GE Partio Cart — original 1960 photo and a never-used unit in Seattle

partio cartFor many people, daffodils are the first signs of summer finally on the way. For me, though, it’s the sight of GE Partio Carts suddenly popping up for sale, harbingers of the barbecue season ahead. I’ve written about Partio Carts before here (before we know to call them “Partio”) and here (we learned their proper name) and here (a’cuz I’m nuts for them, I guess it’s clear). For this year’s story, I up the ante by (1) surfacing an original photo of the Partio Cart from a 1960 GE Annual Report that I purchased (see, I’m nut$!) … and (2) a unit for sale in Seattle that apparently was never used (although it is not in perfect condition.) Photos galore — partio on to see them all… or maybe to buy a Partio for your very own? 


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Tammy posted the ad for her Partio on our buy/sell Forum, saying:

Hello, Everyone! I must get my new ’56 Chevy parked in the garage, so alas, I must bid adieu to the Partio Cart. Let me know if you’re interested! Tammy

Her craigslist ad says:

Designed by General Electric in the early 1960s, the Partio Cart sold for almost $800. It is an electric range and oven on one side and a barbecue on the other. Just imagine the little woman on the oven side and the man of the house on the other. The Partio Cart originally came with an umbrella and a cover, both of which did not come with this model when I purchased it. I had a cover made from water resistant turquoise Sunbrella fabric, and purchased a vinyl umbrella from patiodaddiocom.

The cart comes equipped with two wood shelves which drop down when not in use or which can be removed entirely. I had the wood professionally re-stained as it had grayed over time. The wood is now a warm golden color.

This Partio Cart has never been used! There is no charcoal residue on the barbecue side. There is an original sticker on the oven side.

This Partio Cart is over 50 years old, so it is not in perfect condition. There is a blemish on the metal side which is meant to look like woodgrain. The metal cabinet has been bent in one small area, making it more difficult to close one of the doors on the bottom. There is a light rust on the barbecue side. One piece of turquoise enamel on the oven side is missing near the griddle, but it is hardly noticeable. The rotisserie rods are missing but I do have the prongs. The wheels’ rubber is in excellent shape, although the turquoise on the wheels could use a fresh coat of paint.

Because the oven uses 220 volt power, I have never plugged it in. However, it comes with the original 12 foot cord, and there is no reason to believe that it does not work as it was never used. Please understand that you buy at your own risk.

Dwight Eisenhower’s Partio Cart from his Palm Springs estate sold for over $20,000. There is a Partio Cart on display in the Ford Museum in Michigan. Depending upon condition, the carts sell anywhere between $2000 and $8000 usually.

If you have additional questions please Google Partio Cart. There are excellent articles about the cart on retro renovation.com….

My photo for the Partio Cart from General Electric’s 1960 Annual Report:

partio cartThe caption for the photo says:

PRODUCTS FOR ELECTRICAL LIVING OUTDOORS typify General Electric’s efforts to supply the public’s changing tastes. Colorful outdoor lighting sets the scene with a portable stereophonic record player, while the grownups enjoy a “Partio Cart,” a complete outdoor cooking center on wheels. Useful small appliances such as the electric coffee makers complete the picture.

Classic.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Jacki says

    This would be the perfect item for life here in Phoenix. I rarely start my oven during the summers here because it it gets so hot here and it heats up the house so quickly. To have an outside oven would be a dream.

    • pam kueber says

      You know… I’ve been looking at it and think… it might not be “too” difficult to make one yourself. I guess it would just require skillzzzzz

      • Robin, NV says

        Ah now Pam – aren’t you supposed to say “please consult a properly licensed professional before attempting to make your own Partiocart”? Tsk, tsk.

        Love the bobby soxers listening to records while the parents whip up a meal in suit and tie. But where are the cocktails? Partio-on!!

          • Jacki says

            DH has the skillzzzzz, unfortunately just not the time. Great idea though, I see that type of stove on Craigslist here all the time. It will definitely be on my list of things for him to “get around to”.

