Friday, March 26, 2010

The State Fair Mystery

I received an email from Michael over at the Cul-De-Sacshack blog with photos of his new Tappan Deluxe stove...and a mystery.

Michael's stove has the model #PHADV 668-7M with serial number 314964.  It came with it's original owner's manual. The gentleman that sold the stove told Michael that the stove was a 1958 model. The story that came with the stove was that it was a display at the 1957 Missouri State Fair and that it was purchased there and that the new owner had to wait for the fair to end to take possession of it.

My first reaction in responding to Michael's email was to assume that some of the dates had been remembered incorrectly. Deluxe stoves were essentially made from 1947 to 1954...or so we thought.  I guessed the stove was probably from 1950 or 1951.  I suggested that Michael look on the inside cover page of the original Owner's Manual and locate the date that appeared below Betty Brown's letter. I thought for sure I'd get an email back saying the date under the letter was 1950.

But, the plot thickened with the return email.

The stove's Owner's Manual did not have a date on the inside cover. However, it did appear to have an issue date on the back cover of the manual - "1040D 1-56."  (most likely meaning January 1956). On the cover someone wrote "1958." Note that the manual is for a "Super 60" (which up to this point, I thought was the stainless steel model - I haven't posted about yet).

This date lends credence to the 1957 State Fair story. So we have a mystery on our hands. Here are some of the clues......

This stove has all of the bells & whistles - amber glass burner rings, crisper drawers, the glass pyrogrates on the back burner grates, chrome trim around the oven window. This tells us this was an upper end model or a special build (remember Ron & Aiden's stove that was made specifically for one housing development?). The type of stove that might be put on display.

We know the features on this stove were new in the late 1940's...became common options in 1950. So, they weren't new in 1957.  The model AV 669 is a 1950-51 version. The model numbers aren't always in sequence, but it would seem 668 *should* be right around this time. The Deluxe models were being phased out in 1953-54. At that point they started to become much more mid-century modern.

But, there is strong evidence telling us the stove was from the State Fair. Could this stove have been part of something like a "stoves over time" display?

Any info, thoughts, additional observations, guesses?

Thanks Michael for sharing your photos and story.


  1. His model and my model are very similiar. Mine is a model #PHADV 664-5 and when I got it, it needed a new safety for the oven. I bought a new safety (e-bay) and the old one I took apart. It had a date of 1955.
    I just got out my book, and these stove are equipted with 'Contro-lo-heat' top burners. So now we know the name for these odd front burners.

  2. Thanks for the info rudiedog. I wonder if the number following the dash indicates year of manufacture? I also need a new safety, I'll check ebay to see if I can find one. Did you just search for the part number off the old one, or what should I search for? Once I have my new one, I'll check out the old and see if there's a date on it.

  3. Ha, fun new info.! I'm hoping a few other PH owners find their way here, so the -yr made theory can be further tested. Very helpful info. about the front right burners too. I'll try to hunt down some burner pictures and put up a post on this topic the meantime, I hope Tappan Talk readers check their burner to see if they have a mini-burner in the center of their large burner.

    One caveat about buying a safety (or thermostat) on Ebay - absolutely know what you are getting..and verify it once you get it. Those two pieces are the most complicated on the stove and need to be in prefect working order to be safe. If a safety is not 100%, it can present a danger.

    I DO NOT want to hear about any of my fellow Tappan owners blowing up their houses ;)

  4. It has been so long now that I changed the safety that I don't remember if I found the same id number (nos) or if I bought a rebuild kit. After it was on, I had a stove company come out to make sure it was not leaking and to do the first lighting of the stove. Also, according to my book, these stoves are ordered with back burner sizes of Mighty-mite, standard, or Giant burner. My has the Mighty-mite back burners.

  5. This has the toe-kick which to me makes it 52 or later but the gold plastic trim throws me a little...I would have associated it with an earlier year. Also the graphic on the manual cover is early 50s it seems....

  6. Rudiedog - Good advice about the double check on a new safety before using it the first time :) I'll do a post on the burners in the near future...this has become an interesting topic. I'll admit that I haven't really paid much attention to them until now.

    Joe M - You are right about the toe-kick. I always forget to look for those (probably because I don't have one!). All of my Deluxe manuals have the same cover (save the very early one)...have you seen late 50 ones with a different cover? I haven't made a connection between the handle materials & year...I always thought that may indicate basic vs higher you have thoughts on that?

  7. With the manuals there is the woman figure which first appears in the 40's manual and I had thought was replaced with the "Tappan Boy" just as the wreath motife on the serv-a-tray was replaced. I have speculated that the appearance of the Tappan Boy was later, not earlier, and I may be incorrect. I also think that the amber rings date it as later. The "gold" trim wore so badly, especially on the clock face, that I have assumed it was discontinued as a trim at some point within a 2-3 yr period. All speculation S.H.which made me think early 50s,'52-'53.

  8. I've also noticed that the metal inserts in the center of my burner control knobs are gold in color instead of chrome. Is this common?

  9. Michael - You have what I call the "gold package" (from hanging around too many car fanatics). It was pretty common to have the gold trim on the knobs if you had the gold on the back splash (and handle trim). The gold package seems like it was a popular option on the AV stoves.

  10. My mother has a much more basic that her parents bought in 1949 wheh she was in high school. In 1959 my grandparents built a new all electic home and sold to stove to my mother who was building a house 3 months later in the spring of 1960. The stove is still in use today having to replace the oven thermostat in 1969. It is very plain looking compared to the deluxe model you have pictured. The burner knobs and trim rings are white. The oven and broiler handles are white with plain metal trim in the center. No foot petal to release the broiler door. It does have the clock and timer and a panel and oven interior light. It is the only gas stove I have ever seen to have 3 burner sizes.

  11. Hello I just bought my Tappan Deluxe # HADV 668-7m It has the same burners and has the large square pyroglass grates and small round centered grates. Are those also Pyroglass? I am in the process of cleaning it out and waiting for my manual to get here from ebay. It is rusty inside and I am thinking of getting it re chromed inside. I would post pictures of this but I am not sure how or if this site still is active.


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