Old, Harvest Gold – and built to last

Harvest Gold stove

I have gained a new respect for our old Harvest Gold stove. (Though I still rather wish the vintage white washing machine that you see just to the left of it were located somewhere other than the Manse’s tiny pantry, but we’ll get there.) Hey, are you by any chance asking yourself what that curious object is on the windowsill to the right of the golden stove? Read tomorrow night’s Meanwhile, at the Manse post!

Yes, I’ve poked gentle fun at the Manse kitchen’s elderly Harvest Gold stove several times in the course of this blog’s life. I mean, the very fact that it is Harvest Gold means it has to be old, because that colour was considered the bee’s knees, the apex of home decor (second only to Avocado Green), back in the early 1970s. (I know this because I remember those days. Which you can probably tell from the fact that I used the phrase “the bee’s knees” just now.) It was one of the appliances that the previous owners of the Manse – the trustees of St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough – were good enough to leave in the house for Raymond and me when we bought it. We knew those appliances were old, and didn’t expect to keep them very long, but we were grateful for the fact that they’d be useful until we did renovations and bought new ones. (Yeah, well, those renovations have been a while getting started. But I digress.)

What I want to tell you tonight is this: Once upon a time, appliances were built to last.

If you read my post this past Tuesday, you’ll know that the oven on our Harvest Gold stove suddenly quit working that night just as I put a meat loaf in it to cook. We pretty much figured it was the end of the line for the old stove. Not so fast, Raymond and Katherine!

Yesterday Raymond made contact with Tough’s Appliance Repair in Madoc – a business that several people have recommended highly to us – and this morning a repairman from Tough’s, a nice chap named Charles, came around to the Manse to tackle our stove. Long story short: thanks to Charles, the Harvest Gold stove is working perfectly, and will probably give us quite a few more years of service. And the cost? Let’s just say it was a lot less than we would have paid for a replacement stove, even if the replacement had been a used one from Smitty’s (a Hastings County appliance dealer that everyone knows thanks to its ubiquitous signs).

Here’s the amazing thing: Charles said that the last year General Electric Harvest Gold stoves were manufactured was 1979. So that means ours is, at a minimum, 35 years old. He also told us that parts were of higher quality back in those days, and pointed to the burners on the top of the stove – they are the originals, and they are in fine shape. (Which is just as well; they couldn’t be replaced, because they’re just not made any more.) The very fact that there are no fancy electronics or computer-type operations in old stoves like ours – just switches, wires and elements – makes them simple to repair. Which means they can have a nice long life of service to us.

So the old Harvest Gold stove that I’ve been mocking? No more mocking. I have a newfound respect for that baby, even as it approaches its fourth decade. Yes, respect and appreciation: for our old stove, for a knowledgeable and helpful repairman – and for a time when appliances were built to last.

2 thoughts on “Old, Harvest Gold – and built to last

  1. Ahh, those good old days/appliances! Gayle and I purchased a stove when we were married in 1962. That stove (white like the bride’s dress), cost $320, 10% of Gayle’s yearly teaching salary. It lasted for forty years here and another few years at the cottage. Its replacement (white, like my hair), cost $480, which I think is more than 10% of a young teacher’s salary. I doubt this new one will last that long.

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