REMEMBER WHEN YOUR mother asked you if you wanted her old toaster, and you turned up your nose and replied, "Not that old thing." Who's sorry now? In this age of instant antiques, the '50s are ancient history. The things your mother threw away seemingly just yesterday are suddenly priceless treasures. And no wonder: It was a hopeful time, and appliances were important objects that were going to change the world by liberating women from dreary tasks. Space-saving wasn't a consideration; these mechanical helpers were never hidden away in drawers. Shiny and sassy, appliances sat proudly on kitchen counters, flaunting their beautiful new designs.
But these newcomers had missions: the juicer to bring fresh-squeezed health to every child in America; the blender to transform the kitchen into a soda fountain; the coffeepot's perking to wake up the nation with a smile. As for the trusty toaster, it was a miracle worker, turning pale, soft bread crisp and golden.
These objects are all part of our cultural heritage, and it's not surprising that so many people now long to own such appliances. In celebration of the "Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses" exhibit currently at the Temporary Contemporary Museum (through Feb. 18), the museum gift shops (indefinitely at both museum locations) has amassed a stunning collection of these old-but-still-useful appliances--any one of which is certain to launch baby boomers on a trip down memory lane.
\o7 Appliances from the '50s and '60s at the Temporary Contemporary's museum gift shops, 152 N. Central Ave. and 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 626-6222. \f7