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The Retro Renovation® Encyclopedia of Vintage Steel Kitchen Cabinets

From Ace & Acme to Yorktown & Youngstown:
Our guide to 80 82 83 84 85 86  …90+ brands of metal kitchen
cabinets made after World War II

steel-kitchen cabinets

Most recently updated: May 30, 2021.

The product that started it all — the blog, that is: Vintage steel kitchen cabinets. I wanted to renovate my kitchen. Vintage steel kitchen cabinets entered my consciousness. I went on a five-year quest to find a set. Along the way I also obsessively researched how to put a 1950s-1960s kitchen together. When I was all done, it turned out so well that I started the blog to share what I had learned. In my cabinet-quest, I already had identified many brands of steel kitchen cabinets made back in the day. And in the years since — very often with the help of readers — we have identified  90+ different brands of metal kitchen cabinets built before, during but most after World War II — mostly steel, mostly in the U.S.
Note: In Summer 2019, I began my mega-quest to finish this encyclopedia! Will I be able to stick with it? We’ll see!

Then dive in:

90+/- brands of metal kitchen cabinets made in the U.S. — pretty amazing, huh!

    1. Ace
    2. Acme Metal Products Corp., Chicago, Illinois, as early as 1938 reference1939 brochure/catalog
      1. See this story with photos of Acme sink base from 1948
    3. Admiral
    4. Alden
    5. American Kitchens of Connersville, Indiana. Parent company was AVCO Manufacturing Company, and the cabinets were produced by their American Central Division; part of a web of related steel kitchen cabinet-making companies, including Crosley. Great 1943 image here.
      1. Historic bones: Designed by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy and his company. Faucets for the sink top that went with these cabinets still sold today! 
      2. Six American-brand kitchens from 1953
      3. The unique American “Pioneer” kitchen with its birch doors, copper drawers — color-styled by (our) famed Beatrice West.
      4. I do not believe there was any familial relationship between American Kitchens and American-Standard Kitchens. These were two different companies in two different locations and with different cabinets designs.
    6. American-Standard
      1. 1953 American-Standard steel kitchens catalog
      2. “Standard” was the original or earlier name of the company (perhaps Standard merged with American? Need to confirm). See this 1938 catalog of Standard kitchen cabinets — in colors!
      3. Famed industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague (second reference here) and his company had a relationship with American-Standard Plumbing fixtures; unknown whether they also consulted on cabinet designs.
    7. Ampco, Rosedale, Mississippi
      1. I believe these were the same cabinets as Regency. See entry below. The reason: The unique handles are the same source for comparison here
    8. Art Metal Cabinets, Jamestown, New York, as early as 1938 reference
    9. Beautycraft Custom
      1. Made by Miller Metal Product, Baltimore. Yellow set here.
      2. Green set here
    10. Beauty Queen — a subsidiary brand of Toledo Desk & Fixture Corp., Maumee, Ohio
      1. We love their bathroom Vanettes and Lavanettes
      2. Label found by a dumpster
      3. Vintage set, in pink, spotted in the wild
    11. Belknap Hardware & Manufacturing Company
      1. See story and photos.
    12. Berger, made by Berger Manufacturing of Canton, Ohio, part of Republic Steel Corp. Predecessors were Berloys, and Bergers appear to have morphed into Republics (see separate entries).
      1. See my Berger Steel Cabinets for Kitchens catalog from 1949. This company was owned by Republic Steel. Berger steel kitchen cabinets may subsequently have been subsumed by Republic Steel Kitchen cabinets.
    13. Berloy, made by Berger Manufacturing of Canton, Ohio, part of Republic Steel Corp. A predecessor of Bergers, which themselves seem to have morphed to Republics (see separate entries)
      1. See my story and 1940 catalog here.
    14. Blietz Construction, Chicago; maybe; (added per spotting by Jim, Sept. 2016) 
    15. Briggs Beautyware
      1. An early maker with 12 colors as early as 1938! Made by auto body maker Briggs Manufacturing Co. based in Detroit.
    16. Capitol
    17. Columbia
    18. Cox
    19. Crane, designed by Henry Dreyfuss, I am pretty sure. I have a brochure from 1936, so this is among the early brands, I think.
      1. See this 1953 catalog from my personal collection.
      2. I also have a brochure from 1936 — need to dig it out.
