Aces! Friday again, and it couldn’t come soon enough!
Bethany has already mentioned that we have a vintage stove. But I thought for today I’d go a little more in depth about it.
The Magic Chef stove was produced by the American Stove Company in Missouri. The layout is a bit different from modern stoves, but it has most of the same features that you would expect today. On the left hand side, you see a four burner range, the cover over the burners folds up to form the back-splash. It also provides counter space when not in use. Underneath that is a handy storage drawer. On the right, you have your oven and broiler.
The internal plumbing is all cast iron, with brass valves, as opposed to stamped sheet metal and aluminum tubing, the valves can be rebuilt and the cast iron parts will not wear out in my lifetime. The gratings are also cast iron coated in ceramic. The exterior is made of a fairly heavy gauge steel and coated with a thick and beautiful layer of ceramic. Needless to say it’s built to last.
As far as performance goes, the oven, though small, is amazing. The oven burner is used to heat the floor of the oven which is stone encased in ceramic coated steel. It takes a while to warm up because of this, but once the desired temperature is reached, it heats very evenly and holds a very consistent temperature. The thermostat is a mechanical style that can also rebuilt. The range does not put out as much heat as a modern stove, so it takes a little time to boil water, but it is very well suited for cast iron.
As for the arrangement of the box oven adjacent to the burners, it has a couple neat advantages. For one, you never need to bend over. Everything is at waist level. A second is that you can clean under it!
The modern range-over-oven arrangement is amazingly efficient. It allows for a much larger oven and range while taking up less space. This is a relatively large appliance with relatively small cooking areas.
It is not up to code. Currently, the building code requires that the oven and stove both have standing pilots. The cook-top has one, but the oven does not and must be lit for every use. There are kits available for updating this.
It’s slow. The oven takes considerable time to warm up (similar to electric), and the burners take a lot longer to bring your pots to a boil. Of course, living the slow life isn’t a bad thing, and we burn a lot less food with it.
All in all I would recommend a stove of this vintage. You can purchase them fully restored and updated, and they certainly can be more fancy– having multiple ovens, warming shelves and more storage. The great thing about them is that they are often commercial grade appliances that can be had at a consumer price. Even better yet, they’re pretty to look at, fun to use and can last a lifetime.
Final word on safety:
When dealing with used appliances, go to the professionals if you have any questions or doubts about anything. Carbon Monoxide, fires, and gas leaks are no joke. This goes for vintage, modern, and even brand new appliances. Use your head, don’t get dead!