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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

Most recently updated: Oct. 13, 2020.

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. May also have had a brand marketed as “Fairway”
  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
  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.
  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.

Read more:

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Pam Kueber says:

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

  2. 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 !

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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

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