The Kitchen Range

Every year or so it’s time to slide the electric range away from the wall and out of its cubby hole. There’s usually dust and cobwebs to clear away. I also whisk away dust and debris from the rear and sides of the range. Afterwards, I give the floor a good cleaning with detergent and water.

While the floor dries, I wash the side panels of the range to remove any dried-on food residue drips. The porcelain steel panels are wiped dry and I apply a thin coating of Jubilee appliance polish to the flat surfaces.

Then I can spend some quality time with the chrome and stainless steel trim on the backsplash panel that holds the range controls. Is the proper name for that panel “backsplash”? My range has a fair amount of shiny metal trim, which I consider a feature, not an inconvenience. I use Brasso liquid polish for this trim and the chrome plated oven and drawer handles.

Before I apply and buff out the Brasso, I clean the little nooks and crannies of the shiny metal with a dampened old cloth. The detail work of the chrome usually requires the use of cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. I take my time cleaning and polishing the bright-work because one of life’s pleasures, to me, is giving shiny metal a mirror-like sheen.

The range was vintage when I purchased it and my refrigerator in 1985 from the local railroad salvage and pawn shop. I had just moved into the house and needed cheap but reliable kitchen appliances ASAP. Following the appliance delivery, I gave the range a thorough inside and out scrub and polish to make it look like new.

While cleaning the bright-work and the range controls, yesterday, I wondered if the Internet had a pdf copy of the range’s owner’s manual. I’ve never been able to obtain a paper copy of the booklet, so why not search for an electronic copy later.

The main reason that I wanted the owner’s manual is so that I can read up about the nuances of “Sensi-Temp”. This is a special heating coil element. This “burner” has a variable control that enables the selection of specific cooking temperatures. The particular Sensi-Temp technology was an optional feature on top tier General Electric and Hotpoint free-standing ranges during the 1960s into the early 1970s. The only coil unit with “Sensi-Temp” on my range is the left-front position.

I’ve done many Google image searches in order to find a range like mine but have come up empty. I’d like to know what model year it is. It was probably manufactured between 1962 and 1966 because those were the years GE offered push-button surface element controls. Ranges with the large buttons, like mine, were built later.

While researching the range, I discovered that there is a subculture of people who collect vintage and antique kitchen ranges and other large kitchen appliances. I don’t consider myself to belong to such a group. Anyhow, I don’t want to become obsessed with old kitchen range collecting. I don’t need another hobby. It seems odd but not surprising that some people enjoy collecting and restoring old kitchen appliances.

I appreciate the fact that this old range is sturdy and very reliable. Even the clock and timers work properly.  The range is certainly old-school technology in that there are no mother-boards nor computer chips in it. The Sensi-Temp and the oven-temperature are regulated by basic, simple thermostats. The other controls are standard, elementary electrical switches. Such simplicity has enabled the longevity of the appliance. I’ve used the range almost daily since it was brought to the house.

It was fun to write this mini-review of the old range. If you have ever used a similar range or still own one, perhaps this post was especially relatable to you. Maybe you know more about this old appliance.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes columnist Bill Vaughan aka Burton Hillis. “The wonderful world of home appliances now makes it possible to cook indoors with charcoal and outdoors with gas.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Gadgets, Hometown, Meanderings, Vintage Collectables and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Kitchen Range

  1. Doug says:

    Why were those appliances ever called “ranges”? . To me, a range is a wide open field, as in “home on the range” While doing a search, I found a web site that has hundreds of GE owners manuals. Without knowing your model, I couldn’t go very far. You might want to check out this web site:

  2. swabby429 says:

    Thanks for the link. Here’s the etymology of a cooking range: “In the 14th century enclosed ovens, with openings on top for heating sauces, etc., were developed in France and the modern range was born. Early ranges were so-called because they usually had more than one oven and usually at least two cooking spots on top, furnishing a range of places to cook.” (Thx to etymology on-line) Range, in this sense, is a variety of cooking surfaces and methods–cook-top, oven, and broiler. You’re welcome.

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