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Friday, December 27, 2013

Could You Give Me Information On Youngstown Kitchen Cabinets?

"I was online, looking at websites for kitchen remodeling and renovations.  I came across a photograph of a Youngstown kitchen cabinet.  I had never heard of this type; was it made in Youngstown?"  The Newton Falls Public Library staff found this to be intriguing as they had never heard of this kind of cabinet.

We searched online and discovered that this was a fascinating subject with links worth taking time to examine.  According to the website Retro Renovation, following World War II Youngstown Kitchens was the number one brand of steel cabinets.  The company was "originally called Youngstown Pressed Steel Kitchens, and was a division of Mullins Manufacturing Corp., of Warren, Ohio."  This site also has a 1953 B&W video of the Mullinaires singing the Youngstown Kitchen song.  The site, Internet Archives, gives more details about this "follow the bouncing ball" film of singing salesmen.

Page 6 of National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Spain Housein Tupelo, Mississippi includes the company slogan, "The World's Largest Maker of Steel Cabinets" and noted their dealers were able "to show you your dream kitchen in perfect miniature."  The blogs, Retrochalet Vintage and Design-Swag have examples of the small plastic models of the cabinets and appliances.  Youngstown Kitchens' door to door salesmen carried the models in sample cases so homeowners could make their selections.

In November  2011, Teresa Wilmott  of Claremont, California posted an essay about Jennifer Vanderpool's exhibition  "Hometown Story: Youngstown Steel Kitchen.  An Exhibition of Media, Archival Prints, Historic Films, and Curated Objects" at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown Ohio.  It includes the Mullinaires video and an additional one from 1950 by the Mullins Manufacturing Company titled "The Last Word in Automatic Dishwashing."  This video appears to be made for the company representatives to instruct them in all the details of the appliance.  Besides making cabinets, the company offered dishwashers to homemakers.  This video is over 21 minutes long and can also be viewed on YouTube.  Numerous online postings of Youngstown Kitchen advertisements note that the company offered both front and top loading dishwashers; food waste disposers; kitchen wallpaper, decals and fabrics; and for children, a Jet-Tower Junior top loading dishwasher which hooks up to the sink dishes, pots, and silverware

A Wikipedia article about Sharon Steel taken from "Farrell Golden Jubilee Souvenir Program 1901–1951" states that in 1936 the Mullins Manufacturing Corporation which merged with Youngstown Pressed Steel "has made great progress as a producer of kitchen equipment, automobile stampings, range parts, washing machines, and refrigerators, and is doing a thriving business under its new management." "Salem: A Quaker City History"  by Dale E. Shaffer, pg. 101, said the corporation's product line included "airplane parts to zinc centerpieces and ceilings.  Other products included architectural ornaments, signs, auto trailers, auto parts, kitchen equipment, shells and casings, statues, washing machine tubs and hundreds of other hot- and cold stamped products."  Page 103 of the book has a photograph of the employees and some of the statues they created.  


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