      3. Dreyfuss shown in catalog next to new 1956 Crane steel kitchens, available in white and four colors, here.
    20. Crosley — also designed by Raymond Loewy 
      1. Ellen’s search to recreate her parents’ Crosley kitchen
      2. Ideas for Dana and her 1953 Crosley kitchen
      3. Garth & Martha’s restoration 
      4. Some history here: “…American Kitchens manufactured kitchen sinks, faucets, kitchen shelving, and modular kitchen base & wall cabinets. AVCO had purchased the Crosley Appliance Co. from its founded Powell Crosley Jr. in 1945. During the early 50s AVCO introduced their Crosley Kitchens line of metal kitchen cabinets and appliances. The Crosley kitchen cabinets were built alongside the firm’s American Kitchens products in Connersville.”
    21. Dieterich Steel Cabinet Corp., Chicago, Illinois —  as early as 1933. . 
      1. See my story here
    22. Dupont-Dulux — immediately recognizable for its distinctive streamline moderne design including its die cut sink base doors; probably an early maker. Unclear whether these were branded Dupont or whether that was just the paint finish; more research required.
      1. Story with photos and mystery here.  
    23. Elgin, Elgin Stove Company, Elgin, Illinois
      1. A very early maker, although their 1932 designs were not ‘modern’ — even still, important: reference. Also see this later reference photo)
    24. Eljer
      1. Photos and history from their 1955 catalog here
    25. Frigidaire
      1. A photo I spotted online indicates this brand — also designed by Norman Bel Geddes, was first shown at 1939 New York World’s Fair. The photo also suggested that Bel Geddes designed Servel’s steel kitchen cabinets.
    26. GE
      1. A major brand of steel kitchen cabinets — and oh my, how GE innovated in so many related ways, too! I have quite a few stories.
    27. Geneva
      1. Precursor was Modern Kitchen Cabinets, both of Geneva, Illinois
      2. I have many stories about Geneva Kitchen Cabinets, one of the top-three brands
      3. I have original finish Genevas in my kitchen — they are what lead to the creation of this blog!
    28. Genesee
    29. Hallmark Custom Steel Kitchen Cabinets
      1. Manufactured in Wellsburg, W. Va. 
    30. Harrison Steel Cabinet Co. — officially the “Harrison Radiator Cover and Steel Kitchen Cabinet Company,” 3718 W 5th Ave., Chicago, per a reader tip.
      1. See Amy’s 1957 set of Harrison Steel Kitchen cabinets here.
    31. Hobart
    32. Hoffman
    33. Homart
    34. Hotpoint
      1. Aluminum kitchen cabinets introduced 1948
      2. I believe Hotpoint also had steel kitchen cabinets
    35. Humphreys Manufacturing
      1. Brochure
    36. J&L Steel, likely Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., (thanks, Chris!)
    37. Jamestown White Steel Kitchen Cabinets, made by Jamestown Metal Products, Inc., Jamestown, NY (also came in Apricot, Aqua, Green, and Yellow) 
    38. Jubilee
    39. KBC
    40. Kelvinator
      1. I am really thinking Kelvinator made steel kitchen cabinets — see the photo here and here
    41. King
    42. Kitchen Kraft
    43. Kitchen Queen — note, I do not think this is a brand — it is one of the Crane sink base designs that I spotted in my 1956 catalog. But I will leave it here from now just in case.
    44. Kelvinator
      1. See Molly’s salvaged Kelvinators here.
    45. Kohler
    46. Levitt 
      1. Yes, as in Levittown!
    47. Lustron
      1. We suspect they made their own steel cabinets for their steel houses. Thanks, Jim!
    48. Lyon
    49. Leisure Made
    50. Majestic Stove Company
      1. 1923 source found indicating they may had “more elaborate cabinets” than just kitchenets or apartment alcove units — suggests there may have been an early “fitted” kitchen — need to find illustrations! Evolved from Powell, then into Murphy Cabranettes. See this story.
    51. Marvel Metal Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois
      1. See 1950 catalog and info. Sold as Westline Steel Kitchen Cabinets by Western Auto Dealers.
    52. Midwest Mfg. Company, Galesburg, Illinois
    53. Miller Metal Products, Inc.
    54. Modern Steel Co., Geneva, Ill.
      1. Precursor to Geneva Kitchen Cabinets
    55. Montgomery Ward
      1. 1941 catalog of Montgomery Ward steel kitchen cabinets
      2. Later marketed as Signature by Montgomery Ward. Reference. May also have had a brand marketed as “Fairway”; manufacturer was Central Manufacturing of Connersville, Ind., a company involved in a web of connections to the steel kitchen cabinet industry.
    56. Morgan Kitchen Cabinet 
    57. Morhand Kitchens
    58. Morton, of Libertyville, Illinois, beginning in 1942.
      1. Story and four-page brochure here. 
