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Vintage TVs, Fridges and Small Appliances

Updated on May 7, 2012

"Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why its so complicated."~ Paul Rand 1997

Retro kitchens, fridges, utensils, furniture, appliances and general household design has become popular in recent years and while still a niche market, commercial designers have taken heed of the trend, producing some very interesting designs, some recreations of old ones, others brand new designs but with a retro-futuristic flavour.

Most favoured among the style gurus is mid-century modernism, with its streamlined, functional designs, swish chrome accents, smooth use of wood and overall funky look. It was a very creative period of design which still influences design today.

Predicta "Meteor" Source:
Predicta "Meteor" Source:
"Chalet" by Predicta
"Chalet" by Predicta

Retro TVs

Predicta TV is a fantastic looking retro television and while I couldn't say how they perform on tech specs and function, for appearance they get a resounding ten out of ten. Although they look too way-out to be real 50s designs, the TVs are actually based on real designs from the mid 20th Century.

The Predicta television was made by the Philco company and although the company only lasted until 1960, it was, in the US at least an iconic TV style, although apparently too radical for customers in the 50s, which is why the company collapsed.

The 'detached picture tube' style gives these televisions a really way out look as well as a distinctly vintage flavour.Although they have the retro styling, form meets funtion in this product, as Predictas are equipped with modern electronics and . Made by a Wisconsin company called Telstar Electronics., the attention to detail in these TVs is reflected in the higher price tag, which according to the manufacturers, is still comparable to the average high-end TV.

The Predicta range includes eight fabulously eccentric designs, many with hand crafted timber cabinets and brass fittings -Pedestal, Meteor, Holiday, Princess, Debutante, Corona, Chalet and Danish Modern.It's noted on the website that some visitors to the site are so blown away by the TVs, they wonder whether it might be a fake website. It's not.

Black beauty - Smeg fridge
Black beauty - Smeg fridge

Retro Fridges

Smeg have been making fridges since the 1940s and have retained the style characteristics of the mid-20th century.

As an added bonus, they also come in a variety of colours, from pale blue to fire engine red, to blend in with any retro or contemporary kitchen

The simple, yet trendy design is very eye-cartching and while not an exact reproduction of an earlier style, they nonetheless conjure that nostalgic feel. You can read a more comprehensive hub about Smeg here.

Big Chill refrigerators offer a great selction of powder coated fridges in baby blue, vintage green, 70s tangerine or you can order custom made colours. They also come in a variety of sizes, including half fridges, which is great for a bar or rec room.

Big Chills are produced by a company The beauty of these is that, like Smeg, you get all the nostalgia value in the appearance but still have a modern functioning fridge. The one drawback is that they are expensive - a full sized Big Chill fridge could set you back a cool $2,700. These are a luxury item.

Big Chill 70s orange fridge
Big Chill 70s orange fridge
Big Chill "Beach Cruiser" retro fridge
Big Chill "Beach Cruiser" retro fridge
Nostalgia Electrics compact fridge
Nostalgia Electrics compact fridge

Nostalgia Electrics, a company which specialises in a wide range of retro-inspired appliances, also make compact, reasonably priced retro fridges.

The one in the photograph at right has a 3.1 cubic foot capacity and includes a separate freezer, vegetable crisper and adjustable thermostat.

According to the company's mission statement, they want to "excite consumers and retailers alike", so I hope you're feeling suitably excited.

Small Appliances

Retro microwave from Nostalgia Electrics
Retro microwave from Nostalgia Electrics

Among the modern appliances redesigned as old is this 50s looking Nostalgia Electrics retro microwave, designed to reflect mid-century modernism with its chrome accents, reminiscent of 50s automobiles. The oval window is a real feature here, as is the old fashioned dial.

This microwave does everything a modern one does - LED display, twelve pre-programmed settings etc. It just looks very, very different.

Classic Styling- The Sunbeam mixer
Classic Styling- The Sunbeam mixer

Sunbeam Mixer

Many a baby-boomer will remember the familiar styling of the Sunbeam mixmaster.

Back in the 50s and 60s when many more women were stuck in the kitchen, the mixmaster was theessential appliance for whipping up those delicious 50s cakes

Retro Inspired Mickey Mouse Toaster and Breadbox

Fancy a piece of toast embossed with Mickey's Mouse's image? Well you can do it with BrylaneHome's whimsical, vintage toaster and breadbox set. For those times when you don't feel like eating Mickey, this appliance does normal toast as well.

Mickey Mouse toaster and breadbox
Mickey Mouse toaster and breadbox


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