Why, Where and How to Buy a Vintage Stove

Here's the retro rundown from a San Diego vintage stove expert
vintage stove RMR stove repair san diego

Photography courtesy of RMR Company.

Vintage Stove, Modern Value

Mike Kravcar, one of the co-owners of RMR Company, Inc.—San Diego’s own mecca for restoring and servicing vintage stoves—attests that a true classic stove is well worth the investment (and not just for their one-of-a-kind aesthetic). Here, Mike gives us the retro rundown:

Vintage stove quality

These stoves were built to last. The metal that they are made out of and their performance is the quality that you would expect to find in a restaurant stove. They also have high BTU (British Thermal Unit) burners that can go up to 14,000 BTU, which allows for faster cooking times. A basic stove has an average of 9,000 BTU.

Special retro features

Most come with infrared broiler ovens to help sear steaks perfectly, ultra-low simmer burners, great for simmering stews and sauces without letting them boil, and griddles.

Tip: If you love to bake, all pre-1965 cookstoves will have constant temperature ovens (i.e., the temperature will hold steady and not fluctuate) whereas most new stoves—unless they’re super high-end—will have an oven burner that fluctuates.

vintage stove RMR stove repair

Where to buy a vintage stove

RMR has a small supply of stoves for sale at their Golden Hill location. However, its inventory turns around quickly so you may have to seek out your own retro treasure for them to restore to mint condition or customize. Mike says to check out Craigslist and eBay for the best finds.

Tip: Search for time-honored brands like Wedgewood, Western Holly, O’Keefe & Merritt, Tappan and Magic Chef.

Vintage stove upkeep, maintenance and repairs

Though they are old, these stoves don’t usually have issues. RMR typically sees customers once, and it’s often for something simple: a spring replacement after 20 years of use. Not to worry, replacement parts aren’t rare or expensive. Prices are comparable to replacement parts on modern models.

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