avocado color in kitchensWhen was Avocado introduced as a kitchen appliance color? On various sites, I’ve seen the answer to this question generalized as “the 1960s”. But, there is a real answer, and given the popularity of the color, along with and its longstanding place in the American zeitgeist, this particular moment in interior design history deserves to be acknowledged.

So:

Q. When was Avocado introduced as a color on kitchen appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers?

A. 1966.

And

Q. Who introduced it?

A. General Electric and — update: it looks like Whirlpool (and maybe Amana), too!

GE introduces Avocado color appliances in 1966Well, that’s to the best of my knowledge and ongoing research  — and according to longtime reader Patrick, who has done extensive research on kitchen appliance colors and influenced me to be interested in the timeline.

Avocado kitchen appliances “hand-in-hand with the Danish modern look of the late 1960s.”

In an infographic from their c. 2012 press room, link here >>http://pressroom.geappliances.com/_gallery/get_file/?file_id=529fac03fe058b269b0215cf << GE says:

1966: Mix-or-Match Colors [introduced in 1955] gave way to Coppertone (1964), Avocado (1966) and Harvest Gold (1968) — all of which were darkened around the front edges of the appliances. These new colors went hand-in-hand with the Danish modern look of the late 1960s. During this time, color remained a critical factor for fashion-conscious consumers.

1970s kitchen appliance colors from GE

Ten years later — in 1976 — GE launched “Fresh Avocado.” Googling around, I see that Fresh Avocado did not have the darkening around the front edges. The Harvest Gold also became Harvest Wheat — and still looked quit harvest gold-y — and also did not have darkened edges.

Research continues: 1966 — or 1965?

UPDATE: A reader reports they have two Whirlpool kitchen appliances — a cook top and a vent hood — that are avocado and were installed in 1965. So far, I (1) found a Whirlpool ad from 1966 that shows a variety of kitchen appliances in a variety of colors — including a dishwasher in avocado. So, I am presuming that both companies — GE and Whirlpool — had suites of kitchen appliances in Avocado in 1966. But can we validate 1965 in marketing materials or media reports?

Further UPDATE: Reader Duane writes:

Hi Pam!

I have an extensive collection of automotive paint chips, and also a few appliance chips, too. I’ve got a set of chips from 1965 from PPG that shows Avocado as a mixed color (actually 3 separate colors), which means someone was using it for that year (PPG made paint for Whirlpool, Amana, and GE).

This is great info — thank you, Duane! However, I would still like to see documentation of Avocado actually used in 1965 on major kitchen appliances. So far, I (2) find Westinghouse advertisements from 1964 for a light harvest-y gold washing machine, and from 1965 for a brown washer and dryer. In ’64, it looks like Westinghouse refrigerators (and likely suites of kitchen appliances) were still in pastels. The question now is open to validate with published materials: Did Westinghouse really bring Avocado to KITCHEN APPLIANCES to market in ’65, one year before GE? And, now we need to check Amana, too!

Of course, after these companies launched Avocado in 1966, many other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon with their own avocado appliances. I tend to think that Avocado was more popular than Harvest Gold, but that’s a guess from seeing lots of vintage kitchens over the years. 

I don’t know when the last Avocado kitchen appliance bid its farewell to the mainstream manufacturer-led marketplace. Kohler says that their avocado sinks, tubs and toilets spanned 1967-1979. I will guess that for kitchen stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers, one or more manufactures likely hung in there until … some time into the late 1980s. What do you think?

Today (2020) there are several manufacturers who again will get you this color or get it close. BlueStarBig ChillElmira Stoveworks/Northstar … all offer an expansive selection of colors for stoves, refrigerators and dishwasher panels. Kitchenaid even introduced an Avocado Cream range in 2020. 

So there you have it: Avocado kitchen appliances, hello 1966 (or maybe 1965, for now, pending any further data!) — and back again!

Categoriespaint
  1. Margie C. says:

    I fondly remember colors in facial tissues, paper towels, and toilet tissue. Pink, blue, and green, as well as white, and more patterned designs on paper towels.

