Black Color Modern Fashion Living Room Sets Coffee Table Vintage Kitchens of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s

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Vintage Kitchens of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s

1930s: The Steam-lined – Depression Era “Modern Kitchen”

In the 1930s, the kitchen was transformed from the old-fashioned kitchen into the “Strømlinet-Moderne kitchen” with time-saving features, better organization and much improved ventilation. The “all-electric kitchen” was promoted in popular magazines with numerous advertisements showing newly designed small and large appliances. Mixers were the homemaker’s dream now designed with numerous attachments that could sift flour, mix dough, grate cheese, squeeze lemons, whip potatoes, grate, cut and chop vegetables and even sharpen knives. “Depression Green” was the “in” color used on the wooden handles of kitchen utensils, on kitchen cabinets and tables, and on kitchen items. Often accessories were cream and green, replacing the white and black look of previous decades.

Other popular color combinations in the 1930s were Gray and Red or Crimson, Silver and Green, Pearl Pink and Blue, as well as the use of checkered patterns on textiles. Kitchen items such as cans and bread boxes tended to be blandly painted with perhaps a simple sticker.

In 1935, the National Modernization Bureau was established to promote modernization throughout the country. Manufacturers competed for better designed appliances and kitchen accessories. Color began to enter kitchens in the 30s, and magazine articles included decorating tips on color schemes and how to incorporate the kitchen into the rest of the home. Kitchens were no longer workstations, but received as much attention as the rest of the home. Small and large appliances were available in colors, and Sears and Montgomery Ward featured colorful kitchenware and “japanned” accessories such as canning sets, series sets, cake savers, bread boxes, and wastebaskets.

The 1940s: The colorful postwar era

Post-war kitchens in the 1940s began to become family gathering places, and now tables and chairs made of chrome bottoms with enamel, linoleum or plastic could be added to a more spacious kitchen, replacing the less work-centered earlier kitchens. Separate formal dining rooms were replaced by kitchens that could accommodate family and guests. The kitchen was becoming a very inviting space, and primary colors dominated the decor palette. Magazines advertised products for your “Gay Modern Kitchen”. Combinations of red, green and yellow or red and black were popular as well as brightly colored tablecloths, textiles and curtains. Flowers, fruits and Dutch motifs were in fashion and found on shelf paper, ornaments, stickers and kitchenware. Appliances continued to be produced with streamlined designs, rounded corners and smaller proportions. The combination washing machine/dishwasher was introduced, as well as waste management and freezers for home use.

1950s: Atomic Age-Pastel Color-Space Age

Dramatic changes would occur in kitchens in the 1950s as space age, atomic age design and materials entered the scene. Fifties kitchens featured plastic, pastel colors such as turquoise or aqua, pink and yellow (cabin colors), Formica and chrome kitchen table and chair sets matched formica kitchen tables and were easy to keep clean with messy little ones. After the war, there was more time for leisure with advertising for kitchen equipment and accessories for picnics, barbecues, parties and the home bar.

The introduction of color television in the 1950s brought full color into America’s living rooms, where homemakers could now see all the exciting products and appliances available to them. After World War II, there was a new generation of plastic and time for “graceful living” and entertaining. Kitchens and homes saw the transition from glass, ceramic and tin products to several types of plastic, which made everyday life easier. Melmac and Melamine dishes, Lustro-ware and Tupperware storage accessories and “thermowall” for picnics were a great success. Vinyl was used for tablecloths, chair covers and furniture and bark cloth with boomerangs and abstract shapes was popular. Tablecloths and dishcloths continued to be brightly colored, and souvenir textiles were added to the home with tropical, Southwestern, and Mexicana themes. Poodles, taps and designs with kitchen utensils, teapots and coffeepots decorated potholders, appliance covers and bed linen. Appliances were built-in and came in fifties colors such as turquoise, soft yellow, pink and copper.

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