GE Textolite laminate patterns from 1953

GE TextoliteLet's-decorate-1953This week’s vintage catalog explores one of our favorite subjects here on Retro Renovation — vintage laminate patterns. And what a terrific find this is: A catalog full of GE Textolite laminate patterns, colors, uses and construction tips fresh from 1953. We can add these vintage GE Textolite patterns to the list of laminate we’d love to be able to buy today — right next to the vintage GE Textolite samples Pam scored from the 1960-1965 era. Oh if only there was a fairy retro godmother who could use her magic wand to transform some of today’s laminate options into a few of these retro styles. Pam predicts: It will happen yet!

GE-Textolite-vintage-kitchen-with-laminate-countertopsIt’s interesting to know that General Electric manufactured and marketed laminate back in the day, isn’t it? Pam lives one town over from the home of the former GE Plastics. Located in Pittsfield, Mass., GE Plastics was one of their GE’s most storied divisions (GE sold the division in 2007.) Pittsfield, Mass. and nearby Lee, Mass., also have lots of connections — even today — to the laminate industry. Note in the photo above: Cabinet pulls that are also kitchen towel rods.

Retro-GE-Textolite-patternsMy absolute favorite among these 1953 designs is “Medley” — especially in Cherry or Spruce. So bright and happy — perfect for a sunny vintage kitchen. I’ve never seen any Cross Current or Ming in the wild — but I love their random patterns, too.

Vintage-GE-Textolite-colors-and-patterns

Here we have the classics — regent, linen and pearl textured laminates in all the typical 1950s colors.

GE-textolite-colors-and-patterns-retro

There is even a selection of wood tone laminates and a “Hyaline” apparently designed to look like slate. And look at the text in the bottom right hand corner: Knotty Pine laminate! We sure would give an eye tooth to see that in its natural habitat.

edges-for-vintage-laminate-counters

This catalog details the available edging methods, too. We have sources for many, maybe even most, of these style — in aluminum and in stainless steel — if you’re looking, please see this story. 

Vintage-kitchen-with-red-laminate-counters-and-metal-edgingThis kitchen is classic 1950s — the red laminate counter tops, the laminate backsplash, steel edging, sink with hudee ring. The laminate is so easy to keep clean that she has ample time for flower arranging — sigh.

vintage-green-and-yellow-kitchen-with-laminate-counter-topsAnother happy customer — enjoying her Monotop laminate counter as she reads by the kitchen window. Notice that with this Monotop design, the laminate is “postformed” — meaning the counter top is all one piece — the laminate is molded… bent … to create in integral backsplash and edge — no piecing on a backsplash , no separate counter top edge. This was a major advancement in counter top design… once into the 1960s, use of metal edging was on the decline in favor of the post-formed edge. We do not know if GE was first with this innovation. But at least now, we have the date of 1952 to work with.

vintage-kitchen-green-and-yellow-retroGE Textolite also campaigned for cabinetry and table tops made of laminate. The laminate door cabinets look clean and fresh, and the built-in dining area with shelf is a great idea. The red interiors of her upper cabinets have me thinking about painting the insides of my kitchen cabinets a similar shade.

vintage-GE-Textolite-dinetteAmong the practical uses for GE Textolite laminate — attractive and durable dinettes.

Laminate-laundry-cover-panel-retroAnother great idea — make a fold down panel to cover the laundry and add extra work space — especially if the washer and dryer are located in the kitchen.

vintage-pink-laminate-vanity-in-bathroomLook — steel counter top edging in the bathroom too. It works nicely with the hudee ring on the sink.

vintage-laminate-furniture-retroLaminate is a great choice for coffee tables — no coasters needed.

Thanks to the Building Technology Heritage Library and archive.org for making this catalog available via creative commons license.

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Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:?

Finally…Want to see more Textolite? See Pam’s story on the sparkly 1960s samples in her personal collection:

1961-ge-textolite-laminate-1

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Comments

  1. Jackie says

    We are about to order the new red Formica for our countertop and want a metal edge…is this going to be difficult to find?

  2. Kathy says

    I have the same coffee table as shown in the last picture… I wish it listed the name of the manufacturer. I am getting ready to sell it and I was trying to find out what it is worth.

  3. Pam Chance says

    I am looking for the Textolite color Aqua Twilight or Azure Camelot if anyone has any info on these colors I would be so grateful. We are in the process of restoring a 1967 Airstream camper, the kitchen countertop needs to be replaced and the two colors above are the closest I have yet to find. Thx again, Pam.

    • pam kueber says

      pam, these designs were discontinued decades ago … fpr all our research on retro style countertop options, see Kitchens/Countertops categoty… good luck

  4. Tara says

    Hello! I’ve been checking out your selection of yellow/gold family of laminates. The restaurant I’m employed at is interested in resurfacing their dining room tables. Would love to get some samples of the yellow/gold colors in multiple textures/ finishes. Is that possible? Hope to hear back from you soon.

  5. Becky Roorda says

    I’m very interested in this GE Textolite laminate. I just bought a 1956 rancher that is in pristine condition (the same family owned it until 2012 and it was fortunately empty from then until now except for an older couple who owned it for 8 months and then changed their minds and sold it–to us). The cabinet fronts look to be one of the “natural wood designs”–one of the light tan or gray oak patterns (it’s hard to tell from the small sample). Then I have a small table that looks very much like the “durable dinette” example. It even seems to be the same color laminate as the one pictured. The kitchen countertops are pink (Formica?) and the inside of the kitchen cabinets are aqua (maybe also Formica). These laminates are all set off with copper door pulls and hinges. Built into the countertop is a NuTone In-Built Mixer-Blender, so I feel fairly confident that at least the pink countertops are original to the house. (We found the parts to the NuTone in a box in the tool shed, along with the instruction/recipe booklets. I don’t think it was ever used. We found the table in the same tool shed under some “junk” boxes–still in great shape once we cleaned it up.) At first I thought the cabinet laminate was part of a later remodel, but now I’m thinking it too might be, although I’d need more information about the GE Textolite before I could tell for sure. Whatever this cabinet laminate is, I can tell you that it wears like iron. Of course it helps that apparently the previous owners took great care of it.

    Thank you for this wonderful, informative website. I’ve learned a ton here. It was the information (and happy attitude) from this site that educated me about what a great find we have in this house; you gave me the information I needed to convince my husband that we had to buy this house and not wait for a 1930s bungalow to show up on the market.

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