

Thanks so much to Rita from Panoply for telling me about this wonderful time capsule! You’ll find additional pictures of this amazing kitchen at Nathan Chandler’s Flickr site here: Nathan Chandler Furniture

Never Used 1956 Kitchen With GE Appliances 06

 

Tour another goose-bump-worthy time capsule in this previous post: Paris Apartment: Another World Frozen In Time

Paris Apartment 4




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Comments

  1. Susan,

    This reminds me of the movie “Blast From the Past” with Brendan Fraser and Sissy Spacek. I love the part of the movie when she says, “There used to be a thing called a liquor store…Write that Down!!” That movie cracks me up! Thanks for the post, it was fun. I love the old sink with the built in drain rack.

    Take care

  2. Oh I love this. Such sweet memories. I bought my first house in 1957 and it had the exact same pink cooktop and wall ovens. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

  3. How cool is that! What an amazing kitchen. My great aunt, Violetta would have approved. She had a pink kitchen, well really a pink house! Her kitchen cabinets were painted pink, sink, stove and counter tops were all pink. Her bathrooms had pink tubs, toilets, and sinks.

    Thanks for such a fun post!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Although I could probably live in this kitchen…I love anything vintage and pink, so this is right up my alley, more perplexing to me is why someone would build this house, put all that love and attention to detail, and not move in. I realize tragic things happen…maybe it was going to be home after a wedding that never took place, or perhaps an untimely death, but wouldn’t someone have done something in all that time — property taxes have to be paid! Thanks for sharing this time capsule kitchen, it is truly lovely, but my inquiry mind is now haunted by the why and what…

  5. Oh does this bring back memories! I was born in the fifty’s…and remember as a very little girl my mom’s kitchen was all pink! But we had a full size fridge! Didn’t these folks plan on eating? such a small area for a fridge……thanks for bringing me back, all I need now is my easy bake oven!

    Lois

  6. Susan, This was a fantastic post. Enjoyed this adventure. What is the stainless steel thing in the kitchen? Looks like a modern dishwasher as well.
    Think this kitchen is as sweet as any I have seen. Thanks for sharing this with us. Enjoyed.
    Spring Blessings to you,
    d

    • I was wondering what the stainless door was, too? It does look like a modern day dishwasher. Maybe that was put in by Nathan after he moved in, although the kitchen was never used from everything I read, at least up until 2010 when he purchased it. I also wondered what the little door is over in the breakfast area. What do you think that is? It looks like it pulls downward.

      • That thing caught my eye as well and I thought surely that’s not a laundry shoot. Interesting huh? Haven’t a clue. Guess we’ll keep guessing.

    • Deanna, I just noticed, the picture of the old dishwasher shows the dishwasher sitting atop a box. So, I bet the stainless thing is a new dishwasher that had just been installed and the picture of the old dishwasher must have been taken right after it was removed. They must have placed it on the box the new dishwasher came in after they pull it out. If you look at the picture of the 1956 dishwasher, you’ll see the box under it. I think that solves the mystery.

  7. Oh Susan…this is wonderful! My dads parents bought a cute little late 1950s house and while the kitchen was not this upscale, the cabinets and counters remind me of their kitchen. That house also had pine paneling like you talked about a couple of weeks ago. I remember for some reason that has a kid…pre school age…my mother had a grey kitchen with pink accents. That would have been early 1950s. Yes…I am old! I am forwarding this post to my daughter who is enamored by mid century style, I.e. My mid century! Ha. She and her new hubby want to buy a 1950s-60s house. I said plan for lots of upgrading. We shall see. I remember seeing the Paris Apt time capsule too. That was amazing! Now about those dishwashers….I had a friend in grade school whose father worked for Hobart (made dishwashers and such) in Troy Ohio…and her mom had a dishwasher. I believe that was my first. Then my parents bought an older home in the sixties that had a sink and dishwasher side by side…with those round racks. Love this post! Struck me on so many different levels. Fun to go back and see…especially things I remember, which is a chiens for the younger ones now. Ha!
    Sheila

    • Thanks for sharing your memories, Shelia. I love hearing everyone’s memories from the past. I was born in ’57 so I was too little to remember kitchens like this but it makes me feel nostalgic imagining how exciting a kitchen like this would have been back then.

