Reader JoAnn Wiltrakis has discovered our 74th known brand of vintage metal kitchen cabinets: Even more wonderful — this is our first brand of vintage aluminum kitchen cabinets: “Olympia Kitchen Kabinets.” She writes:
JoAnne, congratulations and many thanks — this is a terrific find! I have some questions, though:
- I don’t know about things like the properties of metals, so can someone tell me: Does aluminum even rust?
- Car guys (said in gender neutral way, I am part Californian): Would these aluminum cabinets have been even More Expensive than steel back in the day?
- Washington staters: Was there a big aluminum manufacturing complex in Olympia? Perhaps associated with the aerospace industry?
- 52 PostnBeam, will JoAnn be able to combine them with other brands?
- And JoAnn, where will you put your magnets? 🙂
More information on Olympia Kitchen Kabinets — made by Western Metalcraft / Metalware:
Thanks to the several readers who contributed additional information. It seems that the manufacturer of Olympia Kitchen Kabinets made them in both aluminum and steel:
I live in olympa, so i HAD to see what the deal was with the manufacturer, so i blew up the pic showing the tag in the drawer to see the name of the cabinet maker (Western Metalcraft, Inc.), then found out they were in the old Olympia brewery for just a short time after WWII. And as Mark said, there were smelters just north of us in Tacoma.
Here’s the site with the info: http://www.brewerygems.com/olympia.htm
Then, Karen added:
Western Metalcraft did indeed own and occupy the original (1896) Olympia Brewing site, beginning right after WWII. After several years of manufacturing various metal items, including cabinets, Western changed ownership and changed name 1951-52 to General Metalcraft/Metalware. The Schmidt family, the family who established Olympia Beer, was financially involved in both companies. We have some of the aluminum and some steel cabinets in the historic Schmidt family home, now an event venue and archives. (We also have some old brochures from Western in our collection.)
Western made steel cabinets after WWII, when the metal shortage eased up, and later switched to aluminum. I believe aluminum was later in short supply, due to its demand for military use during the Korean War.
The General plant in Tumwater WA went out of business in 1962.
And Mark noted:
I live in WA and there were a couple of huge aluminum smelting plants in Washington state, one in Tacoma, just North of Olympia and one in Spokane.
- All our stories about vintage steel — and now, aluminum, kitchen cabinets.
- And remember to BE SAFE / RENOVATE SAFE — for example, is there lead in the paint on your old cabinets? Be sure to assess what you have — get with your own properly licensed pros — so you can make informed decisions how to handle.