Ads from Architectural Forum – Kitchen & Baths

November 22, 2010 — 6 Comments

So it’s time for another round of ads from the Architectural Forum circa 1939 and 1940 but this time I am focusing on Kitchen and Bath ads. Other than white lead ads, kitchen and bath products take up more than their fair share of advertising space in these old Forum magazines. I understand that times were different and the roles of men and women were defined somewhat differently than they are today but I can help but confess that I was surprised at how gender specific these ads were.

Hope you enjoy them the same why I did – with one eyebrow raised.


The architect specifies it, the builder installs it, the client enjoys it. All agree … Nairn Wall Linoleum is the most modern and ideal material for walls.

All I can think of is – Wow! That is a lot of linoleum!! It’s on the floors, it’s on the walls, it’s the back splash – I mean, everywhere … The last time I had a client request linoleum on the walls was, hmmm, let me see … there was that one time … no, .. wait – that wasn’t linoleum. What about that … nope, not then either. Oh yeah, I’ve never had someone ask for linoleum on the walls, that’s right… Maybe I should start suggesting it? I mean, look how happy that woman is up there – she dancing and shaking her frying pan around! (or maybe she’s winding it up to throw it at someone’s head…)


There is a big difference in the quality of bathroom cabinets; but for only a few dollars more than the cost of a cheap, tinny cabinet fitted with a shock mirror, you can equip any bathroom with a beautiful MIAMI cabinet.

Uh-huh … what’s a shock mirror?


Roomier bathing. Flatter bottom for safety. Two inches lower. PLUS a flat front rim inches wider providing a comfortable seat. Here’s luxury bathing for the modest home

Those do all sound pretty good – that tub, with the design features they list, is a standard now. The good stuff indeed doesn’t ever change.


Women expect the modern kitchen to be efficient and to have all the latest equipment. But it’s up to you to give it the dash of charm that adds “heart appeal.”

You heard it here Mr. Men, in order to give women what they want, you are going to have to give them the brilliant sparkle of stainless steel along with colorful porcelain enamel. Just look how happy you will make your woman …


You can have exactly what you wish whether for a luxurious or a modest establishment.

For the most part, it’s not like anymore – you have your high end manufacturer’s lines and then you have modest manufacturer’s lines. In this case, you can get installed America’s #1 refrigerator, the revolutionary Frigidaire “Cold-Wall” refrigerator for $167.


How many kitchens have you planned? Curtis has helped over 50,000 American Housewives plan their kitchens.

WOW! so 50,000 kitchens huh? Scoreboard on me, I’ve only done like 60 (sad face). So who is this Curtis Kitchens? … he sure looks like he’s have a good laugh at someone else’s kitchen drawings. So if you do the math, 50,000 kitchens works out to 1 a day for 136 years – that’s just crazy talk.



I hope you have enjoyed another installment of really old and funny ads from a long time ago. I know I have.




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  • working in preservation, I must admit I’ve seen a few of these things actually installed!
    linoleum walls? check. they were 50’s diner turquoise and red with lots of aluminum trim bits. it was kind of awesome.
    steel cabinets? check. loved those too. the current owners had taken them out and moved them down into the basement. had some story about how the original owners were very concerned about fire, and how the only reason they took them out was because the giant stove died and they couldn’t find a new one to fit the opening anymore. it must not have been a frigidaire…

  • Hilarious! What a great find. Linoleum walls, hmmm wait five minutes someone will hail it the newest thing in “greening the kitchen.” Yick. You are right though, nobody asks for it.

    And “…stainless steel with colorful porcelain enamel…” Well we are certainly going ga ga over the stainless (such a pain to clean though if you really cook). Bring back the enamel, it was cleanable and it lasted. Think we could call it an enamel “anti-microbial” finish?

  • Richard

    For a laugh, I read this out to my wife…Why was she not laughing with me Bob?

    I just got the latest Architectural Products Magazine in the mail. I wonder how this to will be seen in 60 years…

  • That last ad with the colors actually looks as if you are to slide in the color “du jour.” Like those hand-held machines where you could click and make a name-tag, then stick it on something. Woweeee, so modern!
    And I almost hate to admit it, but if someone gave me the stove & fridge of my dreams, I might actually be charmed! Ah well…

  • Jeremiah Russell

    what I love is in the first advert, the portion of wall that extends beyond the cabinet and into the breakfast area starts out round at the base and then is suddenly square at the head of the opening. Gotta love “artistic interpretation”. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      There is something weird going on there …

      Some other things about that first image that made me laugh – the slide in range has the same linoleum base as the rest of the cabinets (unlikely) and there is a clock on the wall above the range that I am sure reads “time to clean the wall” since there weren’t exhaust hoods available. At linoleum is easy to wipe down!