Your guide to buying vintage appliances

October 15, 2014

Old-fashioned kitchen appliances have gained modern cachet as people strive for classic lines. Aficionados also claim that they are better manufactured and more durable: in the past families might spend up to six hours a day cooking meals, requiring appliances to be sturdy. So where can you find them?

Your guide to buying vintage appliances

How and where to buy

To buy vintage appliances you can go to antique dealers, specialized appliance stores and various online sources.

  • You may have to pay dearly for a large antique appliance, such as a stove or refrigerator, so you might want to start small, with appliances such as toasters, mixers and vacuum coffee makers.

When buying a true vintage appliance, do your research and exercise some caution.

  • Not all old appliances are compatible with today’s technologies.

There are also safety concerns.

  • Electrical outlets have changed a lot over the years, so old appliances may not have grounded plugs and frayed cords may be fire hazards.

You should also be aware that replacement parts may be hard to come by. And, oh yes, make sure that the appliance actually works and does what it’s supposed to do.

Or perhaps you just want the retro look

Alternatively you may want to go with a modern appliance that looks retro.

  • Manufacturers are taking advantage of the wave of interest in old classics to create a wide variety of new “vintage appliances.”
  • These have the advantages of being energy efficient, improved for safety and backed by manufacturer warranties, as well as taking up less space.

No matter what, start with a plan

Whether you go old-old or new-old, you need to put a strategy in place if you want to become a serious collector.

  • Since vintage can cover a lot of decades, you have to decide what period you want to concentrate on.
  • Then you should decide whether you want your appliances to be mostly functional or mostly there as eye candy.
  • Do you want to completely overhaul your kitchen or do you just want a few standout period pieces to serve as visual anchors?

Once you have your large major appliances, you should choose a colour palette for the walls, towels, dishes and gadgets that complement them. After all, nothing gets old faster than style without consistency.

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