Youngstown Servi-Center: Super rare metal kitchen cabinet?

youngstown kitchen servi centerWow, this may be the rarest vintage steel kitchen we’ve seen yet: A Youngstown Servi-Center, which was originally posted on real estate agent and reader Sarah Snodgrass’ blog, At Home in Brookside, Kansas City. That’s Sarah –> … I always like me a smiling face on the blog. Anyway, this Servi-Center IMMEDIATELY caught my eye because of that whole set up on the backsplash. Even super-expert-of-the-universe 52PostnBeam was impressed. I ping her right away and just to underscore what nuts we really are she writes:

WOWOWOW!

That’s so cool, that little upper shelf add-on. I’ve seen the square emblem before but didn’t realize it was one of Youngstown’s logos. Hard to say if it was before or after Diana, because the square logo actually contains the little “wings” – type older logo within the design.

…The font on the cabinette looks very Brady Bunch to me, late 60s. My guess is the cabinette was an add on, maybe the sink unit is earlier. I haven’t seen many (or any) “Undercabinettes” by Youngstown. My guess is the GE Cabinette with reeded sliding glass was the original because they’re so prevalent, but I’ve occasionally seen cabinette versions in Geneva and St. Charles with slightly different glass and shape. I saw some in a Lyon kitchen once, but they were the GE cabinettes. I would also surmise the cabinette idea became popular during GE’s blitz of advertising the Wonder Kitchen (for Levittown and such) — many Wonder Kitchens mounted the cabinettes to the top of the bases like this one does, instead of to the bottom of the wall cabinets.

This one doesn’t have a sliding door, but it look like a lip at the top and a simple integrated hinge at the bottom, so my guess is the doors on either side of the faucet will pull forward and down. That faucet is obviously newer, they may have done some modification to make it fit — the two plugs in the front of the hood look like original faucet holes. There may be lights inside that shine through the white plastic, and certainly there’s some electricity running to the clock, outlet, and light switch

Look at those cracked old cloth electrical cords just inches from the sink and directly under the faucet – what a trip! I think I know why this model is so rare, lol.

Thanks for sending!

Helen

This Servi-Center is such a jewel. After my initial note to Helen aka 52PnB, I emailed Sarah, and she added more photos showing detail to her blog. Check up out (via the link in the first paragraph). As you will see, the white spaces to the right and left of the center of the Servi-Center backsplash indeed tilt out, as Helen suggested. How a faucet ever connected to those two holes is beyond me, though. To be sure, the faucet as currently positioned is wacko – can you imagine the splash back?

Note: Get with your own properly licensed expert to assess safety etc.

Anyone near Kansas City, want to snap this up and hold it for our “future museum?” Morever: Maybe a museum today really truly wants this. Eight years into a serious love affair with vintage steel kitchen cabinets — I have never seen one quite like this. Oh, the wonders! 2011 is off to a good start.

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Comments

  1. says

    I accidentally double-posted on her website (didn’t realize she had “moderated” comments and my computer’s been running kind of wonky lately …) Anyway, found this link on Google books to an ad in a 1958 Life magazine for this cabinet (for those wanting to remodel their kitchens back then …) It appears those two “holes” by the faucet may have been buttons to dispense detergent and hand lotion. Here’s the link:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=zlMEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA57&ots=tCxhMWIQ9Z&dq=Youngstown%20Kitchen%20Servi-Center&pg=PA57#v=onepage&q=Youngstown%20Kitchen%20Servi-Center&f=false

    • pam kueber says

      way to go laura! you get the ingenious researcher award of the day! yes, i read it — you are most certainly right: the faucet sat very high (weird and bad design, i think, due to splashies) and those buttons are for detergent and hand lotion. thank you! woot!

    • Trouble aka Shane says

      Wow, I’m going to keep this link and research some myself. I never thought of Life Mag online. Back in 1956, Life ran a story on a “modern neighborhood of tomorrow” kind of thing about a place here in town called Lincoln Village. I’ve looked (passively) for that issue since I found out about it. Maybe this will help!

      Thank you!

