Inexpensive hardware for 1950s and 1960s kitchen cabinets

colonial black cabinet pullNo doubt whatsoever: In the five years that I’ve been doing this blog, the availability of fixtures and hardware and decor to renovate our mid century homes has exploded — and I don’t think it’s near over yet. Things that were rare and expensive are now becoming abundant and inexpensive. Remember, though: You still tend to get what you pay fore. Jon of Jon & Trixi of avocado sink fame and of wanton hacking away at cement board covering vintage laminate countertops fame sends in these latest tips on inexpensive kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls of both the atomic and mid-century modest variety, writing:

Hey Pam!

So, a little tip for you and possibly the readers! We’ve moved on to the cabinet portion of the kitchen — which is exciting, that’s the bit I’ve been the most thrilled about changing. We’ve been hitting every store in the universe looking for the best possible hardware, from the “big box” stores like Lowes and Home Despot to little family-owned hardware stores. Mostly, the hardware is all “modern” and awful — we were thinking we’d have to shell for expensive stuff from one of the online “retro” places that specializes in period cabinet hardware.

But no!! A trip to our local Ace Hardware (which has become our second home in the last few weeks!) reveals that Ace, interestingly, has a TON of retro cabinet pulls, and the best news is THEY ARE CHEAP. The “retro” places are charging eight to ten bucks a pop for their hardware, but check this out:

amerock retro cabinet pullThe “radar dish” cabinet pulls! I’ve seen ’em online here ‘n’ there for 8 bucks a piece, Ace has them in several sizes and finishes for about 2 bucks each!

colonial black cabinet pull

The “hammered iron” knobs and drawer pulls! This is what was in our house originally, and what my folks had in my house growing up, they’re HIGHLY retro!

kitchen cabinet knobs for an early american kitchenAnd these…hammered brass kitchen cabinet pulls…as well as these nice little retro items

cabinet pulls for a 1950s or 1960s kitchenThese standard chrome drawer pulls — I’ve seen ’em in a hundred mid-century and 60s houses:

And I notice the Amerock corporation website — the company that makes all these pulls — has a ton more! 30 pages of pulls, knobs, backplates and more, and in a ton of styles designed to exactly match
your house’s original pulls. They’ve got bathroom towel bars and rings and such, too, in nifty retro / chrome styles.

Check it out!!

Thank you, Jon. When I was in Kentucky recently, I actuallsaw a lot of these pulls — or derivatives of them — at a Home Depot in a suburb of Louisville.  The retailer is “Liberty Hardware.” And I bet they are from exactly the same factory in China, because one of my Early American samples — which I have right here on my desk — appears to be IDENTICAL to your black-hammered pull. My other sample, is almost exactly the same as your “burnished gold”, but lacks the burnishing. My recollection was that these were also very inexpensive, around $2 each. Here is the link to Liberty Hardware’s cabinet knobs and pulls.

Finally — See my complete category of all researched Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Knobs and Pulls here.


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  1. says

    How funny- the chrome “radar dish” drawer pulls and standard chrome handles are exactly what I picked out as fixtures for my own “pink bathroom” retro-renovation! I got mine from Home Depot, where they were also the most inexpensive knobs/handles available.

  2. Jason says

    Fabulous! I have not midcentury cabinets from a past rehab that I kept when I re-did the kitchen, because anything I could afford would look basically the same. But, I wanted to get hardware for them, they have none now, that is retro sort of.

    In my grandparents house we definately had those radar dish pulls, but not huge ones, just normal size but in that shape.

    HOWEVER! The cabinet doors had handles shaped like the last picture, the sort of skinny moon shape, BUT they had latches built in, there was a button in the same shape of the handle slightly raised out of the handle, that you pressed down into the handle to unlatch the cabinet door. Did anyone have those? I know they’d be a pain to install now, but I just wonder – I can’t seem to find them anywhere!

  3. Janet says

    Don’t forget to haunt eBay! Look in Antiques/Architectural or Garden/Hardware and in Collectibles/Kitchenware or just in Collectibles (some people have a hard time categorizing these things).

    You might even try the Home and Garden section but you’ll have to sort through a lot of irrelevant stuff.

    What you don’t see one day you may see next week so save any likely searches and have them sent to your email.

  4. Jeanne says

    This is good news, because I really, really want those dish knobs with back plates, but I need 37 or them.

  5. MCM is Grand says

    Happy Memories! The first home we rented was a 1950’s time capsule…the closets had the wood cabinets with hammered iron hardware, in the kitchen the countertop was red boomerang laminate, best of all, the upper cabinets had those dish pulls, they were clear knobs but in the center was a round piece of boomerang laminate that matched the countertop! I often wonder if the current owners kept these gems!

  6. Chris Rodriquez says

    Does anyone know if you can still find the radar dish chrome style cabinets knobs with a oversize backplate? The radar dish knob has a diameter of 2.5 inches and the backplate is at 3.75 inches. The house was built in 1950 so I assumed these knobs are from that era. I would like to find replacements for them as I still like them. If anyone can lead me to a place that might still sell them I would appreciate it.


      • says

        The one Rejuvenations sells look exactly like what I am looking for however only smaller. These might work great to replace the ones for the small drawers but not for my cabinet doors. The diameter of the radar dish chrome knob is 2 inches and the diameter of the backplate is 3.75 inches. I looked in the specification and the ones they have are not offered in the size I need. 🙁


  7. Jo says

    what about hinges? I’m retro-storing my 1955 pink & green bathroom & the cabinets need flat-mount hinges that will fit in a narrow space (~ 1″ on the door & same on the cabinet). Have not have any luck finding anything attractive & functional. I’m more Jetson-50s than knotty-pine. Thought I had found some lovely little teardrop hinges, but when they came in the mail were too wobbly.

    • Janet Switzer says

      Perhaps you could use cabinet-size butt hinges in a chrome finish. The knuckles show but the leaves are attached on the surfaces where the door and the frame touch, rather than on the front surfaces. Hard to explain but see the second picture on this web page:

      [link broken]

      What were the original hinges like?

      • Jo says

        Thanks, Janet, I think we may need to do that. The hinges I took off (I am pretty darn sure they were not the originals) were rectangular brass hinges, generally found in the “outdoor hardware” section, mounted flat on the outside. Functional, but not in the least attractive.

  8. Evan says

    We were looking for a ‘retro’ cabinet pull for our kitchen too, and I particularly liked the chrome crescent shape one above. We need 38 of the little buggers, so I went looking for them a bit cheaper. I found them (currently on sale) at the website below for about $1.50 ea.
    They look just like ones I’ve seen in original kitchens from the 1950s and 60s. They are the Amerock brand.

  9. Erika says

    Was wondering if anyone has found silver/chrome H-L hinges? I have the hammered iron pulls and H-L hinges but would like to update to chrome/silver. I can find handles but not hinges. Any leads would be appreciated.

  10. Bethany Good says

    The link for “these nice little retro items” is not working. Is this cabinet pull not available? Thanks.

    • pam kueber says

      Stock items like this are always changing… you can look around on Ace Hardware, I guess, to see if this particular item has been listed elsewhere. Otherwise, I’d say that’s a pretty common style — try big name makers like Amerock…. Good luck.

  11. Julie says

    Does anyone have any tips on cleaning the copper hammered iron-style pulls? I have the originals in my 1955 kitchen, but they’re blackened with crud from use. Any guidance?

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