GE TextoliteLet's-decorate-1953This week’s vintage catalog explores one of our favorite subjects here on Retro Renovation — vintage laminate patterns. And what a terrific find this is: A catalog full of GE Textolite laminate patterns, colors, uses and construction tips fresh from 1953. We can add these vintage GE Textolite patterns to the list of laminate we’d love to be able to buy today — right next to the vintage GE Textolite samples Pam scored from the 1960-1965 era. Oh if only there was a fairy retro godmother who could use her magic wand to transform some of today’s laminate options into a few of these retro styles. Pam predicts: It will happen yet!

GE-Textolite-vintage-kitchen-with-laminate-countertopsIt’s interesting to know that General Electric manufactured and marketed laminate back in the day, isn’t it? Pam lives one town over from the home of the former GE Plastics. Located in Pittsfield, Mass., GE Plastics was one of their GE’s most storied divisions (GE sold the division in 2007.) Pittsfield, Mass. and nearby Lee, Mass., also have lots of connections — even today — to the laminate industry. Note in the photo above: Cabinet pulls that are also kitchen towel rods.

Retro-GE-Textolite-patternsMy absolute favorite among these 1953 designs is “Medley” — especially in Cherry or Spruce. So bright and happy — perfect for a sunny vintage kitchen. I’ve never seen any Cross Current or Ming in the wild — but I love their random patterns, too.

Vintage-GE-Textolite-colors-and-patterns

Here we have the classics — regent, linen and pearl textured laminates in all the typical 1950s colors.

GE-textolite-colors-and-patterns-retro

There is even a selection of wood tone laminates and a “Hyaline” apparently designed to look like slate. And look at the text in the bottom right hand corner: Knotty Pine laminate! We sure would give an eye tooth to see that in its natural habitat.

edges-for-vintage-laminate-counters

This catalog details the available edging methods, too. We have sources for many, maybe even most, of these style — in aluminum and in stainless steel — if you’re looking, please see this story. 

Vintage-kitchen-with-red-laminate-counters-and-metal-edgingThis kitchen is classic 1950s — the red laminate counter tops, the laminate backsplash, steel edging, sink with hudee ring. The laminate is so easy to keep clean that she has ample time for flower arranging — sigh.

vintage-green-and-yellow-kitchen-with-laminate-counter-topsAnother happy customer — enjoying her Monotop laminate counter as she reads by the kitchen window. Notice that with this Monotop design, the laminate is “postformed” — meaning the counter top is all one piece — the laminate is molded… bent … to create in integral backsplash and edge — no piecing on a backsplash , no separate counter top edge. This was a major advancement in counter top design… once into the 1960s, use of metal edging was on the decline in favor of the post-formed edge. We do not know if GE was first with this innovation. But at least now, we have the date of 1952 to work with.

vintage-kitchen-green-and-yellow-retroGE Textolite also campaigned for cabinetry and table tops made of laminate. The laminate door cabinets look clean and fresh, and the built-in dining area with shelf is a great idea. The red interiors of her upper cabinets have me thinking about painting the insides of my kitchen cabinets a similar shade.

vintage-GE-Textolite-dinetteAmong the practical uses for GE Textolite laminate — attractive and durable dinettes.

Laminate-laundry-cover-panel-retroAnother great idea — make a fold down panel to cover the laundry and add extra work space — especially if the washer and dryer are located in the kitchen.

vintage-pink-laminate-vanity-in-bathroomLook — steel counter top edging in the bathroom too. It works nicely with the hudee ring on the sink.

vintage-laminate-furniture-retroLaminate is a great choice for coffee tables — no coasters needed.

Thanks to the Building Technology Heritage Library and archive.org for making this catalog available via creative commons license.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:?

