Wake up to toast, 50s style

August 23, 2015

It's fun to discover new (to me) bloggers, and come away with bits of beauty and inspiration.

Rue at An Old-Fashioned World, a new blogging friend, has inspired me in vintage living. She really does live an old-fashioned life, down to her darling retro kitchen and vintage clothing. Rue uses old things, most made before 1960. I already use my vintage linens and dishes on a daily basis, but she got me thinking about other useful and beautiful vintage items, including appliances . . . 

You and I both know that appliances nowadays have a built-in obsolescence. We're lucky if a vacuum cleaner or coffee pot or washing machine lasts more than five years. And when it does break down, it's cheaper to just replace the thing than to get it repaired.

(We did just pay a couple hundred dollars to repair our 31-year-old Maytag washer. It was worth it. They just don't make them like that anymore. A friend, with a fancy, few-years-old stackable washer/dryer combo, is already looking at having to purchase a new one.)

And what happened to Made in the USA? Do you see anything made here anymore? It seems everything comes from China.

But, not too long ago, many things were made right here. And they were quality.

A vintage Westclox Baby Ben wind-up alarm clock for my bedside. Better than having my cell phone alarm close to my head at night. Who knows what the potential damage of that could be? And this little clock is perfect if the power goes out.

Isn't it cute? I found it on eBay for under $10. It works perfectly. (I just need to remember to wind it up every night!)

So imagine me, shutting off my cheery little alarm, slipping into my slippers and housecoat, and padding downstairs to start up the percolator and make myself some toast a la Lucy?

(Of course,  I would also need to scramble eggs for Ricky Mr. Beautiful while he reads the paper, but  that's not going to happen. Mr. B lives in the 21st century. He has a green smoothie and then checks his emails. I have to say, though, he does enjoy percolated coffee, if he's not in a hurry. Then he grabs a cup from the Keurig.)

I often have a rice protein powder waffle in the mornings, but my other go-to is a slice of Ezekiel bread, toasted, and spread with real butter. It provides lots of good protein to keep me going all morning, but also satisfies my carb cravings.

So look at this gorgeous, shiny Toastmaster toaster from the 50s. One dial on it, to adjust light to dark. No lever to push the toast down; the toast just drops down into the toaster by gravity. It works perfectly. (The cord and plug look perfect, but I do unplug it after use, just in case!)

I'm thinking more and more of our large antique mall here when I need something. New dishcloths? I just got four lovely soft linen ones there. So much nicer than the made in China ones at Target. I need a glass pitcher for iced tea. Instead of heading over to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond, why not recycle and reuse, and enjoy made in the USA, vintage quality by buying one from one of the vintage dealers?

I have a stove-top percolator, but I'm thinking of getting an electric one as well. The guy who had the toaster has some equally shiny and nice-looking vintage percolators, too. 

Looking around my kitchen, I realize that many of the things I use every day are old, from casserole dishes from my grandfather, to strainers and pie servers from my mother in law. I love them. Besides being useful, they are beautiful, and evoke memories of loved family members and a bygone era.

Thanks, Rue, for the inspiration. 

Do any of you use vintage things at home? What about appliances?


  1. When Belovedest and I moved down the hall into our new apartment, we vowed that we weren't going to buy anything new! The bar stools, the room divider, the nightstand - all are "antiques" aka used. We were delighted to be able to completely avoid the Ikea trip which everyone predicted for us!

  2. I am so glad I came by to read this! I never thought of buying old appliances. Both of the ones you show I owned at one time--or my parents did. They look so familiar, even the markings on the toaster, and I'm thinking of how as a child, waiting for the toast to be finished it's most likely I was looking at myself in the toaster reflection or gazing at this patterned lines, or both!

  3. Isn't Rue absolutely delightful?! How fun that she inspired you, my friend :) The beautiful world of blogging is such a blessing.

    Have a wonderful day. Hugs to you!

  4. I have a lot of vintage items that I use on a daily basis, made in England mainly but with the odd item made in USA when I have brought things backs from holidays. Appliances I have not ventured into yet but I don't have a problem trying them.

  5. I like using vintage items when I can find what I like. Linens are what I look for at thrift stores - you can't beat those lovely, soft damask napkins and table cloths. Our appliances are just 13 years old - purchased when we returned from South America. I had old Maytag appliances there and they worked wonderfully for over 20 years, but they weren't worth bringing back to Canada.

  6. I love that you were inspired by a blogging friend, Deborah! Reusing vintage items makes a lot of sense to me. I'll have to go and visit Rue.

  7. Oh I love all things vintage. Their character, patina and quality are unmatched. They just don't make things to last anymore. I have plenty of vintage items in kitchen that I use and love to pieces. From mixing bowls, old wooden spoons to bake ware. You name it. I just love them all.