  8. Karin Leacox says:

    Reminds me of the All Electric House that is part of the Johnson County, Ks. Museum:
    “Originally constructed by Kansas City Power & Light electric company in 1954, this five-room ranch house captures why a home in the suburbs was part of the American dream after World War II. The model home was open for a period of six months as a model home in the bedroom suburb of Prairie Village.”

  9. Oh my goodness…that refrigerator is exactly like the one my mother had in her 1957 house only hers was turquoise and matched her turquoise counter tops etc. Actually it was convenient to have it at eye level along with the cabinets. Great memories that I had forgotten about. Thanks Susan.

  10. That stainless steel container was for wax paper and aluminum foil…it was recessed into the wall.

  11. That was quite a find! I love it! I loved the pink kitchen. No one I know would have it, though!

  12. Hi Susan, My husband e-mailed this to me a few months ago; I can’t remember where he found it. Anyway, it’s definitely unique. It does give me chill bumps because it’s so brand new with all the owner’s guides right there, and it just makes you wonder why the buyer never moved in and how it could sit empty for almost 60 years! It stirred my imagination, too, and I wondered if something tragic had prevented the person(s) from ever moving in. The pink appliances and sink are pretty, considering the time period, but I would never choose those now. You can certainly tell that everything was top of the line for that era. The stove door has no glass, so you would have to open the door every time you wanted to check on your meal. I really thought the cabinet hardware and all the other stainless steel accessories reminded me of the Jetsons cartoon. 🙂

    I’m glad you shared this — I enjoyed seeing it again.

    Hugs,

    Denise

    • Denise, I almost don’t want to know! I’m afraid whatever it was, wasn’t good. Oh, you’re right! Like the knobs…they look very Jetson like. I used to LOVE that cartoon! I always wished we could enter our home the way they did their home! 🙂

  13. Bravo, Susan. No one does justice to these type posts like you do!

    This whole kitchen reminds me of a conch shell with the tans, pinks, and yellows. It’s an awesome time capsule. It looks like the original dishwasher was pulled out, and the stainless one put in its place (notice the original is sitting on a cardboard box of sorts and the lid lifted to view as a topload, but the door probably pulled down for loading). Those Sputnik knobs and cabinet cutouts!

    This also brought back memories for me – we had a pushbutton electric range in the home I grew up in – remodeled the year I was born (’57), so no doubt, the stove was bought then (it even had a griddle in the middle of a double oven). I also had a pushbutton automatic car in the 1970s, lol. It was a Renault, handed down to me from one or two older siblings, I think a late 60s model. I can remember the transmission slipping when the interstate was first built in our town – the on ramp proved to be a challenge when I had to start in the 2nd gear button. Oh my…..I feel old!

    • Thanks, Rita! Yep, I just noticed that a few minutes ago…missed it the first time. I wish they had taken a picture with it in place. I guess it would have looked like a cabinet…it was camouflaged, too. You and I were born the same year! My first car was a Rambler, no A/C of course. It almost got me killed once when I braked hard for a light. It hung a sharp right all by itself and I ended up in the parking lot of a fried chicken fast food place!

  14. Marlene Stephenson says:

    I don’t know whether i could live with all that pink,but some of it reminds me of my parents kitchen when i was growing up. Mom’s was that coppery brown,and the laminate was a lighter color but the bar where we ate looked just like that one.That was the good old days,now they are gone.

  15. My parents built their dream home in 1959 and many of these appliances were in my mother’s kitchen, although they were in “Coppertone” color. She had a push button electric stove top like the one shown except her buttons were in the bottom left corner of the unit. I can still see her cleaning down and around all those buttons! We had an oven with those same dials but I believe ours had a window. And you know, Susan, we would be lucky to have that refrigerator and freezer … I’m sure it would outlast anything on the market today. My mother finally got rid of hers when she couldn’t stand that Coppertone color any more in the 1990’s! Her units lasted well over 30 years.
    That pink tile was very popular. My dad had his own bathroom and opted for the pink tile in it. Great memories!

