Thread Number: 72967  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Ranges With Cook Wells
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 963973   10/23/2017 at 07:08 (336 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

As a little kid in the early 60's, I had relatives who had freestanding ranges with those cooking wells built where a burner would normally be. My mother had a GE surface unit with a wall oven so we didn't have that.

Seeing commercials, and remembering aunts of mine cooking in those wells, it seems like a really neat thing to have, particularly before slow cookers.

Can anyone on here comment on why that feature disappeared, whether due to newer technology or due to drawbacks inherent in the design? Postwar ranges, at least up until around 1970, seem much more exotic than what came afterward.

Post# 963977 , Reply# 1   10/23/2017 at 07:24 (336 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Deep Well Cookers On Home Ranges

combo52's profile picture

These were promoted because they used a little less power due to less heat loss around the pot. You could also use them as an extra oven to bake things like potatoes thus saving the cost of heating the entire oven.


With probably only one exception Deep Well cookers were only offered on electric ranges, one of the biggest challenges of selling electric ranges in the early days was the cost of operation of an electric range.


Using an electric range usually cost about twice what a NG range cost to run, this meant for a family cooking in the 50s a cost of around $5 per month which was real money for families in that time period.


Generally DWCs had lower wattage elements, but as time went on they increased on many brands. Most DWC elements were raise-able so the element could be used as another surface element. Most were 8", but some were 6", The DWC was almost always in the LR position on the CT.


John L.

Post# 963980 , Reply# 2   10/23/2017 at 07:33 (336 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

Thanks for your reply! You're right, it hadn't occurred to me that they'd be electric ranges.

Post# 963989 , Reply# 3   10/23/2017 at 08:40 (336 days old) by MixGuy (St. Martinville, Louisiana)        
Deep Well Cookers

Among gas ranges, Chambers and Maytag in the 1940s and 1950s had models with deep wells and both offered cooking with the gas off using the oven too. That was there promotion to offset the higher cost of these well built ranges.

I was wondering how durable were the pots that fit these cookers? Most of what have seen in resale shops were made of aluminum and seem difficult to clean. GE/Hotpoint had a deep fat fryer attachment that included a heating element that was submerged in the fat it was supposed to provide faster recovery in maintaining frying temps. Their TOL ranges at that time also included a pressure cooker that fit in the well.

The instruction/recipe books included with these ranges provided detailed explanations to utilize the savings in fuel cost. Menus were included as well that had eye and taste appeal to the average family using readily available ingredients.

Post# 964010 , Reply# 4   10/23/2017 at 11:38 (335 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
many of these cut into the oven cavity, or more or less, the storage side of stove...

isn't it odd by todays standards compared to back then......yes, those pots may have seemed hard to clean, but at the same time, a lot of cookware was cast iron....

I recall a lot of people had these deep well units, but hardly ever used them, and by the same account, these same people, and even people today who deemed them useless and unwanted, have counter tops full of appliances like slow cookers, deep fryers, and steemers.....

yet, they already had this stuff all along....

if given the choice, would love to have the option available if purchasing a new stove...

another thing missing from current electric stoves, that electrical outlet....and a full lighted console....all the more reason to go vintage....

Post# 964015 , Reply# 5   10/23/2017 at 12:05 (335 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

My mom used the deep well pot on her '49 Westinghouse quite a bit.  I don't ever remember her using it as a steamer even though it had a rack that could be positioned at two or three different heights, but soups and pasta sauces were mainstays.  Sometimes she'd start the process on a regular burner and then transfer the pot back into the well for simmering.


That pot was almost black on the bottom exterior for all of the use it got over the nearly 60 years she had that stove.  I've read that acidic foods aren't a good match for aluminum, but perhaps that's more about looks than anything else.  While the bottom and interior looked well used, the lid and top rim of the pot looked good as new until the day I sent that stove off to its new owner in rural Georgia back in 2008.

Post# 964016 , Reply# 6   10/23/2017 at 12:07 (335 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
lighted ranges

I can remember staying with one of my aunts and uncles overnight. When I'd wake up before dawn, I'd go in the kitchen where she was making breakfast for him before he went to work--it was the smell of bacon or sausage that would wake me. She had one of those ranges with double ovens and one of those wells. The fluorescent light would be on, on the range. She would put a slice of bread under the broiler for me, then put a little peanut butter on it and put it back in to melt. It's funny, that's over a half century ago and I remember that big range and sitting there under that light, eating that hot peanut butter on bread.

As for cast iron, even though most of my relatives were living in the country, I never saw any cast iron stuff until I was grown. They used aluminum for the most part (think Magnalite or Club), or stainless steel (think Farberware or Revere Ware).

