Thread Number: 47506
GE Versatronic Range, Dishwasher & Hood
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Post# 689885   7/16/2013 at 17:34 (3,537 days old) by xpanam (Palm Springs California )        

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Post# 689906 , Reply# 1   7/16/2013 at 19:15 (3,537 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Really like that range!

Post# 689916 , Reply# 2   7/16/2013 at 19:45 (3,537 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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That's the Versatronic version of the J757 TOL GE range I would so dearly love to find.

I am that close to giving up and cooking on Sterno!

Post# 689923 , Reply# 3   7/16/2013 at 20:16 (3,537 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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That's a GSD1200 dishwasher!! First time I've ever seen the harvest gold panel displayed on it.

Post# 689929 , Reply# 4   7/16/2013 at 20:43 (3,537 days old) by xpanam (Palm Springs California )        
Conventional and Electronic (Microwave)

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Is this true? If it is WOW! I know they still have Convection, but no more Microwave. What happened?

Post# 689958 , Reply# 5   7/17/2013 at 00:11 (3,537 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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"I know they still have Convection, but no more Microwave. What happened?"

The Versatronic concept just wasn't a strong seller. It was expensive, and consumers weren't that keen on the idea of learning how to work with it - it had so much capability it sounded complicated (Quick - how do you figure the correct timing for your grandmother's roast beef using both microwaves and conventional?).

People want simple, not complicated. And they seldom use all of an appliance's capabilities - how many microwaves are used just for Lean Cuisine and popcorn, when they could be making all kinds of home-cooked goodies?

This post was last edited 07/17/2013 at 01:13
Post# 689975 , Reply# 6   7/17/2013 at 03:45 (3,536 days old) by xpanam (Palm Springs California )        

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Hi Sandy! Thank you that dose make perfect sense. I wonder how much this was in 1971? If I remember correctly microwaves were around 300 400 dollar's back then. This thing would be fun to experiment with. But not with a $50.00 standing rib roast! LOL.

Post# 689985 , Reply# 7   7/17/2013 at 06:25 (3,536 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The manuals for these were thick with instructions to eliminate guesswork and they turned out beautiful results. I use the micro-thermal combination cooking capabilities of my "Amanda" range in cooler weather, but the oven is not well enough insulated to turn on during the summer.

Post# 690018 , Reply# 8   7/17/2013 at 10:12 (3,536 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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You're quite right about how well the Versatronic was supported with instructional material. That was not the problem.

The problem was that the average person could not imagine what the Versatronic could do for them while passing by it on the sales floor. It took a sales pitch, and very many people make it a firm practice never to put themselves into the hands of a salesperson unless absolutely necessary. A lot of people think of all salespeople as slick (with some justification), and they also don't like to put themselves into a situation where it will be apparent they don't know anything about the product.

Post# 690711 , Reply# 9   7/20/2013 at 10:50 (3,533 days old) by bwoods ()        
why the demise of the Versatronic

I am going to add my own speculations as to why GE quite making the Versatronic range based on my family's owning one.

My dad purchased one replacing our Tappan Fabulous 400 range in November 1974, along with an Americana side by side with ice and water in the door, in Avocado green. The year before he had bought a General electric Potscrubber and became a GE fan. Who wouldn't having replacing a Modern Maid dishwasher with a GE. :)

The only difference in our oven with the one pictured above is it was a "high-low" model that also had a conventional oven on top.

There was really no issue with difficulty learning to operate it. I don't think anyone in the family ever looked at the instruction manual, but me. To use the microwave capability you just turned the timer knob. Period. No power control, nothing. You just rotated the timer knob. You wanted conventional oven with it. you just turned on the conventional oven.

Much simpler than todays electronic ovens. One knob for microwave. You just turned t to the time you wanted. If a four year old had a stool to reach the controls, they could operate it. I am sure the simplicity of operating it was a selling point.

I think the biggest downside was the cost. I don't remember exactly what my dad paid, but he did comment on the expense. I think it was in the $600+ range. In 1974 dollars that was a fairly high price for a stove.