    • Ohhh, man! I hadn’t thought about what a job it would be to clean around all those buttons! No wonder we have touch panels now. Yeah, everything was really built to last back then…not like today where everything is built to break so you have to buy more!

  16. Thanks for sharing this wonderful ‘trip back’! My mom’s friend had an all pink kitchen (all appliances) which I loved! Now I can’t pass up kitchen
    tools with pink handles!

  17. crumpety cottage says:

    Awww, what a cute kitchen! I don’t even want to know why the owner never moved in ~ it’s just too sad. But I’m amazed at the condition of the house. Somebody must have been looking after it!

    I love, love, love, that fridge and freezer. I would opt for that in a heartbeat – it makes so much sense to me to have it all at eye level. Love all the pink. I remember being a young girl and my siblings, all much older, bought my mom a dishwasher for mother’s day. It was our first, ever. I don’t remember the year, but it must have been mid – late 60’s. There was no built in cabinet in our kitchen, so we had to keep it in the butler’s pantry and roll it to the sink when we wanted to run it. We’d lift the top, fill it up and then hook a hose up to the faucet to do the wash. Haha, we thought it was so awesome and modern. Well, I guess it was, back in the day. 🙂

    • My brother, who was a lot older than me, had a dishwasher like that. They didn’t store it away but I remember seeing them roll it over to the sink to use it. So glad we don’t have to do that today!

  18. My aunt had a kitchen just like this one, I loved it as a small girl, her metal holder held aluminum foil, wax paper, and paper towl. It was on a roll way back then too. My aunt frig looked simalar, the freezer was on the bottom as a large draw, a lot bigger than we have today, and the top of the freezer was even with the counter. Really cool stuff back then.

    • Oh, thanks for solving that, Kathy! Yep, that was fancy stuff back then. Makes me wonder if in another 20-30 years we’ll look at today’s kitchens and get a chuckle by how they look. Wonder how the kitchen of 2050 will look!

  19. Carol Neibling says:

    Susan, My husband built a kitchen like that f or sister in law back in 1956 and most of it is still like that

  20. This looks like many a kitchen in new houses of my friends when I was in grade school back in the 1950s. (We had a Sears catalog house built in 1928. Have you ever done any stories about those houses? I’m a new reader.) Push buttons were all the rage back in the 50s. My mom had a 1956 Plymouth with what we called “dishwasher drive”. She loved it and hated to get rid of that car when it wasn’t doing so well anymore. She knew how to drive ‘stick’ and the push buttons, but she was so apprehensive of learning the new automatic transmission on the steering wheel!

  21. Should I admit I have seen each and every one of those things you mention (except the sideways fridge!) during my time on this planet? LOL Thanks for the shudder you just gave me. I’m so glad kitchens have progressed!

  22. Donnamae says:

    I was about 5 or 6 and my mom had a pink kitchen…all of the appliances were pink! It sort of looked like the one you found! How funny…lots of memories there…we even had a milk chute! The time period was definitely mid to late 50’s! 😉

  23. Hi Susan! Wow! What a walk down memory lane! My family moved into the house that I grew up in in 1963. We had a wall unit oven like that but our oven had a window. My mom also had that electric cooktop. The push button panel was on a small raised console on the back of the cooktop, if I recall correctly. I can still see my mom wiping between each of those little buttons! We had a dishwasher but I don’t recall it loooking like that. Isn;t it amazing that Finish still uses the same script on itspackaging today??
    Our refrigerator was a stand alone model. I have never seen a model like the one in this 1950’s kitchen. And I thought that the drawer refrigeration units they sell today are a modern design! Who knew? I guess everything old is new again! Thanks for this great post. It was just as interesting as your post about the Paris apartment (which I loved BTW!)

  24. Linda Page says:

    Well, my house was built in 1956 and my parents bought it new. The kitchen has pink ceramic tile countertops and backsplash with cocoa brown ceramic tile edging and a turquoise blue built-in oven that still works. I hope to completely remodel the kitchen soon and all of this will be updated but having an almost 60 yr working oven is amazing!!!

