Thread Number: 71618  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
My 1936 GE Range!
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Post# 947636   7/11/2017 at 08:58 by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        

Hello everyone. I know I haven't been active on here lately. I've been way too busy moving. Part of the moving process was getting used to having a worn out kitchen which was made in the 50s and never touched since. Unfortunately the oven was not from that period. It was a hideous 80s Kenmore gas stove with nothing electrical at all. That ugly hulking piece of metal had to go. In its place is now sitting a 1936 GE stove that I've had for some time. I love the way it looks and it fits perfectly in the hole. I can finally use it! All of the burners work as you can see. Unfortunately the oven isn't so lucky. It seems like the most complex part on this whole stove, the thermostat, has gone south. I came to this conclusion after I realized that neither the broiler or baking element were working. The selector switch seems fine and gives a loud and positive clunk like the burner switches.

I tried to get the thermostat out last night. What a fiasco. Everything is tied to each other and none of the knobs would budge. I stopped for fear of breaking the delicate Bakelite.

I did confirm however that the sticky thermostat knob was due to some out of whack internals to the thermostat. It seems to be kaput.

Does anyone have any idea how I could find a replacement or even someone who rebuilds them? I know of antique but I was wondering if any of you bright brains had any suggestions.

In the mean time I'll just make do without an oven. The deep well cooker is quite versatile. Tonight I'm going to use the deep well cooker to make a chuck roast, potatoes, and a blackberry pudding. All in one easy to clean container! It has a rack and little bowl that I will set the pudding in above the meat and potatoes. So cool. The recipe is coming from the instruction manual that I have for it. So many good recipes to try!

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Post# 947650 , Reply# 1   7/11/2017 at 10:08 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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What a nice looking range. Don't think I've ever seen a GE of that vintage. It seems to have been made for the space. Could we expect any range made today still looking that nice and functioning 81 years from now? Don't think so.

Even though this site is dedicated to gas ranges maybe they could provide some info as to rebuilding services?

Here's a site that states they rebuild electric range thermostats.

Post# 947651 , Reply# 2   7/11/2017 at 10:11 by spacepig (Floridas Emerald Coast)        

spacepig's profile picture
It looks perfect there! From the last picture, it looks like the kitchen cabinets are steel, correct?

Post# 947674 , Reply# 3   7/11/2017 at 12:46 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I agree.  It's a perfect fit and couldn't match the kitchen any better.


I hope you can get the thermostat extracted and repaired. 

Post# 947676 , Reply# 4   7/11/2017 at 13:01 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

That beautiful range and the tile were just meant for each other!

Post# 947712 , Reply# 5   7/11/2017 at 15:58 by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
Thanks for the warm response

Thank you all for the kind words. To answer some questions...
Yes, the cabinets are Steel. They must have 15 layers of crappy white paint. So many layers in fact that I almost couldn't make out the Youngstown Kitchen badge.

I do agree that it fits in nicely with the kitchen. It makes a worn out place like this look tons better.

Ken, thank you for posting those links. I will check them out.

Apparently the previous owner never used this range. Sure, there are signs of use but overall it is very clean.

The kicker is that I also have a matching GE flat top fridge from 1936 that has the same badge! It is also in the kitchen serving as a liquor fridge.

Post# 947716 , Reply# 6   7/11/2017 at 16:45 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

So wait -- are you saying those stove top elements are original?   If so, they seem like an advanced design for 1936, but they would also serve as a testament to the low use of this range.   I thought they were later retrofits.  It would really be something if today's Calrod elements would snap right in or be easily adapted if you ever needed to replace one.

Post# 947759 , Reply# 7   7/11/2017 at 23:21 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Those are the 110/220 elements if I recollect

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The thermostatic control for the oven is no problem - any universal oven thermostatic control can replace it. It's easier to replace than to try to fix those horrid plug in bellows they used in the pre-war stuff.

Beautiful stove.


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Post# 947790 , Reply# 8   7/12/2017 at 07:28 by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
I think this stove is an older design...

To answer Ralph's question...
I do believe that the burners are original. I have no way to back that statement up but they do all match. They have an emblem in the middle that says "hi-speed calrod". Strangely enough the cheaper stoves at the time according to the manual that I have had the open coil ni-chrome wire elements. The deep well cooker that this stove has in fact has one of those elements.

However, I don't think a modern unit would slip into place. For starters I have never seen burners quite like this. They don't plug into sockets. They have a "brick" underneath of them that has the wires going to it. From what I can tell, you can't separate the connection brick or block from the element itself. It looks to be riveted together. I also noticed that there are two separate elements within each unit. I think one is a lower wattage and one is a higher wattage. Only half of the element turns on on low or medium, the low and high wattage elements respectively. Then on high they both come on. At least this is how I understand it to work. It makes sense as that type of construction would simplify everything. I think that is why Panthera mentioned something about them being 110 / 220 units. Maybe you could explain that a bit more in detail?

