• I will meet you again in another lifetime, Mildred, my 1962 Caloric Heritage dream


    Since my first story, I also did more research on the stove. It is not a 1958 model. It is a 1962 (at earliest) Caloric Heritage range, part of the Ultramatic family, I guess.

    The speed bumps along my road to acquire Mildred, my 1962 Caloric Heritage vintage stove dream, led me straight into a concrete wall — so much so that I have completely given up the idea of putting a vintage gas range into my kitchen. Blame it on tenacious research… my desire to do things all legal-beagle…  and rules and regulations promulgated by the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Oh. And introducing: The BS-o-Meter. Please pardon my language, it is not typical of my overall approach to this blog, but some days you just gotta let one fly (double entendre intended):

    bullshit o meter retro renovation

    I am not one to linger over losses, so let me summarize my quest-for-the-Caloric and how it came to a definitive dud of an end:

    • In my first story, I explained how after many years of living with an electric stove, I finally decided to appease DH and find a gas range instead. Of course, for me, only a vintage wonder would do.
    • Within a few weeks of serious searching, I found the exceptionally wonderful vintage 1962 Caloric Heritage 40″ range, shown above, about an hour away. I went to see her. I loved her. I named her Mildred. I gave the seller a check for $100 to hold her for me while I did some more checking to ensure she was street-legal and while I looked for someone to help me get her home. Said seller was a super person. I know he went out of his way to accommodate me after I explained I was a retro blogger so excited about this potential addition to my kitchen. He held off on returning other phone calls expressing interest. ACK! I should have told him, do what you gotta do to sell this beauty, I might run into a brick wall. Which I did.
    • At one point, I had it all arranged that my friend Ron was going to get the stove for me. I was gonna have him drop it in my garage, and then I would figure out whatever I needed to do to ensure it was okay to install. I thought I knew the key issue: Automatic Safety Pilot. I thought I knew this because I had encountered this issue / done this research before, before we renovated the kitchen even. (Alas, that was another long story involving lost money, lost hours, no stove in the end.)  Back to this  story, at the last minute Ron had a big conflict and could not get the stove.

      vintage caloric stove

      Look at the attention to detail on this stove: I am holding a little “Gold Star Award” outlet cover that fits right over that outlet on the instrument panel. Amazing.

    • So then I found an appliance repair professional whose business was near the location of the stove. He was game to help me. I made another appointment to see the stove, with him along. He was going to hook up the gas and with me, we’d check the stove out including ensuring the automatic safety pilot was AOK. Once that was confirmed, and assuming the stove worked in general, he’d haul it to my house and hook it up here, too. Alas. Our 10 a.m. meeting was delayed more than an hour while he finished up another job. I had to go kill time by eating breakfast. And then, when he arrived, he could not get the gas connected. The trip was a bust. I paid him anyway, bye bye $125. I was away from home for six hours.
    • Meanwhile, two days before, I had been on the phone trying to figure out the automatic safety pilot issue. I found some helpful experts to talk to. They told me what to look for on the stove to ascertain whether it had an automatic safety pilot. But they also mentioned that in Massachusetts, regulations were stricter and that electronic ignition may be required. What?
    • You know how sometimes when you are rushing rushing rushing, you don’t pay attention to important details and then finally, when you are able to slow down, they pop into your head and scream, “Pay attention to me, you doofus!” Well, I had been working flat out, tending to various other urgencies, for six entire days prior to that second trip to see the stove. On my drive home from that trip — when the crush of my “to do” list was finally lifting — and deflated by the thought of having to return a third time after my new repairman got a plumbing friend to help get the gas on — I started mulling that electronic ignition issue. Thinking: Okay, so maybe I’d better figure that out.
    • So when I got home, I called my local plumbing inspector. Who I know quite well, he has done work at my house. He called back and initially said the key need was that “oven can’t be match lit.” That’s the automatic safety pilot issue. But then I asked him about Massachusetts and electronic ignition. He checked with the state and sure enough, they will not let any gas appliance be hooked up unless it has a state authorization number or some such. Which I am pretty darn sure a 1962 Caloric Heritage stove does not have.
    • I am done. I will not install a gas appliance in my house that is not properly and legally installed. In particular, because my house is worth a lot of dough re mi. If something ever blows up, I don’t want to be on the wrong side of an insurance claim.
    • The seller was waaaaay nicer than he had to be. Even though I told him I’d give him his money — I dragged this out so long — he gave me back my deposit. He has some good karma built up, that’s for sure. Namaste, Ted, namaste.
    • Readers: If you are considering getting your own vintage stove — obtain and consult with your own properly licensed professional.
    • Useful story: 26 places to buy a vintage stove. 

    What will I do now? I guess I could still buy Mildred, find someone to retrofit her with an electronic ignition system or whatever Massachusetts tells me I need to do. But, golly, no, my head has already exploded. The bs-o-meter is topped out, and it will take some time for me to get back to Lysol Fresh territory before I pursue any new epic. I will Love The Stove I Have.

    Yes, Mildred, I will see you in the next life. We will griddle and rotisserie and meat thermometer and otherwise have way more fun cooking together than cooking was ever meant to be.

    *hissy fit*

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    1. An ad for a 1961 Caloric Mildred came on Ebay today. Just search 1961 caloric ad and you will find it. Enjoy, it’s a beauty!!

    2. I am so glad I don’t live in MA. I live in Nebraska and we don’t have any of those rules (that I know of). I am using a 1950′s stove, have never had a new stove, and have never been told I can’t use one! I have lived in 3 homes here and each time I had a different old stove that was in the house when I bought it.

    3. How disappointing! I feel your pain. I didn’t even think to check out that stuff when we moved my mom’ sold magic chef into my remodeled kitchen. Maybe my contractor did, I don’t know. I love her though and would have been angry and all too. She was good enough for my mom and she’s good enough for me. I will have to figure out how to post her picture. She,s quite a beauty. One funny, somebody (20ish) thought it was cool that I found a ‘vintage’ microwave to compliment my 1957 Magic Chef!

    4. So sorry that Mildred didn’t work out, Pam. I would like to make a suggestion that would be less expensive than retrofitting a vintage gas range but would make your husband much happier in the cooking department. Why not acquire a portable induction unit like caterer’s use? Induction is much more efficient and controllable than gas. I have an induction cooktop, and it is a dream to use.

    5. Um are you sure those “rules’ aren’t for new construction? Seems to me in the land of the free you should be able to install any kind of stove you want.

      • pam kueber says:

        It’s my understanding the rules are for any new hookup. Including a new hookup of an old appliance. I believe a permit is required in my state… As I say in the story, I want to do this by the book. Natural gas is something I don’t want to mess around with.

    6. Saw this story linked on Apartment Therapy and had to tell you that I owned this very same stove! I used it semi happily for several years ( the griddle rocked!) The main oven was way too small for my purposes, but I did love its charm and all the little compartments. In short, old things are lovely, but nothing is perfect. Hope you find the stove of your dreams one fine day =)

    7. Pam,

      I think you gave up too soon. The law says you cannot “match light” the oven. You wouldn’t want to match light the oven anyway because there’s a lot of gas in the chamber all of the sudden. What you are really doing is to light the pilot flame with a match. The oven ignition happens when you open the thermostat and gas touches the pilot light. My interpretation of the law is that your Mildred was in compliance and should have been allowed.

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