      2. See some Mortons here.
    59. Murray
      1. Advertising depiction
    60. Murphy Cabranettes, made by Murphy Door Bed Co. and later, Dwyer Products Corp.
        1. Big story here — the earliest fitted kitchen I’ve validated so far. 
        2. Likely an evolution of Powell and Majestics; then, evolved into Dwyer.
    61. Nationaline — although may have been made by another major manufacturer and rebranded Nationaline.
    62. Olympia Aluminum Kitchen Kabinets, Olympia, Wash.
      1. Made by Western Metalcraft / Metalware in both aluminum and steel
      2. Story here.
    63. Palace
    64. Palley Manufacturing Co.
    65. Paul (U.K.)
    66. Peerless-Mayer
    67. Powell Steel Gas Kitchens
      1. As early as 1919 — but may only have been kitchenets or unitized apartment alcove kitchens. Sold exclusively by Murphy Bed Door Co. and subsequently renamed Majestic, then Murphy Cabranettes. See this story.
    68. Puritan 
    69. RCA-Whirlpool
    70. Regency, Rosedale, Mississippi
      1. 12-page catalog from the 1950s
    71. Republic, made by Berger Manufacturing of Canton Ohio, which was part of Republic Steel Corp. Predecessors in this three-sibling family were Berloy steel cabinets and Berger steel cabinets (see separate entries).
      1. I have several stories about Republic Steel Kitchen cabinets, which seem to have been a well-advertised brand in the 1950s and likely into the 1960s. 
    72. Reynolds — aluminum cabinets, possibly. reference
    73. Roberts & Mander Corp.
    74. S.M. Shower Door Co. — Bronx, NY. Catalog on its way to me 10/13/2020.
    75. St. Charles
      1. I have many stories about St. Charles cabinets. This was the creme de la creme manufacturer. St. Charles seems to have started in 1935 when it bought out Janes & Kirtland, maker of the “White House Line” steel “dressers”. Unclear whether Janes & Kirtland made unitized cabinets; see entry below. 
    76. Sellers Kitchen Furniture, Elmwood, Indiana
      1. As early as 1939. Reference here.
    77. Servel, Evansville, Indiana
      1. This brand had a rare, museum-worthy feature. See my c. 1948 catalog.
      2. I also believe this brand of steel kitchen cabinets was designed by famed industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes.
    78. Sears — a manufacturer was Central Manufacturing of Connersville, Ind., a company involved in a web of connections to the steel kitchen cabinet industry.
    79. Shirley All-Steel Kitchens and bathroom cabinets
      1. 1952 catalog and founder info
      2. Bathroom sink base and sink top spotted on craigslist
    80. Signature
      1. A brand of Montgomery Ward (see above.) Set spotted in avocado green in Walworth, Wisconsin. 
    81.  Standard
      1. Later merged with American to become American-Standard
      2. 1938 catalog including Standard steel kitchen cabinets here.
      3. Steel Kitchens Corporation of Waukegan, Illinois and c. 1933 relocated to Connersville, Indiana.
    82. Sterling – Jordan spotted this on his grandparents’ kitchen sink base. Not sure if they made entire kitchen sets, but will put in this placeholder pending further research.
    83. Stewart
    84. Swanco
    85. Thriftee
    86. Tracy, Tracy Manufacturing Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reference
    87. Universal-Rundle, New Castle, Pennsylvania
    88. United Lifetime Kitchens
    89. United Metal Cabinet Corp./United Metal Box Co., Brooklyn
    90. Walters Steel-Fashioned Cabinets, Walters Manufacturing Co., Oakmont, Pennsylvania 1954 reference
    91. Westinghouse
      1. See this kitchen from 1947.
    92. Westline Steel Kitchen Cabinets — sold by Western Auto dealer;
      1. See Marvel Metal Manufacturing Products, the manufacturer, story above.
    93. White House Line by Janes & Kirtland, St. Charles, Illinois
      1. Story here
      2. Importantly, Janes & Kirtland seems to have been bought out by St. Charles in 1935, although it continued with the White House Line for at least a few years.   Janes & Kirtland was a longtime maker of ornamental iron and later, “steel dressers” in the vein of Hoosier cabinets. We’ve seen ‘extended’ dressers (1929), but still need to determine whether they made unitized cabinets (the subject of this Encyclopedia.) 
    94. White Mountain
    95. Whitehead Monel
      1. 20-page catalog from 1937.
    96. Wood-Metal Kitchen Cabinets 
    97. Yorktown
    98. Youngstown, made by Mullins Manufacturing Company based in Warren, Ohio
      1. I have many many stories about Youngstown Steel Kitchen cabinets — without a doubt the most popular brand ever sold in America. One of the stories says that at one time they had some 40 manufacturing plants across the U.S.!

