Revco Bilt-In refrigerators — 17 pages of designs from 1956

Revco Bilt-In refrigerator

Vintage Revco Bilt-In refrigerators and freezes are the “holy grail” of refrigerators from the 1950s and 1960s, more even than the vintage GEs constructed like wall cabinets and even more than the Kelvinator Foodarama. Is this correct, you readers who are stalking them and so much more knowledgeable than me… who can name vintage fridges and their model years like car guys name cars? Here for your retro research pleasure is are 17 pages of a Revco catalog from 1958, which I scooped up know that we had some Revco fans out there.  Here for your retro research pleasure is are 17 pages of a Revco catalog from 1958, which I scooped up know that we had some Revco fans out there. 

Revco was based in Deerfield, Michigan. According to the brochure, in 1956 seems to have introduced custom colors as well as Stainless Steel and Antique Copper.

In addition to featuring great photos, these brochures always give us hints about the design ideas and trends — and of course, what the marketers were simply trying to sell us on — that were driving design changes and innovations in the home. For example, in this fabulous California kitchen, “built by Fred C. Von Guenther of Orina, Calif.” the text says:

California, the land of outdoor living, offers a fresh not in kitchen planning. Lost forever is the old-fashioned kitchen with its stark white appliances, separated from the rest of the house by barriers of walls and doors. In contrast — here under a spacious beam ceiling the copper-hooded open barbecue pit serves as a transitional wall between the open kitchen and the living room area of the house. The trend-setting interior textures, exterior brick, clay tile, the exposed wood beams, with all appliances recessed into the walls, provide a living room feeling to every area in this charming home.

Indeed, this opening of the kitchen into the main house… treating the kitchen like an extension of the living space and decorating it thus… was a key shift hot under way by 1956. As I’ve discussed before, this was likely one of the death knells of steel kitchen cabinets — over time, we wanted our kitchen cabinets and to look like “furniture.”

Tips to use slide show — click on any thumbnail and it should open large (up to 600 pixels wide) on your screen. Use arrows below image to move forward or back. You may start or stop on any image. If you are having trouble getting image to enlarge…hmmm, make sure your Java is updated?

Hey, also be sure to see this vintage kitchen — with orange-laminate covered Revcos spotted in the wild here. Yum.

  1. Clinton Walker says:

    My grandmother had a Revco bilt-in frost free stainless steel refrigerator along with a Thermador 24″ stainless steel wall oven and Thermador 48″ stainless steel cooktop with the griddle in the middle and a custom made stainless steel hood in her 1953 ranch-style house. It was an awesome setup. As I recall, the melted frost collected in a container at the back of the refrigerator that had to be emptied manually. It was a small price to pay for a modern convenience. When the Revco finally died in the 1980’s, it was removed along with the cabinet below and replaced with a GE avocado side by side.

  2. Penny says:

    Love those kitchens in the Revco brochure, Pam. As a side comment, the cabinets in #8 look similar to the cabinets that a former owner took out of our 1955 home when they remodeled the kitchen in the late 70s. (They repurposed them in a storage room down stairs. The master bathroom still has them.)
    However, my main comment is a question: the decorative cutout feature along the edge of the window valance, under the cabinets (what a nasty place for such decoration), and along the crown molding, must have a name. Do you know it? Or do any of the readers?
    I ask because our whole house (and the neighboring houses built by the same builder – name unknown) has this “cutesy cottage” (my name) decorative trim – EVERYWHERE – inside and outside. It’s quite distinctive.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hmmmm…. I don’t know the technical word for that kind of trim. I’d probably call it scrolled trim, but I’m just guessing.

  3. Kent williamson says:

    I have a 50s vintage revco freezer refrigerator and would like to keep it running forever. I cannot find parts or anyone in and around Lancaster pa to service it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks ‘kent

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Here are two stories that might help:


      And sometimes places that fix stoves also deal with refrigerators – although you may need to travel: https://retrorenovation.com/2011/11/04/13-places-to-buy-restored-vintage-stoves/

      Finally, try contacting the oldest old time appliance stores… they might still have someone on staff how can help.

  4. Jacki says:

    Does anyone know where I can get the schematics to late 1950’s and early 1960’s Revco refrig. and freezer? We are installing a set soon. I have searched the web and RR for help to no avail. Thanks

  5. la523 says:

    I like them, but the look really isn’t all that different than what I could achieve with the U-Line undercounter fridge I have in my bedroom which can also be built in flush with the cabinets. It’s only downside compared to the Revco is that there’s a small exposed grille at the bottom that blends into the toekick plynth area when sitting on the floor – difficult to notice – but is more obvious when stacked. Well that and it isn’t quite perfectly square. I’m really wondering have the evaporators in the Revco stay cool. Or is it like one of those silent fridges without an evaporator?

  6. Tim York says:

    I have two in my basement, I’ve never tried to get them running but they seem to be in really good shape.Just wondering what their worth..??

  7. matthew says:

    Our kitchen still has the model featured abouve in the salmom colour. I am wonering if anyone knows someone who services these fridges in the Toronto area?

Comments are closed.