    • gayla says

      My parents bought a new house when I was in 3rd grade which would have been about 1953. It had a Youngstown kitchen in it and of course the whole family made over it as it was so stylish and CLEAN. That seemed to be the buzz word about it. I can’t remember how much later, but not all that long, my aunt and uncle had their kitchen redone and had this unit put in under the kitchen window. I remember my mother saying on the way to visit the new kitchen that someone in the family always tried to one up them over everything she had. I didn’t understand what all was meant by what she said but I knew my wonderful mother did not like my aunt’s remodel so when we got there and everyone else was ooooing over it, I made the very loud statement that it didn’t even look like it was supposed to. I said it looks like my mother’s new stove with that silly clock on a sink. I can remember dead silence and then my aunt looking at me so strangely. I really loved that aunt and was usually a very polite child. I looked at my mom and the look on her face was not happy. She tried to cover up by saying that was much fancier than her new cabinets and how handy the clock would be. I knew I had really said the wrong thing but not sure just why. The minute I saw this picture the whole thing came back in my mind like it was yesterday. I was not in the habit of making people unhappy with me so I’m sure that’s the reason it seems so fresh in my memories. I’m thinking about other things and it had to be about 1956 as I was still a little kid and by age 11 or 12 I felt all grown up. I often spent the night there and it had a light in it that was left on for a night light after the dishes were done. My aunt had other base cabinets and upper cabinets on each side of the window. It was a very nice improvement for my aunt and uncle and they still had those cabinets when they sold the house several years later. She also got a new fridge and stove and I remember her saying how much she liked the metal counter top as it was so clean and her old one with linoleum was cracked and never seemed clean When you opened the doors there was a rack to hang the drying towel and dish cloth. I’m thinking the other side had a little trough to keep sponges and hand soap. I thought it was so nice for my aunt to put hand lotion on after doing dishes and though my hands never touched water as I dried dishes she always let me push the plunger and have lotion too. I’m sure the other one would have been soap but I don’t remember it at all. Sweet memories of people gone for many years.

      • gayla says

        In the magazine ad, it also has an article about the movie Vertigo so I looked it up and it came out in 1958 so that pretty well dates the cabinet.

  2. Gavin Hastings says

    Make Dishwashing Exciiting! (not to mention a rendevous with electrical shock)

    The first wet Brillo pad tossed into one of those bins marked the beginning of the end for these units!

  3. 52postnbeam says

    It’s always amazing to me the crossover between 50s kitchens and cars. The ad even refers to the sink’s “exciting new dashboard panel” … the timer is the odometer, the pull out shelves are the glove box, that awkward faucet harkens to a sportscar gear shift, the push buttons are horn and lighter. I guess we know who was doing all the design work back then. If there were a museum of Ideas Executed Prior to Market Research, this classic would be front and center!

  4. angela says

    Wow, this is a beautiful cabinet! I’m so glad I found this website. At first I was on a quest to rip out and redo my late 60s early 70s style home, but I’ve really come to appreciate the characteristics of the home the way it is.

    • Trouble aka Shane says

      Oh NO! You can’t do that. There are enough TV shows on that teach the skulls full of mush that that’s the right thing to do.

      Appreciate your home! Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean you have to leave it untouched – you may prefer a different style popular at the time and want to use that theme. It’s just about keeping the home in its original context.

      New “stuff” is just that, but old homes have personality that you can never buy…

  5. says

    Hold on…doesn’t anyone see the RED Weber Kettle BBQ grill in the background? If I didn’t already have one (finally found a cherry red one!) I’d be angling for a package deal!

    • Kay says

      Speaking of bad electrical wiring…

      One of the reasons that I have had such a hard time coming back around to the idea of metal banding around countertops is because as a child born in 1961 with a 1952 house, we had a kitchen with the metal edges AND we had one of the new portable/rollaround dishwashers. (anyone else remember these?) Anyway, something happened when the dishwasher was hooked up. Sometimes, if I happened to touch the metal edge in the wrong place, it gave a jolt of electricity. That was almost enough to scar me for life and keep me out of the kitchen!

      I’d complain and me dad would say, “Did it bite ya?” NBD to him! Unbelievable to me now.

