Is my vintage stove, cooktop, or wall oven safe and reliable?

A vintage gas appliance in good mechanical repair (one that has been serviced or tuned up within the last 5 years) is reliable and safe. If yours doesn't have a regulator or modern flexible gas supply line, contact us to install them - they are an absolute must for safety. If you are unsure about the proper operation of your vintage appliance, find and read your owner's manual, and see the section below about "properly lighting a match-lit oven". If you have any concerns at all, please give us a call.

How is a vintage stove eco-friendly?

Keeping that gorgeous range of your grandmother's from the scrap heap may seem ecologically trite at first, but check out our "math". The savings in resource consumption and carbon output might astound you:

The Past

  • The damage to the environment is long past: resources to manufacture your vintage range were extracted and consumed half a century ago or more.

The Present

  • Since you won't cause a new stove to be made, there is no new damage from resource extraction or carbon emission.

  • The fuel used for shlepping Grandma's stove out of her dingy basement and into the light and love of your family's kitchen is infinitesimal compared to any new stove shipped from abroad.

The Future

  • One gas-saving measure of a pre-1960‘s retro-stove might be the least obvious, but all things considered, it may be the most significant:  the small size of the oven.  Averaging around 18” deep, 16” wide, and 13” high, the volume works out to plus or minus 2 cubic feet.  Compared to modern 30" ranges, with oven capacities of 4.2 to 5.8 cu. ft., retro stoves have about one half to one third the volume.  Let's say one million 30” stoves are sold annually.  If they were vintage stoves, their ovens would use 1/2 to 2/3 less gas than those one million 30” ranges.  That’s one heck of a difference.   

    Although you didn’t ask the question “But how can I live without a humongous gas-gulping oven?”, we’re going to give you the short answer:  Your grandma had a lot more kids and used that oven all the time, so you'll do fine.  We'll elaborate on this elsewhere.

  • The energy savings go off the charts with Chambers brand ranges and wall ovens, which utilize "Retained Heat (or Fireless) Cooking", an effective yet largely forgotten cooking method perfected at the turn of the 19th century. Simply put, this method quickly brings food to a high temperature within a sealed, super-insulated environment. Then the gas is turned off, and because of the insulation, it continues to cook with little or no use of fuel.

  • Finally, the beautiful vintage ranges enticing you here, on Craigslist, or at an estate sale were made to last a lifetime, which they obviously did quite well, and then some! Unlike new stoves, which often cannot be fixed when broken, practically anything on a vintage gas stove can be fixed. So Grandma's restored stove will last at least another 50 years, yet another lifetime. Compared to the average modern stove ownership period of only 15 years or less, the use of a vintage stove over its next lifetime can prevent the equivalent of 5 modern stoves' worth of consumed resources and generated carbon.

Lighting a vintage match-lit oven with a match or stick lighter is safe as long as you do it correctly: flame FIRST, gas second. Typically your oven has a small hole at the center front of the oven floor, called a flame or ignition port. Always place your flame at this port BEFORE you touch the oven gas control! Then turn on the gas. You'll hear a "whoosing" sound and see blue flames ignite below the oven floor. NEVER close the oven door unless you have confirmed ignition. Once the door is closed, you can adjust the oven temperature. 

Remember: Flame First!

It is always an option to convert your stove to an automatic lighting oven with a safety system. Contact us to learn more!

How can I safely light my vintage stove's match-lit oven?

How do I know if I need to service my vintage range? 

If your vintage stove is new to you, it's smart to get it checked out before using it. Had it for years? There are many components on a stove that go out of adjustment due to wear, tear, and the passing of time. For safety, efficiency, and the full enjoyment of your stove's awesome features, have our experienced, knowledgeable technicians give it a good look. Service it right away if:

  • You ever smell natural gas

  • You smell a sharp, acrid, exhaust-like smell - that may mean that your pilot lights need adjusting

  • Your stove doesn't have a regulator or modern flexible gas supply line

  • The oven door does not seal

  • You have difficulty operating any control, or

  • The surfaces of the stove ever feel unusually hot.

Get your vintage stove serviced every 3-5 years to keep it in great condition.

How do I clean my stove?

90% of your vintage stove parts can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher. For seriously baked-on grease, use Easy Off in the blue can with a green Scotch-Brite sponge. Never use abrasives, steel wool, or Brillo pads on your vintage stove! Check out the PDF guides on our inventory page.

Where can I find an owner's manual or cookbook for my stove? 

If you have a Chambers stove, you can order new reproductions of the original owner's manuals and cookbooks. You may find literature about other brands' stoves on eBay, at the library, or online.

How do I move my vintage stove?

When moving a vintage range, you need to follow specific precautions to avoid damaging you, your house, and your stove. Chambers stove owners can purchase our PDF for full instructions. For vintage stoves in general:

  • PLEASE READ THIS WARNING: If your stove is still hooked up to the gas supply, and it is not connected with a modern, yellow, plastic-coated stainless steel flex line, hire a professional plumber to shut off the gas supply and disconnect the stove before moving it one inch. Old-style flexible aluminum or brass flex lines are DANGEROUS, becoming brittle with age. They can easily rupture with the slightest movement. If the stove has an old gas shut-off valve immediately behind it, it might be frozen open. DO NOT MOVE THE STOVE TO ACCESS IT! Don’t risk a broken flex line and a frozen shut-off valve. Find a remote shut-off, or shut off the gas at the meter before moving your stove.

  • Never push or pull on backsplashes or handles.

  • Remove everything that you can to reduce the weight - burners, drip pans, grates, etc. Most vintage stoves were built to be disassembled very easily!

  • To move a stove away from a wall, open the oven and/or side cabinet doors and pull from the top of both openings, using your body weight to pull the stove forward.

  • Be very careful using a furniture dolly with compression straps. If the straps are too tight, you may damage the panels. Always use a dolly on the oven side of the stove (that's the heaviest side).

  • Always transport the stove on the back or on the feet.

I don't live in the Midwest. Who can service my vintage stove?

In the Rhode Island area, contact Don Mattera at Mattera Stove Works.

New York City: Carlita Belgrove at Belgrove Appliance, Inc.

Near Houston? Macy’s Classic Stove Works

Seattle/Portland: Homestead Vintage Stoves

Atlanta/Nashville/Charlotte: Antique Appliances