  25. JennyBC says:

    I am not sure I could have pulled that beauty out. It’s not really my style ~ although I think it is so cool. I am just not sure I could have parted with it in such pristine condition. What a find! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Susan S says:

    This is the wildest thing I’ve seen in quite some time! It makes me sad to think that someone picked these things out, but never got to use them.

  27. Cheryo Gordon says:

    I live in a house that came with a pink stove and oven. I like pink, but hope to replace them some day.

  28. How pristine was that kitchen!! Beautiful. Going back to the first house reminds me of an episode I just saw on “Pickers”. They went to a house where a lady and her brother were trying to clean out a house that had been in their family for generations. Some of the stuff found was from around the Civil War era. A grandfather or great-grandfather was a druggist and when they closed his store down, they just brought everything home. There were all kinds of old medicines, etc. It was really neat.

  29. Wow! That is so cool… it really is like a museum… thanks for sharing it, fun read! Liz http://www.HometoCottage.com

  30. Yes, chills I have, the kitchen looks as though it may have been on a Lucy and Desi set. I was still in England during those years and every appliance was white, I did not see a coloured appliance until we came to Canada in the 70’s and I thought the Harvest gold was wonderful!! 🙂
    I would really like to find out why the house was left uninhabited. As one person pointed out, surely taxes had to be paid and I wonder just how the house was after over 60 years. Surely there would have been some deterioration.
    O.K., am going on a search!! 🙂

    • I just did the search and came up with this on one site *Nathan purchased the home late last year from the original owner, who built the house but for personal reasons never lived in it*.
      So even if we will not know the reason why, it does answer the question of who was paying taxes and keeping it clean. Now I can go to bed dreaming of pink appliances!! 🙂

      • Yep, I remember reading that at one of the sites I visited. “Personal reasons” could mean almost anything. They must have had a sentimental attachment to the home to have held onto it for so long.

  31. What a blast from the past. My parent had almost this exact same kitchen in the 50’s . My Mom had regular burner knobs on her pink GE stove but they were in the same spot as this one. A big pink oven to and a large pink refrigerator. She refused to have a dishwasher and always said it was a waste of resources and for lazy people. To this day I do not nor have I ever had a dishwasher and do not want one. I do remember the pink was also countertop . the floor tile had some pink and it had the same open shelves on each side of the window. The tile was pink. I remember as the stove top was set as this one that the cupboards were huge as the kitchen had more room for cupboards. Thanks for the memories. Great post

  32. My husband and I have been slowly restoring our house which was built in 1952. I just discovered all the door frames are mahogany. And when we took the drywall off the powder room, so are the joists! I did some research and that was common back then. There is a ton of money in mahogany alone. I guess it offsets the enormous expense it has been restoring this house.

  33. There is absolutely no way I would or could rip out that kitchen. There was a story in our local newspaper about a couple who bought a home in Albany (NY) that had a similar pristine complete Youngstown kitchen. Everyone told them to modernize and they refused. They did a beautiful restoration on the rest of the home (it was a much older home) and worked with the kitchen to make it modern yet keep it intact. They said the kitchen is why they chose the house.

  34. So your question about whether or not they had paper towels on rolls back then got me thinking. So I googled vintage paper towel ads and would you believe I found an ad for bounty on a roll from 1935.

  35. Susan,
    I think it should have been left alone like it was. It is awful that it was torn out!
    I wonder if it was built for a lover to entice her to Marry the owner, or maybe built for a new bride and she passed away or left him before the wedding? There must have been a strong emotional happening to make someone keep things as they were like that for so many years and not be able to move in and enjoy it at all at some point.
    Blessings

  36. claudette flanigan says:

    Oh wow! My aunt and uncle had that same refrigerator and it was also pink! They bought a home in Hartford and this refrigerator was the talk of all our family. No one had ever seen one like it before. Wait until I show her a picture of it!

