How Do I Identify a Vintage GE Stove?
A vintage General Electric appliance should have the key information you need for identification somewhere on the stove. In most cases, you can find the stove's year of manufacture by decoding the model number. Once you locate the model number on a vintage stove, you're armed to find parts. You may even be able to locate an original range handbook with vintage recipes.
Learn the Lingo
To save time in researching the stove, note whether it's gas or electric. Electric models have a power cord. A stove or range has burners on top and and one or two ovens. The term cooktop generally refers to a contemporary appliance for stovetop cooking only. "Oven," in the context of looking up model numbers, refers to an appliance that serves exclusively as an oven and isn't equipped with burners or a griddle on top. For online searches and in catalogs, look under "GE range" or "General Electric range" as well as "GE stove." Vintage GE stoves are usually free-standing ranges. The range's width is often a key point in a description, such as a 40-inch range.
Find the Serial Number
Your detective work begins with finding the stove's serial number. It's usually on a metal tag affixed to the stove. The tag includes the stove's model number. The tricky part is that the location of these numbers isn't standardized. The GE website includes a diagram of locations. On older models the numbers might be inside the oven or on the back of the stove. A common location for the numbers on pre-1980 stoves is between the hinges of the oven door; the tag is visible when you open the oven door. If it's not there, lift the front left burner and look for it on the inside wall. On models with a storage drawer, the tag may be on the frame's front, visible when the drawer is open, or on the left leg.
Decode the Number
The letter or letters at the beginning of the model number are the code for the year and month of manufacturer. The GE Appliance website includes a chart for decoding serial numbers for model years from 1944 to recent years. The first letter in the serial number stands for the month and the second letter is for the year. The second letter can stand for more than one year, yet the years are far enough apart to avoid confusion. For example, if the second letter in the serial number is A, the GE stove was made in 1944, 1977, 1989, 2001 or 2013.
Find a Match
If the model number is missing or illegible, browsing through pictures of vintage GE stoves can help you find a match. Look for an identical or similar model to help determine the stove's age. Sources of pictures and descriptions include auction sites and catalogs of companies that specialize in antique and vintage appliances. Auction sites and collectibles dealers sometimes have vintage advertisements for GE ranges and GE range handbooks. For a fee, archivists at the the Schenectady Museum Hall of Electrical History research questions about GE -- including products.
Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.
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