St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets: A look at their line circa 1957


Vintage steel kitchen cabinets are my #1 passion, even ahead of vintage stoves. These things are awesome. Get some of your own if you don’t already. In celebration of the large set now on ebay: A showcase of some gorgeous 1957 St. Charles Kitchens. 1957 was a great year — so deep in the heart of iconic design for the period. A decorating frenzy. Everything available!

st-charles-light-blue-1957st-charles-light-aqua-1957st-charles-terra-cotta-1957st-charles-light-blue-with-provincial-woodKay mentioned recently that she had seen purple cabinets pulled out of a house down the streets some years ago. We commiserated on their unknown fate. Kay, what do you think of the “spring violet” base cabinets up top?

St. Charles operated from 1935 until the mid-80s. They were located in St. Charles, Ill., with a showroom in New York City. In fact, they were the last of all the big steel kitchen cabinet makers to end their manufacture of these beautiful relics. 

The other big makers were: Geneva, Youngstown, Republic, GE. Other names: Lyon, Sears, Homart (a Sears brand), Montgomery Ward, American, Tracy, Capitol, Yorktown, Beauty Queen, Kitchen Queen, American-Standard, Hotpoint, Crosley, Crane – and more, smaller local and regional makers. See my Steel Kitchen Cabinets category for more examples.

st-charles-kitchen-colors-1957.jpgIn 1957, St. Charles kitchens came in 15 colors plus white. Nice to have the retro color list; “bittersweet” — I can only guess — is a peachy-orangey color, as in Stangl Bittersweet dinnerware.

Dig the terra cotta kitchen with the brass (not chrome) handles. Notice, the two-tone kitchens, and how they are starting to integrate wood into their designs. The battle was “on” with the wood lobby…and it’s a battle that ultimately was the death knell of steel kitchen cabinets. Enjoy the memories.

  1. P.G. says:

    Woo hoo! Such great inspiration for my “new”(-ly painted) set of 28 sunny yellow Genevas currently being reinstalled. There were no short cuts made on these babies- and they are built to last unlike the majority of cabinets built today (unless they are custom and $$$, of course). I can’t wait for them to be in! The spring violet might be my new favorite color in cabinets…

  2. michelle hotchkiss says:

    why aren’t product developers all over this site bringing these beauties BACK! there’s a demand for them, we need a SUPPLY! instead we have to re-create them with laminate or paint…or restore old ones…I just don’t have it in me…

  3. jo says:

    looking for St Charles wall cabinets to finish my remodeling, 2 30×18 and 1 30×12, would like the glass inserts but would also consider white texture finish solid doors, located in Phoenix

  4. Pingback:Retro Renovation » Big news — St. Charles steel kitchens are being resurrected — with big bucks marketing, too

  5. Pingback:Retro Renovation » St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets - large lot - today’s ebay pick

Comments are closed.