Thomas Liquid Stainless Steel

Our house was built in 1940, and I have always admired the whole World War II / Mid-Century look. I don’t have an exact date for our Kenmore Electric Range, but I would guess early 1960’s, maybe even late 1950’s. If it is not quite in the same class as some of the antique vintage restored stoves that are so popular these days, it is close enough for now.

And it is white.

Our top-freezer refrigerator, a 2002-03 Roper, is also white. It came with the house, and it works just fine, but we both hate its guts because the fridge is so low and so poorly laid out that you have to get down on your hands and knees to reach way back there for the Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauce, Hot & Sassy, knocking over yesterday’s extra chicken broth in the process.

So I have always lusted after a new refrigerator — especially a retro-looking one that would be brand-new and yet compliment the range and make me feel like Jimmy Stewart and want to dress like The Houndstooth Kid.

Elmira Stove Works has Northstar Refrigerators which would fit this bill, and there are also Big Chill fridges that could work, but so far we have always had some more pressing use for the $2,700 to $4,000 or more.

If and when we get one, I would want it to be white, to match the range and the whole general period.

A few days ago, however, I read an OnMilwaukee.com item that has completely revolutionized my thinking. Andy Tarnoff’s Holiday Guide entry, “A gift a day: Liquid Stainless Steel for your old appliances,” has fired my imagination with news of a world-changing new breakthough: Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel.

Not only does Tarnoff spotlight the product, he has personally tried it out on his own refrigerator and stove. There are photos. Reading his account, it seems like his total outlay was about $74 for both, with less than a weekend’s work:

And you know what? It looks really, really good. From five feet away, you’d swear these are actually stainless steel appliances. The color is a bit more silver than the dishwasher, which has a yellowish tint, though Thomas’ site warns that every stainless steel appliance is a slightly different hue. If you get really close to the appliances, you can tell that I painted them, but that’s more a function of my craftsmanship than the product, itself. Once I put on some refrigerator magnets and hang some dish towels from the handle of the stove, it should look totally convincing to all but the most scrutinizing eyes …

Step aside, BeDazzler. Put a cork in it, Erase A Hole. Clearly, Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel is going to be the affordable beautification application that sweeps the nation this season.

Added to my holiday wish list: Refrigerator magnets and dish towels.

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