31    May 201426 comments

Old Household Appliances: Cherished family heirlooms

Growing up in my house, we used a very old pop-up toaster to make our morning toast. When I say old, I mean very, very old. It was no longer shiny, but the metal and strong base shouted durability.

As a young child, I actually thought it was from ancient times. It turns out, it wasn't really medieval, but rather a present that my grandparents had received as a newly married couple in the 1950s.

This toaster worked perfectly every single day without fail, turning our bread a light brown color and popping out the pieces just in time. It was a no-fail piece of cookery.

At some point, however, our trusty toaster did eventually stop working. It was with a sad heart that my parents laid it to rest, and replaced it with a new, plastic model.

What caused my family to cling to that toaster throughout the years? Appliances from that era were made to last, but I believe that it meant more to us than just a good, dependable appliance. It was something deeper. We cherished that toaster as one would cling to the most valuable famly heirloom. For us, it held deep sentimental value.

Old household items remind us of times gone by. We think about how our grandparents and great-grandparents acquired them. Were they passed down through the generations -- or perhaps our ancestors took a trip to the hardware or general store to get an early model just coming on the market.

I know that my parents held on to that toaster to remember my grandparents and their new life together as a family. It became a symbol of the continuation of our family and its future generations.

I don't know where that toaster is today, but I do hope to pass on similar family heirlooms to our children.

What is the oldest household appliance that you own? What history does it contain?

