Before the kitchens of today became clad in cold, stainless steel, they were the beating hearts of every home. Yep, these rooms harbored tools that added real character to the place. But nowadays most of those appliances are gone — though not forgotten. We’ll be taking a closer look at 40 of them right here, ranging from the strange to unique.
After emerging in the Tudor period, butter molds really came to the fore throughout the 1800s. No kitchen back then would be complete without them. But when people stopped producing the dairy product at home, they were no longer an essential item.
Today, though, the old appliances are enjoying a bit of comeback thanks to an increased interest in churning.
In the late 1880s, a patent was granted for an item described as a “potato-masher and fruit-crusher.” As time went on, these handy pieces were eventually dubbed potato ricers.
They produced fantastic servings of mash as a result of the tiny openings peppered around the sides. Yet now, you’re more likely to find graters or similar appliances in their place.
The “gourmet salad set” made for quite the intriguing tool in the past. It consisted of a wooden slab boasting a significant dip in the middle and a separate piece of steel.
You’d use the latter to slice up your greens, and it was pretty effective! Yet today, you’ll notice more refined appliances that can do the same job in the kitchen.
How about this for an intriguing tool? During the 1960s, condiment serving trays were fairly prominent in households.
Using the dishes balanced on a wood and metal centerpiece, you’d scoop up however much ketchup or mustard you wanted while tucking into a meal. Nowadays, though, the bottles of sauce are just placed on the dinner table instead, making the appliance obsolete.
Ah, tomato slicers. If you’re looking for one of these helpful tools right now, there’s a host of different options you can choose from online. But in the past, people had to make do with a more simplified version.
It was essentially a row of steel cutters attached to a wooden handle. We wonder how effective they were?
To say that the 1950s were an interesting time for kitchens would be a major understatement. There were so many strange appliances floating around! And this one has to be near the top of the list.
The “Wall Refrigerator-Freezer” was created with a simple goal in mind. As a 1956 issue of Better Homes & Gardens stated, “It puts all foods within easy reach.”
Created in the latter part of the 1800s, French butter dishes were made to keep the dairy product cool outside of a refrigeration system. All you needed to do was pour cold water on each side of a container sitting inside the appliance, which also housed the butter.
The items really took off in the 1970s and ’80s in America, but you’re less likely to spot them in kitchens today.
Modern potato mashers are pretty sleek items, with the hole-punched metal attachment at the bottom getting the job done. Years ago, though, they weren’t so glossy. Like, at all.
In fact, the vintage appliances wouldn’t have looked out of place hanging on a dungeon wall! As the Country Living website says, you’re not going to notice those things in today’s kitchens.
From hammers to bladed items, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to picking meat tenderizers at the moment. But in the past, these tools were more than a little terrifying. Trust us, we’re not exaggerating.
They resembled weapons that would’ve fit right in in a scary slasher movie! We’d be amazed if any modern kitchens still house the older appliances.
Milk glass has quite the history, folks. It first emerged in the years prior to the 16th century in Italy, ahead of becoming an in-demand kitchen item during the latter part of the 1800s.
Now, Southern Living reports that pieces made from the material are enjoying a resurgence in households. For our money, they still look absolutely fantastic!
While there are still question marks as to how long ice trays have been around for, one thing’s clear: aluminum racks were the go-to objects in kitchen fridges for a lengthy spell in the past.
But the metal appliances eventually made way for several different tools, such as built-in dispensers and “twist-and-pop” trays. Talk about a cool evolution, right?
Long before the internet was a thing, kitchens up and down the land would’ve included wooden containers that held recipe cards. They were perfect during that period.
Thanks to advancements in technology, though, these handy appliances have pretty much become obsolete in today’s households. All you need to do now is bookmark your recipes on a phone or digital tablet.
How’s this for a unique combo, folks? A device that included both a knife sharpener and electric can opener hit the shelves in the 1950s. It was like looking at a colorful box.
Now, while that particular design and style are very much a thing of the past, the appliance is still around. And it’s much sleeker than before.
During the 1950s, no kitchen would’ve been complete without a cookie press sitting in the cabinet. It was the ideal tool for making a batch of delicious treats from scratch.
