In 2011, we put out a call for owners of old appliances to come forward and tell us all about them. Since then, we’ve received dozens of stories from proud owners about their vintage appliances that simply refuse to die.
Last year, we asked ‘is older better when it comes to kitchen appliances?‘. The stories we received were a fascinating insight into the longevity of the appliances in our homes. But they also shone a light on the way older design ideas consistently creep back into modern product design.
One such story came from Gina Bury who told us about her National NE6330 microwave, which dates back to 1978 and is still used everyday. Gina’s microwave has 33 years on the clock and setting it is akin to tuning an old radio – you move an indicator along a dial to set the cooking time. But in design terms, it doesn’t necessarily look its age.
Coming back into fashion
Gina’s microwave is square-fronted rather than rectangular, and you can see this kind of design in the Whirlpool Max range of microwaves – the ones that look like portable TVs. Other modern looking design touches include a pull-down door, which can also be found on many modern microwaves models, including from AEG, LG, Neff, Panasonic, Samsung and Whirlpool.
It’d be interesting to see if you’ve noticed any classic design coming through in modern appliances, or if you’ve spotted any retro appliances in other peoples’ houses starting to look ‘modern’ again. Please comment if you have any examples or, even better, send us a picture and let us know how old your appliance is.
Talking about her National microwave (a Panasonic brand from back in the day), Gina said:
‘I prefer it to my newer cooker. It’s heavy by today’s standards but it’s very easy to use and the simmer feature is great for casseroles. I’ll be sorry when it gives up the ghost.’
We also heard from Mark Kelly, whose Baby Belling cooker from 1961 baked six Christmas cakes for friends and family last year. And Vicky Millins said her Morphy Richards iron from the mid-50s lacks steam but it’s still great for clothes repairs. In our previous Conversation, Pat Manley shared this story about a very popular old appliance:
‘As a big treat, when we got married in 1969, we bought a Kenwood Chef and it’s still going strong. We had to buy a new plastic (acryllic?) lid for the bowl as it was crazed and then fractured. Absolutly no further problems.’
Do you have any appliances that don’t look or act their age? Or do you suspect that they just don’t make them like they used to?