Kitchens of the Twentieth Century - Part II

KITCHENS OF THE 1940s, 50s, and 60s

As we near the middle of the twentieth century, the kitchen stays on the same path it began in the 1930s.  The kitchen was not only a place to cook, it was a place to socialize for the family. With this new role, it also looked to the importance of design and color to make it welcoming.  The new kitchen also added more light, storage and work places.

The one thing that truly jumps out as we move thru the 1940s is the number of appliances.  Where once was small countertop space, those larger spaces now hold the appliances.  These are left out on the counters to be admired by all.

Dated 1947, notice the coffee pot on the stove, the mix master and the canisters. Also notice the colors and how everything works together.

The eating nook has been retained and worked into the over all design of the kitchen providing the family a place to eat and socialize. The kitchen is also sporting colored counter tops.  This room is finished top to bottom.

The 1950s kitchen brought even more change.  A man in the kitchen?  Oh my!  Built in nooks to hold 'stuff'?  Oh no! 

Huge changes were once again coming to the kitchen. All of a sudden kitchens did not only serve their purpose of meal preparation, it had become a showcase to show off your lovely things. With added shelves and higher ceilings, many places were added specifically for display.

The kitchen also was becoming 'modern' with conveniences like society had never known.  Gadgets and gizmos all designed to fit into this ultra modern design scape. The slider to an outside patio became a must have for any modern kitchen with open, larger windows.  Lowered cabinets with higher ceilings gave the woman of the house a chance to show her good taste.

Notice the ad with all the coordinated kitchen gadgets. It was no longer just about the kitchen but about designing and decorating this once utilitarian room.  It became important for everything to match and be bright and cherry.

As we breeze into the 1960s, the kitchen was once again racing into the future as television began to quickly change our view of the kitchen.  How can we forget the kitchen from Bewitched or the Brady Bunch, Dick Van Dyke or I Dream of Jeannie? With peaks into their kitchens, our own kitchens transformed.

It was modern and bright. It had a table and it had a laundry area.  No longer relegated to the basement or some dark corner of the house, it became the rage of convenience to have the washer and dryer tucked away in the corner of the kitchen.

This photo is from the set of Bewitched and it made American long for the convenience of this added luxury of convenience.

The 1960s kitchen also brought a few other major changes.  One was the countertop stove with the inset oven. Very modern and chic.

Secondly was the trend of providing a place for the lady of the house to take phone calls, makes notes and lists, and maybe write a personal note or two. A place from which she could run the household. This room, had become her domain, in more ways than one.

The kitchen will continue to change as it marches toward the 21st century.  Next week we will explore the 70s thru the 90s.

Read Part II →





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Daye is an avid collector and researcher of all things vintage.

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