The Thermador wall-mounted oven and the matching range, with its stainless steel surface and heavy coils, was a prominent feature of Eichler kitchens. The colorful anodized aluminum drinking glasses were popular items among 1950s and 1960s Eichler homeowners. Bright colors and bold patterns were often used to complement the styling of the home itself, which tended to lack ornamentation. The top shelf located above the range could be used for storage or as an eating surface. Note the built-in storage cubbies.
A variety of materials and colors were available to the purchaser of the Eichler home. Samples line the wooden shelves of our kitchen exhibit. Some materials, such as Formica counter tops, provided a modern appearance and, having no grouted areas, could be wiped clean quickly. Formica was also less expensive than tile surfaces and its ise helped to keep the homes affordable.
Colorful cloth hangings incorporating abstract or free-form designs could often be found as decorative touches in the Eichler homes of the 1950s and 1960s. Transistor radios became available in the late 1950s, and many an Eichler kitchen would have contained a radio similar to the unit shown here. The alternating color sliding door panels didn't please all homeowners, who often refinished them in plain white.
Melamine, an inexpensive plastic material, was frequently used for tableware in the 1960s. Fairly durable and inexpensive, its colorful aspect made it attractive to home decorators and homeowners alike. Matching napkins and place mats were often available. Melamine tableware was also a popular choice for use in trailers and motorhomes, as it was far more durable than glass. The moderninistic, simple pattern of the silverware complements the shapes of the dishes very well and is typical of the period.
Among the more innovative features of the Eichler home was its radiant heating system, first introduced in 1950. Pipes embedded in the flooring carried hot water that warmed the floor and, eventually, the home and its occupants. Although often maligned for breaking or leaking pipes, in most cases problems were caused by electrolytic corrosion due to the proximity of different metals in a moist ground environment, rather than by outright breakage or internal pipe corrosion. Shown is the valve manifold that allowed the homeowner to direct varying amounts of heated water to the various areas of the house.
last updated: October 2, 2003
Original content: Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Museum of American Heritage
Trademarks are the property of their owners