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Comments (26) Trackbacks (0)
  1. My family has one of such heirlooms. It is an old fridge, which keep in my family since many years. That fridge has been wined the lottery when my parents married about 1965. It worked in our family many years, and now, when we have more modern household appliance, my father cann't leave it. He keep it, although he don't use it, because it is remind he about his youthfulness, really it became the symbol of their happiness, the young happy years.
  2. In my childhood, it was a Bendix washing machine. It lasted 31 years. It grew up with me and my siblings, part of our childhood, thro good times and bad, the prized washing machine was a constant, it shared our crises and our jubilations.
  3. In our case we were given a hand-held GEC mixer as a wedding present in 1965. When we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary we got in touch with GEC in USA to congratulate them on its long service to our family. Secretly, we thought that they might offer us a deal on a newer one! The reply was that they were so pleased at its performance but what was even more remarkable was that we were still married... It is still going strong.
  4. My father bought my mother a Bendix washing machine to placate her when we had to move to Bury in 1957. It worked until a year before my father died in 1994. To keep it going he used to take it appart and cleaned it every year. He nearly sent the new machine back, as when watching it working for the first time he was most perturbed to see it keep stopping and changing dirrection.
  5. My mother had a Sunbeam mixmaster. It was bought in the late 1950's. It was well used and cared for. When she could no longer live at home and her things were sorted, the one thing my daughter asked for was the mixmaster. Now it has a new home and is a cherished item that reminds my daughter of her Grandmother each time she uses it.
  6. My grandmother purchased a Singer sewing machine when I was very young. I did not learn to sew on this Singer, but I liked to use it because it had all kinds if attachments and "do-dads". When my grandmother stopped sewing, she gave the machine to me. Over the years, I have purchased two sewing machines built of plastic. They had the latest stiches built in and features to make sewing easier. However, when I have a special job, I get out my grandmother's old sewing machine and get the job done. The mechanisms on this machine are just as tough as the metal casing. This machine is nearly fifty years old and still in use.
  7. I am 75 and still possess a colander which my mother had for a wedding present in 1936; I use it all the time when I am in France, where I have a house; this will pass to my children when I die with all its furniture and accessories. I see no reason why it sholld ever break!
  8. Julie, Australia
    My parents started married life with an icechest which as soon as possible they replaced with a fridge with little icetray space at the top. I could always remember where the drip hole in the kitchen floor was from the icechest. Then we got a new fridge. Very modern squareline with a decent sized freezer at the top . We always referred
    to it as the new fridge. Eventually my parents decided to move to a new house and I asked if they were taking the new fridge. my mother laughed and took out her little book and told me her new fridge was 18 years old. She gave it to the new owners who were young and grateful. life was never the same. I didnt feel i could help myself in the new house.
  9. My dad has a copper warming pan that belonged to his grandparents, and he can still remember it being placed in his bed on cold winter nights. My mum did have an old wooden stick that her mum used to stir the washing in the tub, but I think it is gone now. I have an old lute that belonged to my grandfather.
  10. A toasting fork (60 plus years old)my husband and sibling used to toast their bread in front of their gas fire when young lads. It now hangs on the wall in our kitchen unable to part with it when their parents estate was settled. Recently watching TV we saw someone toasting a muffin in front of a fire and prompted us to take down the fork and toast some bread (home made) in front of our fire which tasted delicious and brought back happy memories for my husband.
  11. my Grand-mother owned exactly the same "very old pop-up toaster" which still works every morning breakfast and is now owned by my daughter ! I also still use a "Pfaff" sewing machine that my Grand-mother bought between the worldwars (I have the invoice !) ; but the best is that I bought 5 years ago a new electronic "Pfaff" sawing machine and every little parts suit both of the machines (85 years between them !)
  12. Old cutlery is my reminder of my family no longer with us. Over the years many pieces from a large set have been lost and of course I've bought several new sets of stainless steel cutlery over 45 yrs. However, I still eat my soup with a silver soup spoon from 1919, prefer those breakfast/dessert spoons and the best knives for making sandwiches are those with the bone handles. Best of all and very well used are 3 silver tablespoons, proper size, used weekly for cooking.
  14. My Revereware copper bottomed pots and pans were a wedding present in 1950. I was so sure that I was going to have no trouble. Keeping the bottoms polished. I have stopped polishing the copper bottoms and the pans look awful. However I treasure the memories As a young bride when I first learned to cook .My revereware fed all ;4 children and my husband all these years. the grandchildren do not want mytreasures because they have been that are more modern. But not nearly as beloved.
  15. My wife's uncle was the Morphy who designed the Morphy-Richards Toaster. She died last January, but I still have the Morphy-Richards Toaster that our friends clubbed together to get us for a wedding present in 1954. It still toasts, although the automatic pop up has just given up the ghost. It has had countles elements replaced but it still WORKS.
  16. Last year our Fisher&Paykel dryer finally died,after 33 years. My parents bought it for us, after the birth of our 6th child. We've replaced it, but miss the "Cold tumble"feature - that's how I used to refresh my woollen blankets.
  17. I have an old Hart frying pan which used to belong to my step-grandmother (who passed away in late 70's) and was used by my mom and is now used in my house hold. Another treasure is a Bosch hand-mixer which my mother-in-law gave me (1987) and is still going strong (even though I have a Kenwood Chef) I still choose the hand-mixer to mix small batches of cake. The mixer was already a few years old when I received it.
  18. I do have exactly that blue toaster, it belonged to my grandparents, and when my grandfather passed away I inherited it. And it still works to this day, and is still in use!
  19. My grand mother has a very old refrigerator, she got it when she got married around 50s it still works, whenever I visit her that reminds me my childhood as she used yo place picture a from the family together. Appliances used yo be less complicated I mean they used to have the necessary and they last more. Now a days we want to go back in time and consider retro or old ideas mix them with actual things.
  20. stan wilson australia , i have a old wind up record player mum and dad didnt appreciate it when i used it to wind silk from my silkworms ( 65 years ago ) still has the little nail holes i made in it,
  21. I am Argentinian and I have a watch date 1900 from my grandmother, than my mother used and give to me for my birthday when I turned 15 years old. That have inscripted at the back was made in France. I planned to give to my daughters or niece who ever wanted and realy appreciated.
  22. I inheritage a set of porcelain coffee cups was my grandmother weeding present, unfortunately 4 of them broke so the 2 left I still have as survenier on display in the dinning room
  23. I have a Mixmaster in the cupboard my late wife bought in the 50's to help with her cooking . It was still working when I took it out some time ago. I intend to keep it but may need to find another home for it when I down size in the future
  24. I have a knife and fork carving set with bone handles ( now yellow with age ) this was passed down to me by my mother who was born in 1899. ( I am now 75 ). She acquired it from her own mother when she married aged 19. It still does me good service even though the blade has worn thin due to keep being sharpened over the years.
  25. I have a sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother. This all-metal machine, was run using legs. It is made at Podolsk mechanical plant in Russia. I am already 50 years old, but I remember it from early childhood. This sewing machine is still running now. We also still have silver teaspoons made ​​in the USSR, a beautiful vintage kerosene lamp and an antique sideboard from the 19th century, all are very well preserved.
  26. I have a 1948 Sunbeam automatic raise and lower toaster. It's beautiful. It just needs the heating element repaired and I haven't had time to do it yet. But it was working for over 50 years before that broke!

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