My rare Lyon Kitchen cabinets saleman’s sample kit — with real metal cabinets !

My new treasure: A rare Lyon kitchen cabinets salesman’s sample kit. Why rare? Because the little pieces are made of heavy duty metal (pot metal? aluminum?) — not plastic, as we normally see in other sets from Republic (see my exquisite set here), Geneva (we spotlighted a set here), etc. Take a look at my video – this set is an oldie! *soproud* it’s now mine. Note: This video features the song Acoustic Meditation by Jason Shaw is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Thanks, Jason!Seriously, I have quite the historical collection of ephemera covering all 80+ brands of vintage metal cabinets amassing. 

Some photos, nom nom:

Above: The mystery piece. As reader Rosemary suggested in comments, yes, perhaps it is the top / back / corner of a banquette… but the rest of the pieces are missing. I’ve already put the kit away. But as soon as I can I’ll get it back out and assess the sizing to guess if this is a possibility. Thanks, Rosemary, for the idea!

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Dan says:

    Elaborate sales kits like this are emblematic of an era when many homemakers, especially in the new suburbs, were pretty much trapped in their neighborhoods during the week. Second cars were a rarity, and public transportation often nonexistent. There was very little the average household needed that could not be bought from a traveling salesman or delivered, including groceries and liquor in many places. The decline of the home salesman may have meant a decline in personal service, but it also signifies growth in freedom of movement for the average homemaker.

  2. Jay says:

    Well, I must say; metal miniature samples sure are more representative of the actual full sized product then plastic ones. These are interesting, shame there is no date on it but then we know it dates no later then 1941 when war broke out. Surprised this didn’t land on a heap of metal somewhere during the numerous community scrap drives during the war. You need to create a virtual museum or publish a book of all these wonderful things you have acquired (yeah, in your spare time).

  3. Erik i Minneapolis says:

    Did you hold a magnet to them?

    They look like die-cast zinc alloy (pot metal) to me.

    If a magnet sticks, they’re iron. If not, they’re most likely pot metal or possibly aluminum.

    Also – don’t be afraid to clean them. Wash them in some soapy water. If you are ambitious, you can polish them with some very fine automotive polish (test a spot first) followed by an application of car wax.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks. I also realize they may be painted with paint containing lead. So I’ve been washing my hands after I touch them…. Be Safe / Renovate Safe!

      1. Heidi E. says:

        Quite possible the whole thing is made out of lead, for that matter. I seem to recall that lead toy soldiers were a thing at the time period this is likely to be.

    2. pam kueber says:

      Okay. So I put a magnet on em. No go.

      I’ll change the headline and text, alas, the video will say cast iron for eternity unless I redo it.

  4. Susan H. says:

    Wow, Pam! Congratulations! What a great find — and in cast iron, no less! I have a Young ngstown salesman sample kit, but, alas (*dramatically raises back if hand to forehead*), it’a plastic.

  5. Lynne says:

    Do you think this is from the 1930’s , Pam? With it being for metal cabinets, wouldn’t it have to be pre-WW2? Didn’t they stop making that sort of thing during the war and then all the factories resumed their normal productions post war?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yes, I think it could be 1930s or early 1940s. I also say that based on the stove design.

      I should also say, I was just thinking, and in honor of historical accuracy: The pieces might be cast aluminum, not cast iron. I don’t know how to tell/determine the difference. Anyone?

        1. Heidi E. says:

          That, and iron is whole lot heavier than aluminum. But if you aren’t accustomed to handling metals to intuitively feel the difference and don’t have a similar volume of the other metal to compare, then the magnet would work to rule out or confirm iron. I assume you are certain it’s not lead?

          1. pam kueber says:

            I don’t know how to tell the difference… Before I get much older, I will likely try to figure out how to donate my entire collection to a museum or some such, either before or after I die, so I’ll let them figure it out, if in fact there are any takers. Meanwhile the whole set goes into my basement storage area along with my others…

  6. Rosemary says:

    Could the weird little piece be part of a built in bench/table? As we know, the built-in table/nook was part of many older homes.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Rosemary, great thought! I just added to the story itself, based on your comment: I think it might be the back of a banquette. The top, upholstered part, corner piece. Other pieces missing.

  7. Bette Jean says:

    Wowza! My little grands would love to play with those. More damage would be done to our tile floors, walls and windows than the “toys!”????

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