Vintage kitchen cabinet swing-out shelf storage contraption: What is it?

kitchn handy rotating shelf holders

Kersten went to an open house yesterday then wrote me right away, all excited:

Hi Pam!

Just got back from a walk through of a time capsule home (OMG! OMG!) and saw these inside one of the kitchen cabinets. Any idea what they are used for? I’m stumped! (And so was the realtor.) As you can see, they swivel. Did you notice how the wood is cut for these specifically?  Love that.



In following emails, Kersten also wanted to point out: The cupboard shelf edges are actually routed to fit these thinga-ma-bobs.

vintage stove in 1950s kitchen

I also asked her why she is at an open house, since we know she has a cutie mid century home of her own — which we just featured. Is she house-shopping?

1950s yellow bathroom

She answers:

Not really, but whenever I see a time capsule listing, I always check it out.  (Then when it is sold, I show up with a potted plant and tell the new owner that I’ll offer to pay for the things they tear out.) The realtors get a big kick out of how much I adore these houses.

Kersten, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I love you. Thank you for sending these photos, you have made my day. I’ve never seen one, ever! So: Aaaaahhhhhh, to see something altogether new — a strange, simple and beautiful, unidentified 1950s kitchen gadget species — still running free, undisturbed, in its natural habitat….Like you, I would have been all goosebumpy and excited and jumping up and down and making the realtors think I was a rare bird, indeed.

Note, I’ve seen Kitch’n Handy cup holders — long, ruler-like assemblies with cup-hooks that you screw into the bottom of a wood shelf and then pull in and out like a drawer. Actually, I think I bought a NOS one from ebay last year and have it stashed somewhere. There might have been one on the bay recently.

Okay, so, moreover:  What the heck are these woddities (“wonderful oddities”) for, given their design?? Each of the three rings swivels out independently…. Why? What would really fit in there?

Surely some reader who grew up with one will know in a flash. Who’s the smartie today?

  1. Lou Meigs says:

    We fixed that problem in our kitchen. I got rid of it!!! I never used them anyways and pointed out to my husband that the micro…tiny as it was…didn’t work in our kitchen; it definitely “ruined the vibe”! 🙂

  2. Josey says:

    How funny- I just ordered one of those plate holders on ebay, only it was sold as a “towel rack”. Oh well, now i have an awesome plate holder!!!

  3. George says:

    I believe it’s a pie rack/cooler. If it fits a pie pan; they still make them as countere top items.

  4. George says:

    I believe that shelf swing out thing is a pie rack/cooler (if pie pan size). Thay are still made today as counter top doodads. Mom baked a lot.

  5. Nancy says:

    Found website with catalog for products from 1965. /www.stantheoldhardwareman.com/Washingtoncabinethdware
    Per website, some products in stock and for sale.

  6. Mary K says:

    That is exactly what I was thought when I first saw it. How awesome! Living in a 1955 ranch with the original steel cabinets that don’t have this, well, now I’m bummed. How useful this would be!

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