Speaking of Panthera, thank you so much for sending a link to a universal thermostat. I think that will work wonderfully. I think I can get the old one out but only if I can get all of the knobs off. Unfortunately they are stuck good and tight. I really don't want to break one of them because I think they are very neat looking. Does anyone have a method to remove a stuck old bakelite knob? There don't seem to be any set screws as I had hoped for.

Post# 947796 , Reply# 9   7/12/2017 at 07:49 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        
Beautiful 30's example!

gansky1's profile picture
The elements are likely original, GE bought out Hotpoint/Edison Electric to get these Calrods in the 30's.

Not seeing the connection block on this range, I would venture to guess that they are similar to the blocks that GE used through the 50's & 60's until they changed to the plug-in socket type you're familiar with. You might be able to do a direct replacement with a GE element like (link) this one. They changed from the ceramic block to glass in later years, but the only thing you may have to do is swap the chrome ring around the edge to keep yours original looking, fit in the opening may depend on the wider ring as well. This ring replacement may be an interesting challenge depending on how your Calrods are mounted in the rings vs. the new replacements. If all of your elements are working now, you'll have some time to work this out :-)

Congrats on a really stunning range.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO gansky1's LINK on eBay

Post# 947807 , Reply# 10   7/12/2017 at 09:06 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Knobs and set screws

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Oh, never fear - there will be something holding them on tight. Manufacturers delighted in hiding the dratted things. Sometimes they even put a drop of carefully matched colour over the hole in which the set screw/pin was placed and smoothed it down. Sunbeam, for example, did that on some of their wonderful 1940-50's waffle irons.

It's most likely to be on the flat bottom or slightly recessed on the shaft - possibly inside of the range, even. Sometimes you can find where they are by locating a flat surface on the control shaft - the set screw will be perpendicular to that.


Somebody here is bound to know, though.


Using two elements run together, such as your range uses and playing with the voltage is a very easy way to get lots of heat settings from simple controls. Back before the infinite heat regulators, it was common. This is possible because when you halve the voltage*, you cut the heat output to one-fourth.* Let's look at what I can get out of two nominally 220/240 volt coils in such a configuration* (your range may not have done it this way, of course). Let's place one element at 1000 watts and the other at 1250. No idea what your's draw, of course.

So, both together at 220V gives us a whopping 2250Watts or a really hot 'high'.

Both run in serial at 220V gives us a respectable 563Watts or a pretty nice medium-low.

In between, of course, we could have one element at 1000W at 220 or one at 1250W at 220. Pretty good for medium, no? Medium high could be

1250W at 220V + 250W at 110V= 1500.

And so on.

With just a simple switch, you could have:


Med. High....1500


Med. Low......1000 (not ideal, but not bad)


Extra low.......300



In fact, many pre-infinite units did have either 5 or 7 settings and this is how they did it.

If your range only has 3 settings, I'm guessing they may have done it all on 220V.


What a neat stove! Keep posting pics, please. Love to see the innards behind the control panel!


*At this point, I'd like to speak to the ladies here who are clutching their pearls and foaming at the mouth about how AC is not DC and thus we must consider PF, etc: Darlinks, it's a purely resistance load. Seriously. 


Post# 947867 , Reply# 11   7/12/2017 at 16:47 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Heat helps to loosen bakelite.  Try putting a blow dryer to a knob and seeing if you can coax it off.  My mom's stove, which was 1) A Westinghouse, and 2) Made in 1949, did not use set screws on the burner control knobs.  Yours may not either.


I had a stubborn situation with an old Western Electric E-1 handset that had a transmitter cap that wouldn't unscrew.  A blow dryer and a strap wrench did the trick.

Post# 947881 , Reply# 12   7/12/2017 at 18:45 by Steved (Guilderland, New York)        
Service manual

For the price of shipping you can have this book! Nice if someone can use it!

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Post# 947920 , Reply# 13   7/12/2017 at 23:49 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Grab that book!

Post# 948028 , Reply# 14   7/13/2017 at 10:00 by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
Steve...Thank you!

I would love that manual. Contact me via email at and we can sort out the details. That will be a huge help. I love how you found my exact model in the book. I also love it's name!

Post# 948031 , Reply# 15   7/13/2017 at 10:09 by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
Panthera...good explanation

You explained that very well. Now it makes sense to me how simple switching can make a dual element burner have so many settings. Very clever. I will try to get some more pictures of it soon. I've been crazy busy. I will also order that replacement thermostat. Now that I'll have a service manual heading my way I should have no issues with getting the oven in tip top shape. I told a family friend about this range the other day, she is in her 70s. She couldn't understand why I would cook with something so old and simple. I told her it still looks great and it cooks just fine! She couldn't argue with how nice it looked. I suspect there aren't too many of these beauties still around even though they are simple.

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