Morton steel kitchen cabinets — since 1942

morton steel kitchen cabinets
Morton Steel Kitchen Cabinets were another relatively early brand. And oh so cute: They called their cabinets “Kit Unette”s and had an illustrated model by the same name. My four-page brochure does not have a date on it, but I found a site that has these cabinets launching in 1942. Note: I think this catalog is from later. Earlier in the blog’s history, we saw much more complicated deco-design Mortons that surely must have pre-dated these full-overlay door styles.

morton steel kitchen cabinets

History of Morton Steel Kitchen Cabinets

According to this history on the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society website, Morton Manufacturing began manufacturing its steel cabinets in 1942 in Libertyville, Illinois. The Historical Society says the cabinets were sold through a division of Nash-Kelvinator Sales Corp. and had as many as 130 employees by the mid-1950s. Hmmm… I believe that at some point we also had Kelvinator cabinets. Another relationship to try and wrangle once the Encyclopedia is more built out and I can look at things side-by-side.

morton steel kitchen cabinets
These are the earlier design of Morton steel kitchen cabinets — Laura collected a bunch for her kitchen renovation.
morton kitchen cabinet
This is just one of a number of pieces from an original design Morton Steel Kitchen currently for sale on ebay. So sturdy looking — so beautiful! Photo courtesy seller ickeydooey 🙂

More googling, and I find that a company called Metalex acquired Morton in 2005. By then, Morton was focusing on another product. All’s still based in Libertyville today, though! 

Metalex’s website also says that Morton had been in business since 1903. So, let’s guess they always worked in metals, and a line extension into metal kitchen cabinets in the 1940s became part of their growing business. 

  • Current Morton set on sale from seller ickeydooey >> here <<

morton steel kitchen cabinets

Some features of these est. 1950s Morton metal kitchen cabinets

morton steel cabinet pulls
Above: Distinctive-ish cabinet pulls.

alternative to a hudee ring
Above: Interestingly, Morton would make your sink base to any size — eliminating the need for those annoying filler strips (and lost inches). And in the photo at the bottom, note what looks to be Morton’s alternative design to a hudee ring. Remember: We have documentation that at one point there were 1,062 different sizes of hudee rings made! You know this is one of my favorite topics ever. Hudee hudee hudee. Oh, see the text of the Morton gasket it mentions lead, not one of my favorite topics ever, but adulting: Renovate safe.

hanging steel kitchen cabinets
Above: Here’s how the Morton wall cabinets were hung. [I am sure they don’t mean for you to STAND ON THE KITCHEN COUNTERTOP to hang your wall cabinets, including all by yourself, like Ms. Kit Unette shown here!]Of course, this particular hanging method does not necessarily apply to any other cabinets. Remember: We’re at, like 90 brands, including many that were redesigned over the years, like cars. 

morton steel kitchen cabinets
morton steel kitchen cabinets libertyville illinois
All cabinets came in white, but you could order special colors.

So there you have them: Morton Steel Kitchen Cabinets. I mean, Kab Unettes!

You are now in the universe’s epicenter of all steel kitchen cabinet research:

  1. Camille Brown says:

    Hello, is there a thread on hanging these cabinets? I think IKEA makes a metal rail. I was going to see if that works. It looks similar to the hanging rain in the picture. Please share.

  2. Ashley Gilliland says:

    we have a full set of Morton steel kitchen cabinets. 2 of our small uppers need a replacement ribbed/fluted and frosted sliding door. Any suggestions on where we could obtain these? We live in a very rural area and our glass shops prefer not to accommodate.
    Thanks in advance!!

  3. CarolK says:

    These look very much like the steel cabinets that are in Margo Channing’s (Bette Davis’) apartment kitchen in All About Eve. Margo takes Max Fabian into the kitchen to get some bicarb about 5 minutes after she says “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night!”

    Not only an I am RetroRenovation fan, but I’m also a fan of old/classic films and I love it when they meet.

    1. Neil says:

      Me too!
      I musta watched Margo drunkenly confess to being “40! Four oh.” in front of those cabinets dozens of times, and always admire the sliding glass doors behind her.
      Good catch!
      In fact, I watch classic movies all the time and always keep an eye trained on the fabulous vintage kitchens the set designers assembled……..

      1. Pam Kueber says:

        We just saw “Judy” — the new movie about Judy Garland. Of course, I noticed the kitchen cabinets in her ex husband’s Hollywood (?) home were English Roses — British cabinets, not American ones! Well, I think they were English Roses. Yes, it’s fun to notice the details!

  4. Neil Rhoads says:

    Miss Kit Unette is the cutest! Wonder why in some moments her left eye is covered and at other times it’s her right (a la Veronica Lake)…
    And, love that – in spite of wearing heels and a starched white apron, and having a 5-inch waist and only one eye in use – she can still lift and hang a steel wall cabinet!
    Love the sliding glass doors on the early models.
    I have some of those chrome pulls they feature, since I buy loose ones whenever I find them. The dark line running down the center is a stripe of black paint in a groove.
    Groovy research. You’re the boss.

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