  37. Shirley Dunn says:

    Hi I’m a new subscriber from England. This is a fascinating post. Love the kitchen . Wonder where it went? Think there is a real sad story behind the reason for it being empty for so long. Think I’m going to love this blog!!

  38. Shirley Dunn says:

    Hi I’m a new subscriber from England. Love this kitchen! Wonder where it ended up? Think there must be a sad story behind it. Think I’m going to love this blog!

  39. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! Ah that pink!!! I wish they still made stuff like that. I adore 50’s & 60’s kitchens; I rent a duplex that still has the original Youngstown metal cabinets and I love them. And my porcelain sink, was, at one time, a lovely shade of butter yellow….but sadly it’s seen some wear and tear over the years.
    GE is making an artistry series now that kind of has that retro vibe; I bought the fridge and am loving it.
    Thank you for sharing this; so fun!

  40. Liz Serpa says:

    I remember pink very well from the 50s. We had a ranch in 1958 that had pink tile on the kitchen floor and gray counters. A neat gray radio was on the counter. The bathroom was pink ceramic tile with gray trim. Gray was popular back then and it is coming back around as the new white. Our next house built in 1960 had pink counters and stainless steel appliances. What is old is new!

  41. Liz Serpa says:

    Reading about the hidden fridge reminded me of Leave it to Beaver. June was always in the kitchen and they had a built-in refrigerator. It was all around us for 50 years and we thought built-ins were a new innovation.

  42. My mom had a pink stove with the push buttons that operate the eyes. Been trying to sell it on Ebay! It still works!!! Wonder if that color will come back in style? Also popular were teal/aqua during that era. After that came the harvest gold, avacodo green, and of course copper tone, better known as brown! What were we thinking??? Lol!

  43. The house we lived in before this one was very similar. It had the pink double sink, stove top and over. The stove top have the buttons down from just like that. Our countertops were Formica with a pink marble look. The house had been built in the late 50’s.

  44. SharonFromMichigan says:

    What a wonderful old kitchen! Check out the curtain rod above the sink – it’s a drapery rod! I have a friend who lived in an apartment complex near Lansing, Michigan where all the apartments had either pink or aqua fridges, stoves, sinks, etc. My friends were aqua. The funny thing is this was a multi building complex from way back when and the vintage appliances held up really well – too bad appliances made now don’t last as long.

  45. Right down memory lane!

  46. I love this kitchen. I noticed the chrome/stainless strips that separate the sink from the counter top. Even utilitarian things were well- made back then. I can never understand why people tear out the beautiful tiled bathroom in older homes. Usually, the tile and grout are in perfect shape, and I love the quirky color combinations. Who wouldn’t want to take a bubble bath in one of those huge, deep pink bathtubes?

    Love this post.

  47. Wilma V. Prohaska says:

    Back then it was normal for a husband to buy the house for his bride (without her choosing anything) so maybe it was a surprise gift and the bride ran away or they never made it to the house. There most be something in some archive somewhere! Btw. Lovely pink appliances.

    • I wondered about that, too. I’m almost afraid to know what happened because I’m afraid it might be sad. The pink appliances are really cute. Now we go for industrial, no-nonsense with stainless appliances, but the pink was really cute.

  48. Susan……Thanks so much for this one.

    My Mother had those exact canisters in our kitchen and I wish I had them today.
    Lots of memories.

  49. I actually have – and use on a daily basis – that exact same oven and range top. Well, actually mine are a few years older. The oven here looks like it’s an early 60s model, maybe ’62 based on the style of the dial knobs. Mine is a ’58, I think. The knobs are simpler, not so ornate. My house was built in the mid-’40s as a small 2BR starter, but the kitchen was renovated in the late ’50s when a previous owner added a large open den/dining room and a master bedroom onto the back of the house.
    I can tell you that as “luxurious” as those push-button controls for the range may have been back in the day, they absolutely suck if you’re a serious cook. It basically has 5 heat settings; low, medium low, medium hot, hot, and “surface of the Sun only useful for boiling water this will ruin your cast iron cookware!” hot.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Renee! So interesting hearing how it actually cooks. lol about “surface of the sun.” That sounds pretty dang hot! 🙂

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