      • pam kueber says

        oh my! I remember those portable dishwashers. I had one in the first house I ever owned, a 1939 mid century modest. Never used it, what a pain!

      • Joe Felice says

        I bought my first house in 1976, and it was built in 1952. In the ’70s, the previous owners installed a dishwasher. I noticed that, whenever it was on and if I were to touch something metal in the kitchen, this would happen. I called an appliance-repair person, because of this and the fact that it wouldn’t drain. He noted that the wiring to it was connected “backwards.” I called an electrician & he reversed the hot & beutral, problem solved. But he also said the entire kitchen was not to electrical code, and had to have additional circuits. (Originally, there were 4 fuses for the entire house in a little box in the nook.) Whenever I tried to use more-than-2 appliances at the same time, the fuse for the kitchen would blow. That made sense, because, originally, there was no disposer, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, microwave and sxs refrigerator/freezer. In order to add circuits, he needed to run new service from the pole in the alley. (Weren’t alleys fun?) Oh, I also needed 240 for the dryer, but why I didn’t get a gas one I’ll never know. Maybe it’s because my mom taught me to be afraid of gas. I remember once, when she was lighting the pilot on her ’50s stove, it blew out in her face. Anyway, the entire job ended up costing over $1,000.00. I hope you don’t need the new service & circuits, but check the wiring to the outlet or in the plug.

        Isn’t reminiscing about happier times fun?

  6. Becky says

    Wow that’s one awesome specimen. I grew up in a home my folks (uncles too) built in 1958 that had a Youngstown kitchen in aqua. Cooktop and wall oven in stainless steel. Every home I’d been in on Highview Drive in the Galbraith Acres had a Youngstown kitchen. I’ve often wondered how many of them still have them. One of these day’s I’ll look through my folks photographs, they were avid photographers, and see what I can find of that kitchen. Would you like to see them if I do find some?

  7. Jackie says

    My boyfriend saw me reading your blog and wondered why our kitchen was on there. It made me laugh. Our youngstown kitchen is one of the reasons I picked our place.

  8. says

    Wow, I love all the interest in these funky old metal cabinets. I especially love 52postnbeam’s comments about the similarity to auto ads – how interesting. Just to keep you updated – my buddy Joseph still hasn’t sold them. Someone in St. Louis contacted us and really wanted them, but unfortunately the measurements were not a fit. Joseph has posted them on Ebay for now. He priced them reasonably and has many more photos for all you retro-heads who want to see more detail: http://cgi.ebay.com/110634787434#ht_500wt_1098
    -Sarah in KC

  9. Trina says

    Love the metal cabinets. We are in the process of purchasing my first 50’s home. Never thought about a retro kitchen or bath until this house. Built in 1956. The kitchen has the original wood cabinets with these funky curved drawer fronts. They have been painted several times over, so I will continue the trend and give them a good sanding and fresh paint. Love all of the info and resources for the metal trim for the countertops. Now to find someone that is willing to tackle the job. First guy just shook his head no! The to do list is longer than the checkbook balance, but all in good time. Best “find” so far is that the owners have the original blueprint! I plan on having them framed and using as art for the house. Too cool! Can’t wait to get started. Thanks for all of the ideas from this site. More info and pics to come as we get this project underway.

  10. says

    We recently bought a 1948 ranch house and I love the youngstown metal kitchen sink it had. But it had been a rent house for years and then it stood empty for years. As much as I would love to keep it, it has seen alot of abuse and rust is in alot of the drawers. I would love to replace it with something similar. Where could I find one or is there a website I could look for a replacement.

  11. DAMON says

    Any chance you still have this piece and are in the market to sell???……Soryy to bother you and thanks for your time!!

    Damon Tripp
    SSGT USAF K-9

  12. Mat Hunt says

    I have a kitchen full of the above Youngstown Cabinet white steel cabinets & drawers with those same pull handles, and would appreciate anybody’s help in locating replacement drawer “slides”. My late architect father put these in back in 1964, and the wonderful low maintenance logic was you could remove the handles and front surfaces, then take them to an auto painting place for proper sanding & repainting. I’m about to do that, but some of these “slide/glide” parts are worn out & need to be replaced. Can anybody help?

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