Post# 964027 , Reply# 7   10/23/2017 at 15:30 (335 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

Offered a portable Econo Cooker , as they called it, basically a deep well cooker with a thermostat control similar to a small roaster, it was sold with double oven ranges so the small oven could be somewhat larger.I have one and it works great.

Post# 964041 , Reply# 8   10/23/2017 at 17:43 (335 days old) by MixGuy (St. Martinville, Louisiana)        
Aluminum Cookware

Aluminum cookware stay new looking when promptly cleaned after cooking, acidic foods like tomatoes keep the interior shiny. Certain dishwasher detergents affect aluminum very badly, I know from experience Cascade Platinum is one of the worst. Guilty of being lazy about hand washing some times. Anyone know which ingredient(s) is/are the culprit(s)?

Post# 964053 , Reply# 9   10/23/2017 at 18:45 (335 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Deep-well cookers were really only practical on 39"-40" ranges. Hotpoint did make a 30" model that had one, but the oven was much smaller than on other 30" ranges.

Post# 964084 , Reply# 10   10/23/2017 at 22:39 (335 days old) by 114jwh (Vancouver)        
Moffat Ranges... Canada offered the option of a deep well cooker with their TOL 30" Ranges. It was possible because the pot wasn't as deep as a traditional one, plus it sat a couple inches above the work surface rather than completely concealed and level with the cook top. You would otherwise lose oven capacity since it sits above the only oven in the 30" ranges.

The element was thermostatically controlled so it cycles to maintain temperature just like a electric frying pan.

It doesn't seem overly advantageous without it being that deep. However you don't really lose any functionality either since the element could be raised up and used just like a standard one.


  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 964103 , Reply# 11   10/24/2017 at 04:18 (335 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

askolover's profile picture

My grandmother had a Crosley range with a deep well element on the left rear.  I always thought it was neat.

Post# 964216 , Reply# 12   10/25/2017 at 05:47 (334 days old) by gredmondson (San Francisco, CALIFORNIA)        

gredmondson's profile picture
My folks built a house in 1959, and there was a Thermador range top, 46" wide, I think, that had a deep well burner in the back right. It could be changed to a regular burner by lifting the burner up with a wire bail. My mother used it just a few times, but she did not like it, so the burner was left in the up position.
That range top also had a griddle in the middle that was used all the time.

Post# 964227 , Reply# 13   10/25/2017 at 07:06 (334 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

Thermador used to make some really cool appliances. My best friend growing up down the street from me in the 60's, his home was custom-built in the late 50's and had Thermador appliances. It was the first refrigerator built into the wall, with stainless steel doors for the top and bottom, that I'd ever seen. It didn't go all the way to the floor like a Sub-Zero (which our next door neighbors had, matching freezer and fridge units in tourquoise, built 1960), but ended a foot or so above a matching piece of cabinetry to the rest of the kitchen. I know his mother didn't replace that Thermador fridge until the late 90's; imagine that kind of life these days!

They also also a cork floor in their den, perfect for little boys to play with cars and stuff on, on rainy days.

Post# 965850 , Reply# 14   11/3/2017 at 19:13 (324 days old) by diesirae7 (Central Illinois)        
1950s gas Maytag stove with deep well

I'll be picking up tomorrow if all goes well, I'll get to check this out and see how it works!

Post# 965851 , Reply# 15   11/3/2017 at 19:18 (324 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture

Troy, another feature this gas rang3e has it's so heavily insulated, you can preheat the oven and cook for a short time with the gas on and then turn the gas off and it continue to cook for a long time.  There may be documentation on these ranges in Ephemera section. 

Post# 965866 , Reply# 16   11/3/2017 at 20:32 (324 days old) by MixGuy (St. Martinville, Louisiana)        
Maytag Dutch Oven Cooking

The cookbook written to accompany these ranges was awesome. There are oven meals and menus, useful charts, detailed instructions for maintenance, skillet dinners, basic baking. There was even a service for a time, mailing new menus to the range owners. Maytag got out of the gas oven business back in late 1955 or early 1956. When the oven is turned off, the vents are closed to retain heat longer. Chambers ranges had cookbooks and menus very similar. Alma Chambers (founders daughter) went on tours to demonstrate Chambers Ranges before television was affordable and available.

I have seen copies of the Maytag Dutch Oven frequently on eBay. There were at least two editions of the cookbook and the only differences I have found are the number of models to choose from and the White Cake Recipe.

  View Full Size
Post# 965899 , Reply# 17   11/4/2017 at 00:22 (324 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture

Russell, thank you for the great information. 

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy