in older appliances grows
Billings Gazette - Billings,
The business has
evolved into a clearing house for appliances, parts and information.
His The Old Appliance
Club has 5,000 members around the world, and its Web site (www.theoldapplianceclub.net/toac/club/about.htm)
gets 200,000 hits a week.
Club members aren’t
just interested in older stoves and refrigerators. Every type of appliance –
including washers and dryers, juicers, electric mixers and “antique”
televisions and radios – have passed through his business.
One of the most
unusual vintage appliances Santoro ever came across was a 1950 Thor brand
combination dish and clothes washer. The device had removable tubs that
accommodated either clothes or dishes.
tidbit that he came across was a small race car powered by a Maytag gas engine
used on some washing machines. Maytag used the race cars to entice children and
their parents into stores in the 1930s, Santoro says.
Older machines are
popular because of their style and durability.
refrigerators were made from a top-grade metal and coated with porcelain enamel.
One of the major
problems with older appliances is finding parts for all models. If a part
can’t be found, however, there are craftspeople who will fabricate it.
Older appliances may
be a bargain if they can be bought from the original owner and the machine is in
good shape. Stoves or refrigerator may cost about $200.
Appliances that have
been restored with new parts, paint and chrome may cost thousands of dollars.
Santoro has written
several books about vintage appliances. He says that his best tip for those
shopping for older appliances is to make certain that the appliance is working
up to full capacity.
Some people who have
lived with an older appliance for years may have learned to live with its
deficiencies and may not know that it’s not working up to par.
Before buying a
stove, for example, bring along a oven thermometer. Place it in the oven, fire
it up to 350 degrees and see if the oven reaches that temperature in 15 minutes.
Santoro by e-mail at email@example.com may receive “Keepers Vs. Clunkers: What’s
it Worth?” on how to analyze an old appliance’s value.
Partial listing of other publications, TV, and radio website interviews:
Wall Street Journal-1995, Natural Gas Dailies, LA Times, Antique Trader, BrandWise, Good Housekeeping magazine, Independent Business magazine, Business '99, Renovation Style, The New Yorker, Frontier House PBS series, The Old House Journal magazine, syndicated columnists, Ann and Nan, Mr. Handyperson - Mark Hett, This Old House, Collectors Magazine and Price Guide, Cabin Life, libraries and museums throughout the country including The Smithsonian Library.
For stove and appliance parts, information, free consultation, estimates, thermostats, electrical elements, safeties... see The Old Appliance Club Shop