Inside the 1947 Florida State Fair — new kitchen appliances for everyone!

kelvinator vintage stoveIt’s 1947 and time to redeem the war bonds for — kitchen appliances of course! Lots of big makers — Kelvinator, Westinghouse, Philco, Roper, Magic Chef — were on hand to show their products and compete for families’ stockpiled savings. Above: Will it be a new Kelvinator range? Photo: (State Archives of Florida)

philco kitchen appliances 1947Manufacturers whose products used natural gas industry were pitted against those who used electric. Philco was pushing electric (State Archives of Florida) This photo and the next look like the manufacturers were part of one long booth sponsored and managed by the electric home appliance industry — see the “Live Electrically” along the top?

Westinghouse was electric, too. (State Archives of Florida)

gas stoves 1947The gas appliance industry also had a booth for all their member companies. (State Archives of Florida)

vintage speed queen washers and manglesThere were Speed Queen washers and mangles (ironers) too. Still quite old-fashioned looking… When did the more modern, automatic clothes washer come into being? (State Archives of Florida)

There were phonographs too. I see these at almost all the estate sales I go to. No one buys them. (State Archives of Florida)

Fitted kitchens for the masses: Launched for real right about this time. 1947. The war was over. Housing production was beginning to ramp up in earnest. Folks were finally getting “modern” homes (I just read again the other day that in 1940, only half of American homes had complete indoor bathrooms.) That’s only… 7o years… of modern kitchens, modern homes in the U.S.

Categoriespostwar culture
  1. Kim says:

    I have a photo of my grandmother standing in her kitchen in Michigan that is so similar to the 1947 Florida State Fair kitchen I had to look twice to make sure she was not standing in that kitchen!! Same layout, almost the same white cabinets. I treasure that photo!!

  2. JJR says:

    “Wringers” were on top of washers. “Mangles” were rotary “irons” … great for sheets (before fitted), pillowcases, napkins, handkerchiefs — all kinds of “flat linens.” However, my mother was so adept with her mangle, she would do shirts, pants, skirts, blouses with it. Zip, zip, zip … and it was done.

  3. Carol says:

    I remember:
    Sprinking clothes and putting them in the freezer for a while before ironing so everything became damp…
    Ironing handkerchiefs and boxer shorts
    The wringer at the Banff Hot Springs pools – we put our bathing suits through it before leaving
    Aaahhh, the good old days!

  4. Sandra says:

    English is a very flexible language, so if you mingle “mangle” and “wringer,” and then wash, rinse, repeat, it can take a while to iron out and wrangle the meaning. At least, so it appears to me. At least I’m not agitated.

  5. CarolK says:

    Nell, I can’t find your post to reply, but my mom had those pants stretchers, too. I think my sister has them now and I believe that Vermont Country Store has new ones. They did anyway the last time I checked.

  6. Danita says:

    I ironed on a mangler in the late 1950s. The name ‘Mangler’ sure was correct. I’d put in the pillow cases & they’d come out with either a crease where you didn’t want or a jumbled bunch ironed flat! Ditto on the hankerchiefs. We ironed everything in those years. No steam irons, Mom had a sprinkler bottle to lightly dampen clothes when ironing. When Mom said it was ironing day, my sister & I took off. Thank goodness for dryers & wash ‘n wear fabric.

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