Mind you, while presses are still available to buy, there’s a bigger selection to choose from right now. For instance, you can pick up plug-in tools that do the job automatically.
Nope, that’s not a garden spade. Prior to the invention of kitchen hot pads, cast-iron trivets were called upon to hold warm utensils so they didn’t burn the counters. Pretty neat, right?
Yet for as cool as they look, most households don’t rely on these items today. Instead, people use the aforementioned rubber tools, as well as oven mitts or tea towels.
Flour sifters were really helpful items to have on hand in the kitchen way back when. Why? Well, these tools would eliminate any lumps in the powdery ingredient before you’d add it to a recipe.
Today, though, the vast majority of packs that are available at the supermarket have been thoroughly filtered already. That essentially makes the appliance obsolete in modern homes.
There’s just something about handmade hot pads that warms our heart. You see, these things really can add character to a kitchen thanks to their gorgeous designs.
But due to the time and effort that’s required to create them, they’re not as prevalent in homes right now compared to the past. Instead, for quickness, most folks buy theirs from the store.
This idea just screams 1950s. Yes, during that spell, homeowners could purchase fridges that matched the interior of their kitchens. No joke. All they had to do was attach the mirrored material to the appliance’s shell.
And if a family decided to redecorate, they were able to switch up the chosen pattern as well. Modern refrigerators are pretty dull in comparison!
As opposed to using a knife, egg slicers were ideal tools for cutting up boiled eggs in the kitchen. The appliance itself was fairly no-frills, with a row of sharp steel wires sitting on a metal flap over a sturdy base.
The cutters of today have a much sleeker look about them, leaving their retro counterparts in the rearview mirror.
A stand-out appliance across the 19th century, wooden dough bowls had one important function. Yep, they allowed the foodstuff to “rise” in the kitchen after being mixed. But nowadays, the vintage tools have a different purpose around modern homes.
According to Southern Living, they’re utilized as “centerpiece containers” more often than not. That’s a surprising development, wouldn’t you agree?
If you fancied making your own slushies at home back in the 1950s, an ice crusher would’ve been perfect. All you’d have to do is turn the crank on the outside of the appliance to squash the cubes.
Now, updated versions of the retro tool can still be picked up today, as well as electric blenders that serve the same purpose.
During the 1970s, a new craze emerged for fans of Tupperware. Yes, an ice cream sandwich maker hit supermarket shelves at that time.
Using the individual pots in the pack, you could create multiple variations of the delicious treat from the comfort of your house. But like a lot of trends, it didn’t last forever. Good luck finding these sets in a modern kitchen!
Well, this certainly drums up memories of grandma’s kitchen. Stacks of labeled containers often sat on the shelves, with each one housing a particular item. Tea, flour, coffee — take your pick. And guess what, folks?
As per Southern Living, these old-fashioned tins are making a surprising comeback in modern homes. The concept hasn’t been lost to time, and we’re a-okay with that!
Here’s an interesting fact for you. Salad spinners made their bow in the United States in 1973, not long after first popping up in France. The 50th anniversary is close, then!
Anyway, the plastic tools became very popular, with their eye-catching colors getting a lot of the credit. You can still buy them today, yet they’re nowhere near as sought-after.
Kitchen items don’t come much more retro than this. Yep, hand-crank coffee grinders made you work for your caffeine beverage, with each turn shattering the beans. The appliance is definitely a thing of the past now, though.
In its place, you can buy electronic versions that break everything up following the flick of a switch. Talk about a welcome upgrade.
Before blenders came on the scene, people had to make do with food mills to mash ingredients together. It was a bladed utensil with a handle at the top, which allowed you to stir at your own pace.
Unsurprisingly, it required plenty of effort to garner the right results. But thanks to the aforementioned electronic appliance, they soon disappeared from kitchens.
After coming up with the idea years before, entrepreneur Irving Naxon finally unveiled his latest creation to the world during the 1950s. He named it the Naxon Beanery. The appliance was a slow-cooker, made in memory of Irving’s Lithuanian grandma. Or, more specifically, her tasty bean soup.
