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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

Pam’s vintage Geneva kitchen, photo copyright Kit Latham

postwar-steel-intro-photo.jpg

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!

First up, please read:

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 reference
    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.
    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 
  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. Gennesee
  29. Hallmark Custom Steel Kitchen Cabinets
    1. Manufactured in Wellsburg, W. Va. 
  30. Hotpoint
    1. Steel cabinets, but cabinets made of
    2. Aluminum kitchen cabinet introduced 1948
  31. Harrison Steel Cabinet Co., Chicago
    1. See Amy’s 1957 set of Harrison Steel Kitchen cabinets here.
  32. Hobart
  33. Hoffman
  34. Homart
  35. Humphreys Manufacturing
    1. Brochure
  36. J&L Steel, likely Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., (thanks, Chris!)
  37. Jamestown
  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.
  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. 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. 
  75. Sellers Kitchen Furniture, Elmwood, Indiana
    1. As early as 1939. Reference here.
  76. 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.
  77. Sears
  78. Shirley All-Steel Kitchens and bathroom cabinets
    1. 1952 catalog and founder info
    2. Bathroom sink base and sink top spotted on craigslist
  79. Signature
    1. A brand of Montgomery Ward (see above.) Set spotted in avocado green in Walworth, Wisconsin. 
  80.  Standard
    1. Later merged with American to become American-Standard
    2. 1938 catalog including Standard steel kitchen cabinets here.
  81. Stewart
  82. Swanco
  83. Thriftee
  84. Tracy, Tracy Manufacturing Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reference
  85. Universal-Rundle, New Castle, Pennsylvania
  86. United Lifetime Kitchens
  87. United Metal Cabinet Corp./United Metal Box Co., Brooklyn
  88. Walters Steel-Fashioned Cabinets, Walters Manufacturing Co., Oakmont, Pennsylvania 1954 reference
  89. Westinghouse
    1. See this kitchen from 1947.
  90. Westline Steel Kitchen Cabinets — sold by Western Auto dealer;
    1. See Marvel Metal Manufacturing Products, the manufacturer, story above.
  91. 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.) 
  92. White Mountain
  93. Whitehead Monel
    1. 20-page catalog from 1937.
  94. Wood-Metal Kitchen Cabinets 
  95. Yorktown
  96. 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.

Read more:

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Dennis says:

    Just noticed that Holly Golightly’s kitchen has metal cabinets in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Couldn’t tell which manufacturer.

  2. Carolyn H says:

    I have a Beauty Queen metal sink base cabinet with a porcelian drain board sink. We are in the process of renovating our kitchen and have removed all of the wood cabinets. We’re not sure if we want to restore the sink base since it’s rusted through on one side and the bottom has a lot of rust too. We plan to have the sink restored because I love that old sink so much.

  3. Charlotte says:

    When we purchased our cabin, it came with a steel base cabinet. The sink is recessed on top (not a porcelain top) . The only name or identifying information I can find on it is “Blackhawk” on a large name plate across the front. I didn’t see Blackhawk on your list of cabinets and Google hasn’t been of any help to me. Has anyone heard of Blackhawk? Is it a model and not a manufacturer? Any information would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  4. Erin says:

    You sound like a great resource. We have several brands of vintage metal cabinets that we have been installing in our house. We are missing several of the ball stud catches as well as the piece they fit into (whatever that’s called). Any suggestions on where to find replacements parts. I’ve been unsuccessful in locating any. Thanks!

  5. Vanessa says:

    We are in the process of purchasing an older cabin that has a vintage 1941 American Standard sink in lovely shape (I was able to find that one on eBay to figure out what it is – at least I’m ALMOST positive!!) It also has a Youngstown kitchen in great shape – this is pretty much where I decided we had to get this place! Of course I will investigate more when we move in a month as I was too excited to remember to write anything down but I’d never seen anything like it – in this kind of good condition I mean. I guess what I’m trying to figure out now is, are the cabinet pulls and faucet accessories original (because they are shiny as new and I just can’t believe it!! BUT the bathroom sink appears to have original hardware so I thought just maybe…) and if so, do we keep going on using these in our everyday lives?? How can I clean them without ruining anything?? I have always said I won’t buy something vintage and NOT use it because that’s half the fun for me but I know how collectible they are from reading your articles. That’s actually what made me realize what they were in the first place! I have some photos and I plan to take more next time we go back. Any advice would be welcome, especially from you as this is one of the only blogs I go to for vintage info (seriously!!)

    Thank you in advance!!!!!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Vanessa, and welcome. You are asking a lot of questions all kind of blended together.

      (1) Here’s a story to get you started — https://retrorenovation.com/2014/09/15/9-tips-start-remodeling/
      (2) Regarding whether something is original or new, it’s hard to say without doing more research. See our stories about Youngstown Kitchen Cabinets (use the Search box, it works really well) to see what some of the original hardware looks like.
      (3) Regarding cleaning, I am not an expert. On this and relative to other vintage products, materials and layers in your house, be aware that there may be hazards you need to become aware of before proceeding — on this, get with properly licensed professional(s) to assess what you are working with so you can make informed decision how to handle. For more info and some link see our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page –> https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

      Good luck with all!

  6. Elizabeth Mary says:

    Hi Pam,

    My sink is in a metal cabinet marked Admiral Metal Products, Chicago. Is that the same as Admiral? I did find an upper cabinet on ebay so am thinking it is/was not just a sink cabinet maker, but haven’t found anything else yet.

    Elizabeth

  7. Colleen says:

    I’m renovating a metal sink/cabinet unit to go into my new-construction house. The only writing on it is a stencil on the back of the sink that includes “KMP” and a date of 1950. Guessing the “MP” might stand for “metal products”, any idea what brand this might be? There’s also a “526” stamped on the very bottom of the unit. That’s probably a model number, I’m guessing.

    1. KimberKarolina says:

      Hi Colleen! Have you found any additional information on your sink? Wish I could help, but I’m having the same dilemma! Your post confirms that I’m reading my stamp correctly and KMP DOES exist!! My stamp reads 1952 & below that KMP.526.7 Any information you have will save my sanity! I’ve been obsessively searching with zero results

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