Built-in cutting boards and trivets that protect your kitchen countertop, 1970s style


These are sure a blast from the past: Glass combination trivets and cutting boards that are installed directly into your kitchen countertop. Yes: with metal rim aka Hudee ring.  I think that these built-in cutting boards were all the rage in the 1970s, because there was one in our 1975 countertop, to the left of the sink. I’m not sure they are my favorite innovation ever — I tend to think it’s just as easy, easier maybe, to have freestanding cutting boards and trivets that, in the case of cutting boards, you can throw into the sink to clean, and in the case of trivets, position close to the stove.

That said, I certainly appreciate the concept — and it’s super retro… hey, even as I type this, this idea is growing on me!

hole cut in kitchen countertop for built in cutting board

Another time that this built-in drop-in would come in super handy: When you demo tile on top of original laminate to discover a big hole — where there used to be one of these built-in cutting boards! That’s what happened to reader Jon — who then went online hunting, found these built-ins, and emailed me. Thanks, Jon! Indeed — Vance Industries, which makes these tempered glass cutting boards, points out on their website that they are potential solution if you have damage to your countertop that you want to mask.

[ebay listing expired]

Finally, Jon also sent me the ebay listing, above, which makes it clear — Vance Industries has been making these a while. It’s so nice to get “authentic retro” from companies that have been in business for 60 years! This listing above expired yesterday, but the item did not sell. I’ll keep an

Link: Built-In Surface Savers (R) from Vance Industries.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. says

    My parent’s house had one of these in it (built in 1981). It was square and was just tempered glass with a nubby texture, of course with a Hudee ring around it. It was right next to the stove and we used it as a trivet to put pans fresh out of the oven on, a cutting board and it was where we did all our christmas cookie baking and dough rolling. Last time I saw it (about 2 years ago before my parents moved) it looked like brand new. They are great!

  2. Mike says

    My mom has one of these in her kitchen, which was built in 1974. She uses it all the time. You can also use it to set a hot pot or pan. I wish my kitchen had one. It’s much more easier than dragging out the cutting board, then cleaning it. Just wipe it down with your wash rag when you finish up the dishes.

  3. Jon Hunt says

    That other hole, btw, is where a NuTone Food Center once sat, according to our neighbor! I shan’t say much about it, as I suspect it may be a future post!

    • Jeanne says

      I have one of those. 🙂 They didn’t leave any appliances, but I recently scored the blender at an estate sale for $2. Best score ever!!

      • Jon Hunt says

        It is SO “home of the future!” I can’t wait to get one. Because if you’ve already got a gaping hole in your countertop FOR one, why not track one down?

      • Heidi Swank says

        We have a NuTone food center in our kitchen, too. Over the past five years we have been able to buy almost all the attachments through CL and Ebay. Now we just need to find the ever elusive coffee grinder. That would be cool!

  4. Heidi Swank says

    Our rental house (1959) had something similar to this when we bought it a couple of years ago. It wasn’t a trivet, though, but a cutting board complete with Hudee ring. Unfortunately, the wood that made up the cutting board was in bad shape. And since it’s a rental, it didn’t seem a good idea to keep it in the kitchen restoration. Too bad we didn’t know about the trivet option.

  5. Cloud says

    Apparently the former owners of my hourse wanted one of these – so they glued a glass cutting board right to the counter! It drives me crazy, and I don’t know what sort of glue they used but it’s not going anywhere, until the counter does.

  6. 52PostnBeam says

    The 1955 cabinet set I bought had one of these which I inherited with the boomerang countertop, but the hudee is bent – so this is a great resource if I want to restore it. The kitchen I bought it from had a light installed underneath, with a switch on the backsplash! Seems a bit impractical to have underlit food but I’m sure it looked cool. Since then I’ve been seeing them often in retro kitchens dating back to the 50s, I even saw another on a Flickr set that has the light.

    Here’s one from your site in Alice’s yellow Geneva kitchen


    • pam kueber says

      We had one in the circa-1975 kitchen I replaced with the 1963 Genevas … ours had a blue Corningware-like design kind of framing the white. You know, little dutch motifs or some such.

  7. mint64 says

    My parents had one of these when they bought there prefab home in 1975…it had a zodiac pattern on it (much to my mother’s dismay). I always hated cutting things on it…the sound and feel that it gave off when the knife made contact with the cutting board made me cringe. LOL They are great for rolling out pastry and for using as a trivet though. I think my mom still has it in the garage (it was removed when the new counter tops were put in).

    • AL says

      We actually had one of these in our counter until it broke a few months ago. If your mom still has it, could you tell me some more about it? If it’s the same one I’d be interested in buying it. 🙂

  8. Sabrina says

    Wait– are these cutting boards made of tempered glass as well? How is that a good cutting surface?

    I can see the usefulness of a well-placed built-in trivet, especially on a laminate countertop on which you really can’t put hot pots down, but a cutting board I just don’t really get. I like to be able to pick up a cutting board to push things off of it into the stove, to rinse it off in the sink, or, when I cut something staining like beets, or orange squash or something, run it through the dishwasher.

    On the other hand, if I planned to keep my original Formica countertops, a built in trivet would be a perfect patch for the hole that will be left behind when we remove the cook top. But we’ve already got the new Formica, so we’ll be patching up that hole when we install it.

  9. says

    Just don’t forget that glass is death to a good steel knife – dulls that blade in a jiffy! So if you’re planning on doing any cutting with your Henckles, better put a plastic board on top of it. Probably more sanitary, too. I love the idea that it’s a safe place for a hot pot go to, though!!

  10. Marc says

    The architect for my house noted a stainless cutting board near the stove and a butcher block one near the sink. Both were intact when I put new counter tops on last year, but were badly scratched and stained. They’re in a cabinet if the next owner decides to put them back.

  11. bepsf says

    I have one of these in my 1964 vintage kitchen next to the stove – I figured that it was installed after a previous renter had burned the countertop there…

  12. says

    I spent hours today trying to find one of these! I have had one for 32 years. I hated it at first, but soon grew to love it for rolling out pastry, making bread, biscuits, etc. It was a great trivet for years…. I set a pot on it that had boiled dry.. bad idea, it shattered into a million pieces. So glad I found this site. 40.00 is going to be better than 700.00 to replace the counter!

  13. says

    I have two of these, on either side of my stove. Honestly, I can’t stand them- they are such a pain to keep clean, especially so close to the range top. I’m getting ready to install a 1950 Westinghouse double oven range, so I will have to cut my countertop to accommodate the wider range, and will finally be rid of them. If anyone wants them, I’ll be happy to send them to you! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *