Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vintage Wolverine Cabinet

In 1903, Benjamin Bain founded the Wolverine Supply & Manufacturing Company based in Pittsburgh, PA. The company originally made metal tools and dies. Around 1913, a toy company contracted Wolverine to manufacture the equipment used to make toys. When the toy company went out of business, Wolverine started their own toy line and continued operations until the 1970s.

I bought this tin litho Wolverine kitchen cabinet from a woman who played with it as a child in the 1950s. Except for a little rust in the interior of the lower cabinet, she and her sister kept it in excellent condition. It's 20 1/8" tall x 17" wide x 6.75" deep. These cabinets usually sell for $40-$150 depending on the condition and the rarity of the design. Sometimes they come as counters with shelves, stoves, refrigerators, cupboards, and yes, even the kitchen sink. I've seen a tin armoire, dresser and bed. I like my particularly version because I can open the cabinet doors and drawer.

The kitchen I'm designing is based on Kit's era, which is during the 1930s Great Depression. The dainty aesthetic of the design fits better with the turn of the 20th century Art Noveau movement though. It's not until the 1940s and 1950s do you see the with streamlined white and pink refrigerators and stoves with the futuristic curves.

You can also sometimes find great kitchen miniatures suitable for 18 inch dolls on Ebay under the categories Toys & Hobbies > Vintage & Antique Toys > Kitchen Sets. Or if you want to only look at Wolverine, here's a direct link:

The majority of Wolverine kitchen designs I've seen have been sleek white backgrounds with red stenciled outlines, which fits more with the 1940s sensibility. I've also seen pink, yellow, blue, and light green which is in style with the 1950s. Sometimes they do use intricate designs that include Dutch wind mills, faux wood, Mother Goose, and floral.They are toys after all.

Here's some current auctions:

This Cabinet is more a 1930s aesthetic, especially the yellow and green.

Hutch with faux wood

Full Kitchen Set

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