  2. Heidi Swank says

    We love our Partiocart! Right now we are living without a kitchen until our reproduction 1950s cabinets are finished. Since the Partiocart is our regular summer kitchen, it made it easy to move back into our house once the new plumbing was in and the new slab poured. It works like a dream.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Heidi,

      What a great idea to use your cart as a summer kitchen and an interim kitchen! It must be a lot of fun. You are going to send photos of your kitchen when done, yes?

  3. ineffablespace says

    The thing about “never used” or “original condition” things like this, is that to certain collectors, the primary value is that it has not been used. There are people that collect early MCM pieces (usually Very early production pieces) that may be essentially unusable in their current condition but the important part is the originality. I have two early Womb chairs, one may be late forties or very early fifties, and the foam is mummified to rock hardness, and the seat cushion feels like it’s stuffed with potatoes. The other has orange upholstery bleached to very pale pink. If they had been a little earlier in production I may have been bidding against someone who wanted them just like that–and restored early chairs would have no value for them. (This gets particularly tricky on pieces that have been in continual production for six decades. Some people feel there is no essential difference between an old one and one right off the line because they are the “same thing”.)
    On the other hand I am trying to find someone who can restore them properly and make them useable. It would be interesting to know which sort of collector buys the cart.

  4. Jay says

    Only an applliance maker would dream up the idea of putting an electric stove on wheels and marrying it with a grill. The photo creates the proper mood setting for the Partio Cart. A $$$ novelty at the time, it has come full circle as the completely outfitted outdoor kitchen that is de rigour for a McMansion backyard- along with the brick pizza oven. The Partio Cart has more charm and is cool looking, it surely needs its own garage. Perfect for warmer climes!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, this idea HAS come full circle — outdoor kitchens are quite the trendy thing today! Me — a Partio Cart is on my bucket list FOR SURE!

  5. Jacki says

    I found some really detailed pictures of a used 1956 Partio Cart on a website called BBQ Brethren. No wonder it cost $800 at the time, this thing is a lot bigger than I thought and looks built to last.

  6. mary wyatt says

    The one at the Henry Ford Museum is the one that used to belong to the Eisenhower family. If you visit http://www.thehenryford.org you can click on the collections tab, and find pictures of both the cart and of its complete instruction manual. I will check next time I am there (we are members), but I don’t think it is currently on display.

  7. Joe Felice says

    If it could have been designed, engineered & manufactured back then, GE was the one to do it. The days of General Motors and General Electric were the halcyon days for our country. Appliances made by GE were built to last, and many are still in use. Today, not so much. . .

  8. JulieBrown says

    I’m starting a search for one locally! A few years ago I bought a huge six-burner gas grill with all the bells and whistles. (It was on sale for a very good price– very good.) BUT, I used it once a couple months into that summer, for a disastrous dinner for friends. (took 5 hours to roast a chicken. I know! What was I thinking.?!) So, it’s for sale now, but the Partio looks like a replacement that’s just my speed! ;-))

  9. joan says

    Pam;
    Such a beautiful photo of days gone by. I’m sure you will be able to recreate the scene with your new to you cart. Right now I’m looking to replace my Barbecue and I want one of those Sheperd Ball BQ model. I know there is one on ebay now, but way out of my price range. Just want a retro one in aqua or orange. I know there are a few models out there in black or blue. Why isn’t anyone manufacturing them I wonder.
    Joan in Nova Scotia Canada

  10. Nancy says

    I have one that I would like to sell. Its dent and scratch free, the wood sides are needing just a little touch up sanding. It has all the racks the oil trap, oil container and tools that go with it. The only thing it’s lacking is the umbrella and the charcoal grill plate is rusted. if interested call me at 1 435 512 6201. Logan Utah.

    • pam kueber says

      Try Craiglist — places like SearchTempest can help you look country-wide. We have not yet spotted the first Partio Cart of the 2016 season yet!

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