John Jowers is the owner of Antique Appliances — one of the longest-standing companies known for restoring vintage ranges and refrigerators. Golly, I’ve known about his company for more than 20 years. It first came into my view when I wrote my first story ever about vintage homes, a story about vintage stoves for the Sunday “At Home” section of the now-defunct Ann Arbor News. So, I was kinda geeked when he wrote me last week to ask where he could find a sheet of glitter Textolite to restore the “countertop” of a 1964 GE Americana range that he is working on. John, I don’t think you’re gonna get the answer you wanted to hear…
Any assistance in locating a sheet of GE Textolite TX-4500 in White Gold would be much appreciated.
The last image is my dad, Marvin Jowers, in 1964 at a GE Appliance product preview in Las Vegas. The lady is the GE home economist, demonstrating the new style refrigerator.
GREAT photo, John!
Where to find vintage sparkle laminate?
John, you are surely right that the laminate used on the GE Americana was Textolite. That’s because GE also owned Textolite. Tidbit: I live in Lenox, Mass., one town over from Pittsfield, Mass. Pittsfield was the longtime home of GE Plastics, until the company was sold about a decade ago. Laminates are plastics — and we still have some companies around here that are tied to the laminate industry.
Alas, John: This glitter laminate is not made any more. We have done several stories about this issue in the past. Glitter laminate was first introduced by Formica in 1957, and other companies quickly jumped on the sales trend. Because of the incredible popularity of this laminate, I started archiving vintage samples and so far, have identified 42 historic designs of glitter laminate from Formica, Wilsonart, Textolite, Wilsonart, and more.
The only way that I know of to find this laminate today is to scour places like the ReStore for Humanity and look for a piece that you can repurpose. I was at my local ReStore on Friday and spotted a decent-sized piece of Textolite Primrose Twilight, above.
- I have bought three pieces of sparkle laminate from the ReStore over the past five years or so. So, it is around — but it may take time.
- I recall that some readers have commented that the glitter can oxidize over time and change color. So that ups the ante further, in terms of trying to find a good, usable piece. (All of the pieces I have are in great shape. It’s like… that stuff was almost indestructible.)
- Be Safe/Renovate Safe: If you are considering trying to strip the laminate off the old substrate, be aware that vintage materials and their layers may contain hazards. Best to get with your own properly licensed professional to assess what you are dealing with. For more info, see our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page here.
Other laminates to use as a proxy?
Will your customer accept a reproduction of a different 1960s laminate? If so, how about “Compre” by Wilsonart. This is a document pattern from Wilsonart’s archives and could work for the ’64 Americana given the laminate is predominantly white and with the gray flowers, would harmonize the chrome on the refrigerator.
Wilsonart has the largest selection of retro laminates — including our “Retro Renovation by Wilsonart” boomerang laminates 🙂
There are some other tone-on-white laminates to consider in this story.
And to dig in to all our research, see our Kitchen Help / Countertops subcategory.
Good luck, John!
Readers: Check out John’s company, Antique Appliances, here. He has all kinds of treasures to see, including this hard-to-find 1949 Roper Town & Country — it’s ready to be completely remanufactured for a new home — maybe yours?!