  2. ineffablespace says:

    Kohler golds and and earthy or dull greens went through a number of permutations from the 1950s all the way up to 1990. They just didn’t always call them gold or avocado. My parents’ friend had a house built in the 1950s that had gold fixtures in one bathroom and the kitchen sink, but they were probably “Sunrise” which was just a bit brighter. My parents’ house still had an “avocado” refrigerator (1969) in the basement, when the house was sold in 2015. But it was really much closer to Kohler’s Aspen Green which was around until the mid-late 80s.

  3. Melinda says:

    I was close! I guessed 1967 before I opened the article. I think that’s pretty good considering I was born in 1969. From my memories of suburban childhood, I’d have to guess Coppertone was the most popular color.

  4. Maria says:

    I’m my neck of the wood, SF Bay Area, harvest gold was everywhere in the 1970s. Just about every newer home I went in had it in the kitchen. Of course there was some avocado, but harvest gold was more common for some reason.

  5. Dan says:

    My folks redid their kitchen about 1975 – dark brown cabinets, orange counter and floor, GE appliances in copper with the “halo” effect. That vaguely Mediterranean look in rural Pennsylvania, of all places! My brother lives in the house now and, as far as I know, the fridge and dishwasher are still going strong, although the range was replaced some time ago.

  6. Linda says:

    Oh, to have a reasonably priced line of avocado appliances once again! 4k+ for a 30″ inch range is out of my league as I stare down retirement. I hope my current bisque range holds out while the wave of stainless passes and colors trickle down once again!

  7. Chris Lankenau says:

    Yep…the kitchen in my 1968 childhood home had the Coppertone appliances with darkened edges which nicely complimented the avocado green linoleum floor! And vegetable print wallpaper containing the same family of hues.

  8. Lisa Nieman says:

    My parents moved into their newly built home in a Detroit suburb 5 days after I was born in 1963. It was outfitted with Coppertone appliances including a wall oven and gas cooktop. The only refrigerator I recall was white. The washer and dryer were white. There was no dishwasher at the time but my parents got a Kenmore dishwasher to match sometime later. So Coppertone must have been around then. I’m trying to remember if they were shaded. I’ll have to ask my folks for pictures. I’m almost certain they were not shaded. In our 1963 suburban tract many houses had the coppertone appliances but most were white, as I recall. Lots of avocado and harvest gold as time went on.

  9. Duane W says:

    Hi Pam!

    I have an extensive collection of automotive paint chips, and also a few appliance chips, too. I’ve got a set of chips from 1965 from PPG that shows Avocado as a mixed color (actually 3 separate colors), which means someone was using it for that year (PPG made paint for Whirlpool, Amana, and GE). I can email photos of the chips if you’d like to see them.

  10. Amber says:

    What I’ve seen just from pictures is that the avocado-y colors and other muted greens in the house seemed like they were restricted to colors on things other than large appliances in the 50s, but not actual stoves, dishwashers, or laundry machines, large appliances until the 60s. One thing I find interesting is that you do sometimes come across old versions of stainless steel appliances, so apparently it was period appropriate during certain times, just not that popular! I don’t know how to link pictures into the comments (so I won’t even try) but on page 50 of this booklet you’ll see pale avacado-like cabinets in a 1957 kitchen, with a stainless steel oven. The next page has another stainless steel dishwasher. Funny how things take off or don’t at certain times.
    https://archive.org/details/TheBookOfPeaseHomesFor1957_132/page/n49/mode/1up

  11. pam kueber says:

    @ Duane, thanks for this info! I will add this info to the story! Although — I’d still like to see documentation of the colors actually ON large kitchen appliances!

  12. Kelly Wittenauer says:

    In 1968, friends of my parents bought a new home under construction. They chose Avocado for the kitchen appliances. We once owned a home built in 1976, with original range, hood, dishwasher & fridge in Harvest Gold. Another house we had was built somewhere between the late ’60s & mid ’70s. The stove, fridge & dishwasher were newer. But the range hood was Harvest Gold, as were the tubs/showers, sinks & toilets in all 3 bathrooms. So I’d bet the rest of the original kitchen appliances were as well.

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