Most people didn't want to replace their stoves, back then, to get microwave capability, so they bought countertops.

The upside of the oven was it was full sized and you could get a gigantic turkey in there.

The downside, it was slower than most countertop MW units, because of the oven cavity size. We had at least four repairs, under warranty, to the antenna line, which keep burning and arcing, that went from the magnetron to the antenna. There was actually a visible antenna coming up from the bottom center of the oven. It was a little metal disc on a ceramic insulator post.

My dad had bought an extended warranty from GE. If I remember correctly after several years they discontinued offering the contract on that model as, they said, parts were no longer available. My parents keep the range, but bought a countertop microwave, everything else on the stove kept working fine.

The oven was self-cleaning which was nice when there was a spill over or sausage explosion, etc.

But the bottom line was the MW part of the oven was slow and repair prone. My moved loved it otherwise. It baked very evenly and had a built in exhaust fan. It was a good looking appliance, even if it was Avocado green. Believe it or not it seemed like a nice color back then. :)

My speculation is that GE was losing money on the in warranty repairs. The General Electric repairman said they had many problems with the conventional/mw units.

Shortly after my parents bought their Versatronic, GE did away with the regular sized conventional oven with MW capability in the bottom and went to their "high-low" Versatronic unit having a conventional microwave replacing the top oven.

Post# 690787 , Reply# 10   7/20/2013 at 20:37 (3,533 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
GE Versatronic Ranges

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Were made from about 1956-current in various forms. The oldest one that I have in our collection is a 1965 dual oven model that Tom and I rescued from a store on the eastern shore of Maryland about 20 years ago. GE did have a few times in this time period that they did not sell this appliance. Barry you are correct about one thing they were very easy to use, but you really did have to relearn many cooking techniques to use this wonderful oven to full potential. The Hi-Low VT range that your parents bought in 1974 would have retailed for between $1200-1500, and GE continued to build full sized Self-Cleaning 30" ranges with this feature into the 1990s and in the later 1990s they introduced the Ti-Vection slide in ranges and both single and double 30' built in wall ovens under both the GE and the GE Monogram names.


While many of these combination ovens did not have a very powerful MW feature it was not necessary, most originally had only 400-500 watts of cooking power. But when combined with regular heat this is all that was required to cook many foods BETTER that is possible with regular heat alone and in many cases 3-8 times faster. These ovens were very energy efficient and the whole thing was Self-Cleaning.


I cannot imagine not having one of these great ovens, I have 4 different full sized SC micro-combo ovens between the three different places I spend 98% of my time, they are one of the best cooking inventions ever. When I was first with my current partner a half dozen years ago I don't think that cooked on his 1990 WP electric range 10 times before I wheeled it out the door and replaced it with a Coloric combination ME range, and this range is used in combination mode at least 3 or more times every week.

Post# 690830 , Reply# 11   7/21/2013 at 00:12 (3,533 days old) by xpanam (Palm Springs California )        
Thank you John and Barry!

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That is very interesting. John can you post a picture of one of your ranges?

Thanks Rob.

Post# 690938 , Reply# 12   7/21/2013 at 12:29 (3,532 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
Beautiful GE stove and DW

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$1200-1400 orig. price? phew. YES! That is interesting, John. I too would love to see your micro-combo ovens(did not know they made these back then)..if/when it's possible.

And also, if you could even find one of these, aside from the GE above, are the Caloric's or other brands better/more reliable? I'm very interested in this.

Post# 690939 , Reply# 13   7/21/2013 at 12:37 (3,532 days old) by bwoods ()        
door latch

If I remember correctly. One did have to latch the door to start the microwave. I believe the door latch had two positions, MW and self cleaning.

My friend came over one night, right after my parents got the Versatronic and we decided to cook a large frozen pizza in the bottom oven, with the microwave power and heat.

I don't know what we did, but the crust was virtually inedible, I think we could have folded it and made a nice cardboard box out of it, though. We scraped some of the topping off and ate it and the crust went down the disposal.

We got the range right before Thanksgiving in '74 and the combination heat and microwaves produced a great turkey in a much shorter time.
My mom was thrilled.

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