This tool proved to be a major hit at the time, but it was completely rebranded at the start of the ’70s.
There was a time in the 1970s when fondue sets were seemingly everywhere. To say they were popular kitchen appliances would be underselling it! Visually, the tools immediately caught your eye thanks to their crazy colors.
Yet in the years that followed, the cheesy Swiss snack lost its luster and appeared to fade from view. Recently, though, it’s enjoyed an exciting resurgence...
Between the 1950s and ’70s, you would’ve been hard-pressed to walk into a kitchen that didn’t contain a Pyrex casserole dish. They really were all the rage back then, boasting some beautiful designs on the exterior.
Now, though, these sets are looked upon as more of a collector’s item, as opposed to handy cooking utensils to keep in the cupboard.
Here’s a blast from the past. If folks wanted to whisk ingredients in their kitchen many years ago, they had to make do with a hand mixer.
To operate the tool, they’d have to crank the lever up top next to the handle. But these days, the appliances are pretty much obsolete thanks to the emergence of updated electronic devices.
Much like the wall-mounted refrigerators, countertop dishwashers definitely fit in with the progressive aesthetic found in past kitchens. It’s such a cool idea. And it hasn’t vanished from the public consciousness in recent times either.
The appliance has proved to be extremely helpful for those living in smaller homes, resulting in a resurgence. Keep your eyes open at the store!
Since emerging in the middle of the 1600s, punch bowls have enjoyed a solid run in households across the world. They were particularly big in the United States and England.
Yet in the last few years, these utensils have dropped off a bit, becoming more of a retro item. The containers haven’t disappeared completely, but a lot of kitchens don’t harbor them now.
When it came to storing fizzy drinks in the past, you couldn’t go wrong with a soda syphon. These appliances would stop the liquid from losing its sparkle.
Mind you, while they became kitchen mainstays during the 1920s and ’30s, World War II majorly disrupted their production. Plus, with more bottled products hitting supermarket shelves, there was a significant drop-off in public interest.
Feast your eyes on this, folks. Countertop breakfast griddles were indeed a thing, and they were absolutely awesome. Not only could you fry a selection of foods on the flat steel grill, but there was also a compartment below it.
This area allowed you to maintain an item’s temperature after cooking. Modern variations don’t even appear to have that feature!
Bread boxes were arguably the most colorful items you’d find in old kitchens, keeping loaves fresh throughout the week. But nowadays, Southern Living noted that you’ll spot fewer of them in modern homes.
In their place, larger bread bins with plain exteriors sit on the side. It’s just not the same, right? We’d love to see the retro objects make a comeback!
Egg poacher pans boasted a really unique look in the past. Yes, with indentations pressed into the bottom of the appliance, you could slot your eggs into the space and then get cooking.
Yet as the years progressed, these utensils have become more scarce in kitchens around the world. After all, a normal saucepan filled with water does the same job.
In 2024 Jell-O molds will celebrate a very special birthday. You see, the items turn 120 that year, having been created in 1904. Wow! That’s some run. But the metal containers aren’t as popular today as they once were.
Instead, plastic molds seem to have replaced them as the big-market sellers. Maybe they’ll enjoy a resurgence ahead of the anniversary?
If you wanted to make your own french fries at home back in the 1960s, then this product was just the ticket. It’s a specialized cutter that slices potatoes into a delicious serving. Pretty cool, wouldn’t you say?
These appliances do still exist today, but with frozen fries readily available from the supermarket, they’re not exactly an essential for kitchens right now.
Don’t worry, folks — we can barely believe our eyes either! Yep, retractable stoves did crop up during the 1960s, sitting below an oven unit that was level with the kitchen countertop.
It was an incredibly intriguing design, yet the idea never really took off to dominate the market. A pity, really. We’d have loved to try it out.
Want to know why cake breakers were an absolute must-have in previous years? It’s simple. Fragile snacks such as angel cakes couldn’t withstand the force of standard knives cutting into them, crumbling apart as a result.
But the metal tongs on a breaker prevented that from happening. With that in mind, we wouldn’t be disappointed if these appliances returned to modern kitchens.