    Have fun finding these little treasures.


  8. I love anything vintage too and if it was possible, I would really try to furnish my house with all vintage items. I saw a toaster exactly like that at Goodwill the other day. I have would have snapped it up in a heartbeat but replaced my toaster with a toaster oven a while back, so I had no real need (or space) for it. I will have to visit Rue's blog for sure!

  9. Love that shiny toaster, and my parents had that exact style for many years. I don't have old appliances. I tried to keep a few appliances when I cleared out my parents' home, but my dad had fiddled with the electric cords and I didn't trust them. I did bring home my mom's very old Oster blender, and reluctantly handed it over to my daughter to take to university. Sadly I discovered it got smashed on their tiled kitchen floor. I didn't get angry about it, but it was a shame. I do have lots of vintage dishes though, and enjoy using them every day!

  10. Dearest Deborah,
    Oh, I bet that most things are really produced with such a built-in obsolescence!
    We had to replace our beautiful, creamy white Sharp microwave that we purchased while living in Italy. In our home we got also wiring for 240 volt in our kitchen so I really can use my 'old' electrical kitchen appliance from The Netherlands. As you said, back than things were so much better built than nowadays. Our new microwave did last us only about a year and guess what? We're back to using the creamy white Sharp as only its timer failed. It still works perfect and cleans like a charm, looks almost like new.
    I hate it at which alarming rate we are polluting Mother Earth, only for the greedy satisfaction of those that sell to us for $$$$ and nothing else.
    Yes, with a longing heart we look back at the good old days!
    Love your toaster! The alarm I never liked for its noisy ticking away... I have a very sharp hearing and have a problem falling asleep if anything ticks me off.
    Sending you hugs,

  11. I love all things vintage ! I recently purchased a new percolater, when my 10 year old grandson heard it perking he jumped up to see what it was! I love it! Love your blog also!

  12. I love this post, Deborah! Your little alarm clock is so sweet - I am looking for a cute wind up. I have a battery powered one with a light up dial which I love. I do use vintage kitchen gadgets and appliances - my stove is a 1961 Hotpoint! I look for vintage styled small appliances, too, and have a retro looking toaster, blender and microwave. Even though they are fairly new, they have lasted a long time. My toaster is 15 years old and the blender is a little older. I use them every day. We have a store chain here called Fred Meyer that sells 'Made in the USA' items, which I love! Sometimes you have to really search, but they are there. I also, always buy Ford vehicles, as they are made here, too, although maybe not all the parts......My Dad was a Union President and he drilled it into us how important it was to buy local to keep our men and women working! Excellent post!

  13. I love your way of thinking Deborah.
    It's true...the vintage is somuch nicer.
    I have an older toaster oven and I cant bear to part with it. We had received a new toaster from a friend when it was practically new, but although we still have it, I just find the toaster oven toasts things nicer!
    And yes, my moms stove is more than 30 years old and still works like a charm. She sometimes thinks of changing it for a new one but keeps saying, "why bother, when shes got a good thing going" and hers is a self`-cleaning one at that! I love older things so much better. I have a clock similar to yours and if or when the power goes out Im golden! Lol
    Love to you and a great weekend!

    All my heart,
    Deborah xo

  14. My fridge is over 20 years old which is probably why it is still running. Most of my dishes and pots and pans, etc are all old. My electric hand mixer is at least 40 years old, for instance....same for my waffle iron and alot of spatulas and things like that. When I want a*New* non-stick skillet or something like that I pop into the mission store and get one for a few dollars. I love Rue's blog too :)

  15. Such a beautiful post Deborah. I feel calm just from reading it, thank you. I love your alarm clock, it's darling. I use a stovetop Bialetti espresso maker, I don't know that it's as old as your goodies, but it's traditional, authentic and well-made. I love that you visit the antique store for everyday items, what a great idea that I wouldn't have thought of.

  16. I love the old appliances! They always remind me of my mother (married in '55) and of growing up. We didn't have much money, so she made those machines last and last, and with 5 kids and all home-cooked meals, they were used. They got a Kirby vacuum cleaner when they were married from a door-to-door salesman, and my daddy kept the receipt and information on it. He remembered the man's name. And it had a life-time warranty if you could prove purchase. So about 10 years ago (after 45 years!) he contacted the company and asked for replacement parts to repair it, and he got them. It weighed a ton. My mom finally got rid of it I think, and now has something lighter. "Baby Ben" is adorable!

  17. You are so sweet to mention me, Deborah! And I'm absolutely thrilled that I inspired you to "go vintage". They really are wonderful items. They last and they're pretty to look at :)

    Did you know that I have a "thing" for Big Ben's and Baby Ben's? I have to stop myself from buying every one I see or I'd be over run with them LOL Your Baby Ben is darling :)

    Thank you!



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