Old Burners Never Die… - Page 2

Owners who sing the praises of original cooktops and ovens to the tune of ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’
Old Burners Never Die
Old Burners Never Die
Old Burners Never Die
Original Castro Valley Eichler owner Katherine McKenney Shea (top) loves her very original kitchen (center). Her "spare parts zone" in the garage (above) is her back-up.

His response? "I don't keep it for its great functionality, but it works fine." Nelson adds: "The rest of the kitchen is so original, so I wanted to keep it."

Jessica Endlich and Mark Winkler put much effort into preserving the stylish but crippled stainless-less steel General Electric Americana stove in their circa 1952 Eichler in San Jose.

"It's been a unique conversation starter," Jessica says, noting that the unit has one oven below the cooktop, and another floating above it. "People always think it is a microwave but it is not," she says.

The rest of their kitchen is original, including counters and mahogany walls, so Jessica and Mark wanted the stove to reflect the mid-century period too.

Their quest involved searching in vain for the operating manual, contacting other Eichler owners via blogs, and interrogating a handyman friend.

The couple, who have a young daughter, do a lot of cooking. "Tons of grains and vegetables and fish," Jessica says, "stir-fried, sautéed vegetables." They often have to use a separate induction cooktop to get the meal cooked.

"Only one of the four burners fully functions," Jessica says. "One works on the highest setting only, so you can boil on it. You can boil water, and that's about it. The front-left burner has three settings that work and two that don't, the two lowest settings. The fourth burner does not work whatsoever."

"We tried to fix the burners. With a modern stove, you can pull them out and replace them. We tried to do that, and we could not get them out."

It turns out, an old hand at Home Depot told them, their stove had burners that could not be removed. "They were bolted and wired into the actual stove," Jessica says.

But why focus on horror stories when there are so many people out there whose original stoves provide nothing but pleasure? Count Avril Couris, who lives in an Eichler in Marin, among them.