Once upon a time, in a land far away, and that land was called mid-century America, the kitchens were all red, white and blue, or aqua, pink and sunbeam yellow, or other happy *colors* and most certainly not greige. Moreover, the ranges were all mostly 40″ wide, a very pleasing size indeed. Not too big, not too small, just right for Mama Bears in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to cook their families’ porridge. Alas. What happened to those 40″ ranges? They disappeared, slowly but surely, to be replaced by mostly 30″ ranges, we know not why, and may have to do some *real* investigative journalism at some point to find out. Fast forward to that same land, America in the last days of the first decade of the 21st century, and there are only two-ish 40″ ranges made today and one tries to look all hi-falutin’ with its stainless steel finish and the other, I kinda worry about the quality. Yes, vintage 40″ stoves are out there. But sometimes, you just want a self-cleaning oven already, not to mention Not Another Project. But. Wait! Did you know? In Britain — that fairytale land of handsome princes getting engaged to beautiful commoner girls whose hairdo I could actually pull off — it has been discovered: 40″ ranges still made today!.
And not just one. Not just two. But many many makers of 40″ ranges. Well, 39.37″, according to the nifty website that I found to convert those pesky centimeters into much more civilized inches. 100 centimeters = 39.37 inches, I hope I read that right or my whole theme is shot. And, these first two screen shots from my search still aren’t ALL of the 39.37″ ranges available in the land of endless drizzle, butter tarts and slow pints. There are More.
Some of the “cookers” — as those amusing Brits so amusingly call their freestanding ranges — have plaid on them! (You know how much I have been into plaid lately)…
This Fisher-Paykel model is nice looking, too. I am not really sure if all these single screen shots are 40″ but you get my drift. Note: I think Fisher-Paykel have a 36″ model like this in the U.S. but as I recall, it does not have the important and critical (for retro aesthetics) double doors.
I was actually in London this summer. I went to the big John Lewis on Oxford Street — and that’s where I first spied these cookers in all their shining gleaming 40″ majesty. It was mesmerizing, I tell you, just mesmerizing. You can ask my husband. I was seriously muttering senselessly and otherwise acting like a lunatic right there in the store, and it would have been embarrassing except that by now he’s kind of proud of what a nut I am. He also recalls the days of self-cleaning ovens in the house and knew this discovery was Big.
Also, I didn’t realize it til I bumped into this humongous John Lewis department store, but John Lewis is a humongous department store. And John Lewis of Hungerford — which is another location in London — on Hungerford — is where they market the reproduction English Rose steel kitchen cabinets. Duh.
Oh, and guess what else the John Lewis store was buzzing with: Pinch pleat draperies. A Whole Entire Department just to take your order and help you with measurements and with like 118,642,904 fabrics to choose from To Turn Into Pinch Pleat Draperies. I am seriously impressed by those Brits and their respect for cookers and windows and reproduction vintage steel kitchen cabinets.
Here is a single link to a place with lots of 39.37″ British cookers to complain are not sold here: Range Cookers in the U.K.