Finally…Want to see more Textolite? See Pam’s story on the sparkly 1960s samples in her personal collection:

1961-ge-textolite-laminate-1

CategoriesCountertops
  1. Amy R says:

    I have a homemade (wood shop or Boy Scout project maybe?) table, with a similar laminate top, except in red with black & white & gray splatters – maybe they’re in the same line? – and I keep looking online and here, but have not found it yet either. I’d like to replace the top with the exact same laminate. I allowed my young children to trash it, before I realized I really cared about it.

    It’s been two years since your post, Randerson. Have you had any luck yet?

  2. pam kueber says:

    Amy, such designs just do not exist today. See all our research under Kitchen Help/Countertops.

  3. Becky Roorda says:

    I’m very interested in this GE Textolite laminate. I just bought a 1956 rancher that is in pristine condition (the same family owned it until 2012 and it was fortunately empty from then until now except for an older couple who owned it for 8 months and then changed their minds and sold it–to us). The cabinet fronts look to be one of the “natural wood designs”–one of the light tan or gray oak patterns (it’s hard to tell from the small sample). Then I have a small table that looks very much like the “durable dinette” example. It even seems to be the same color laminate as the one pictured. The kitchen countertops are pink (Formica?) and the inside of the kitchen cabinets are aqua (maybe also Formica). These laminates are all set off with copper door pulls and hinges. Built into the countertop is a NuTone In-Built Mixer-Blender, so I feel fairly confident that at least the pink countertops are original to the house. (We found the parts to the NuTone in a box in the tool shed, along with the instruction/recipe booklets. I don’t think it was ever used. We found the table in the same tool shed under some “junk” boxes–still in great shape once we cleaned it up.) At first I thought the cabinet laminate was part of a later remodel, but now I’m thinking it too might be, although I’d need more information about the GE Textolite before I could tell for sure. Whatever this cabinet laminate is, I can tell you that it wears like iron. Of course it helps that apparently the previous owners took great care of it.

    Thank you for this wonderful, informative website. I’ve learned a ton here. It was the information (and happy attitude) from this site that educated me about what a great find we have in this house; you gave me the information I needed to convince my husband that we had to buy this house and not wait for a 1930s bungalow to show up on the market.

  4. Scott says:

    I recently acquired a set of Youngstown Base Cabinets (Half-Round, Two 30-Inch Double Door with Single Drawer, One 21-Inch Double Door with Single Drawer). One of the things that attracted me to this cabinet set was that it appeared to have the original laminate countertops with the metal trim and backsplash.
    Sure enough, thanks to this web page, it appears that these cabinets have GE Textolite Laminate in the Yellow Regent pattern.
    Thanks for posting this information!

    Scott

  5. Trista says:

    Evidently, the “hideous” sink counters/cabinets we have in our 1966 home are the White Gold version of this Textolite… One with a white sink and 2 with blue sinks set into them, all with hudee rings. Any market for these? In great shape (we are the 2nd owners).

  6. Juli says:

    I believe I have cross current pattern “in the wild.” Not exactly what is shown: pink and faint grey in one bath and green and grey in the other. The kitchen was yellow and grey but the pattern was almost worn off. Both baths have metal edge. Per your comment above, let me know if you’d like photos and how to send. 1953 ranch in Madison WI.

  7. Sarah Giguere says:

    I just found Green Crosscurrent in the wild! It was under several layers of backsplash in my 1951 Florida home that I just remodeled. Absolutely hideous, in the best possible retro way!

  8. Shari D. says:

    Found this (again) through Pinterest and noticed in the picture showing the perfect red laminate countertop, where the homemaker is arranging her flowers, the great glass blocks creating a window on the far left that filters daylight and maintains privacy at the same time. I mean, with the cabinets mounted on the wall just above them, what else would you do with that wall space?

    I’ve always wanted glass block windows in my kitchen, but when the Three Stooges got together to put this place? together back in 1950, I’m pretty sure they were doing acid?with Timothy Leary, or weird mushrooms,? or maybe both. Can’t be done until we can actually stop spending money?? on fixing the things we keep finding that were done WRONG. It’s always been a mystery to me that it ever passed any kind of inspections when we bought it back in 1990!

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