    Metal kitchen cabinets made outside the U.S.:

    I have not tried to identify steel and aluminum kitchen cabinets made outside the U.S. in the mid 20th Century. But I’ve started capturing them as I see them, including with the help of our wonderful readers!:

    1. Anemone Kitchen Furnishings (U.K.)
      1. Brochure
    2. English Rose (U.K.)(Aluminium)
    3. Galgo Steel Kitchens and Vanities — Mexico brand see reference here
    4. Kirby (Australia)

    Note: In my compendium, I do not include companies that seemed only to have made single-unit items. That is, some companies made steel hoosier cabinets… some made only a sink base with sink… and companies like Dwyer made apartment kitchen combos. I don’t include these — I want to focus on companies that made complete kitchens with lots of mix-and-match models that you could order in bulk to fill out a typical family fitted kitchen. In this sense, I should probably not include Lustron on the big list above, as it was bespoke only for Lustron houses; I may take out of the list at some point — or perhaps make and put it into a supplementary list along with the other such units described in this section; pondering.

  1. Diane says:

    I have Beauty Queen cabinets. Originally pink (still pink inside) but have been painted over with yellow then white and knobs were added to my upper cabinets. Trying to decide best way to remove the yellow and white paint. I’m looking for a pivot hinge for the door under my sink. Any ideas?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Diane,

      When it comes to dealing with paint I recommend you consult with a professional since old paint can contain hazards like lead. Renovate Safe!

      On pivot hinges, I don’t have a good answer. I’ve tried researching this over time, there ARE pivot hinges out there made new that you could try. In some (many) cases, I think that retro renovators try to find another cabinet and scavenge from it.

      Finally, my apologies for not answering this sooner. I sat it in moderation to take time to respond, then time got away from me and it just sat there til now.

      Good luck with all, Pam

  2. Greg says:

    Question for the group. Perchance would any of you have a recommendation as to where to post to sell very good Beauty Craft kitchen cabinets. I am trying to sell a complete set in pink that are in very good condition. Thank you

  3. Melanie Camenisch says:

    Hello I have a 1949 Youngstown metal kitchen cabinet. I was told it is one of the rare pieces. Can anyone help me to find out more info on it Please ? I have hit a dead end! Thanks !

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Yes, I have long meant to do more research on this — “American” brand steel cabinets were sold in Belgium!

  4. Laura J says:

    Have harrison metal cabinets in our kitchen. Need to replace the base cabinet with the stove top in it.

    Need advice on how to remove it.

    Cabinet are yellow..any collector interested in it once we take it out??

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Laura J, we’ve identified 80+ brands of steel kitchen cabinets so don’t have all the details on how to install or un-install them. You might look for an old catalog and see if it has instructions (google to search for a catalog.) Also note, no buying/selling here on the blog or it becomes chaos.

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