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Old 19th Oct 2019, 2:31 pm   #1
Colourstar
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Default English Electric cooker

This cooker was apparently installed in 1961 and was with the original owner until a couple of years ago. I acquired it for the princely sum of 99p on ebay, apparently in full working order, with the exception of the clock. It is unbelievably dirty, decades of Sunday roasts having left their mark.. Shame no one realised in all that time that the oven side and bottom panels simply lift out for cleaning!

In fact the whole cooker is beautifully 'modular' in terms of restoration. Every bit of it is removable in a remarkably user-friendly way. The glass oven door and main door simply lift off their peg hinges, the entire cooker top lifts off and the rings and elements simply unplug. All of this makes cleaning a lot less of a headache than it would appear on first inspection.

Points of interest are the large 'flat' cooking ring and the heating elements of the oven, exposed when the panels are lifted out. No fan assistance here! The hob light is a nice period touch. Fluorescent lamps tended to be fitted a bit later on so I expect that this one will comprise one or maybe two 15w pygmy bulbs. Its so greasy I can't tell from the external appearance.

Oddly this cooker was acquired whilst on a mission to pick up a slightly later 60s cooker (also English Electric) way down in Surrey. An ebay browse on the laptop whilst idling away an overnight stop in a hotel revealed this earlier model up for grabs in Leicester, a lot closer to home. So now I have two 1960s EE cookers at a total outlay of 5.99 (excluding travel expenses).

Why do we do these things? It's all good fun!

Steve
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 2:34 pm   #2
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

And some more showing the pluggable rings, oven with the panels out and finally the cleaned panels (the grimy one in photo 5 is the bottom panel shown afer a clean in photo 4)
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 3:03 pm   #3
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Fascinating! Looks like you're going to need some cauistic soda to get rid of all that carbonised grease.

And I remember those 'flat' spiral elements - my parents had a somewhat similar "Revo" cooker in the 60s which used them - alas the outer jacket of one wore through with continuous heavy use, resulting in a Bang! a Flash! and downstairs being plunged into darkness until MEB came out to replace the appropriate supply fuse (we had 3-phase), followed by my mother demanding (and getting) a new cooker.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 8:42 pm   #4
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

I used to love those Smiths clocks when I was a kid. The way the red arc indicates the cooking period is a brilliant design.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 11:39 pm   #5
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Hi Steve,
I just knew when I saw the thread title that it must have something to do with you!

I'm glad you have finally found not one, but two cookers! What are the chances of that?

It's interesting to see the plug in elements- very novel idea. Have you tested each one with an insulation tester (Megger) yet? That's always the biggest problem with old cookers- leakage to earth in the elements.

Hope they all prove to be OK as I guess you are planning to put this into daily use?

Good luck
Cheers
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 9:52 am   #6
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Hi Nick

In truth this cooker is not the one of the two that I'll ultimately be using. I bought it to save it, as I had a feeling if it didn't make it's 99p opening bid it may be heading for the tip and that would have been a real shame.

Alas I don't have a megger, just the previous owner's assertion that it all worked (in it's grim state) before being disconnected. Time will tell but there's an awful lot of cleaning to do first!

Steve
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 11:18 am   #7
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Similar era to our English Electric 'fridge, only retired because the blue liner had cracked and was deemed a bit unhygienic.

Even an old 500 volt wee megger is well worth getting, and they are cheap. The chances are if you get two of the same spec. one of them will be either working or salvageable. I don't really know how i got on without one for so long.

I would say that cooker was well worthy of being saved- partly because so few people are of the mindset (and have the room) to be willing and able to.

Dave
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 12:51 pm   #8
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourstar View Post

Alas I don't have a megger, just the previous owner's assertion that it all worked (in it's grim state) before being disconnected. Time will tell but there's an awful lot of cleaning to do first!

Steve

Even if the elements were leaking like sieves, in a house with no RCD, the leakage would just happily go down the earth wire and no-one's the wiser unless/until there's an earth fault.



A cooker in that state might still be used acceptably safely if you could be bothered with the expense of a 3kW or so isolating transformer.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 1:17 pm   #9
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Plug-in elements were common at one time, my parents had a 'Falco Royal' cooker where evertthing plugged in (and which had a bank of rewireable fuses inside, the rings, oven, grill, timer motor, etc each had their own fuse).

The plug-in rings are close-to-unobtainable now. I tried to get one 25 years ago, no luck. You can sometimes modify the plug-in part to take one of the screw-fixed spiral ring elements used in 1970's cookers (which are a little easier to find).

I think I still have one 'large' plug-in element and 2 or so smaller screw-fixed ones on the shelf. If anyone is interested they are welcome to them but they have to be collected from me I'm afraid.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 1:32 pm   #10
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Quote:
I used to love those Smiths clocks when I was a kid. The way the red arc indicates the cooking period is a brilliant design.
When our cooker (about 1970) was replaced I asked, and got, the timer same as yours. It is a remarkable design, modern ones don't cut it at all.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 9:41 pm   #11
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Come to think of it, I may have actually have an ancient bakelite megger somewhere.

The work continues and diligent cleaning is the way. I've not needed to resort to anything more aggressive than Jif liquid cleaner, a wooden spatula for scraping, scourer pads and a lot of elbow grease. Compare the cleaned grill area with photo 4 in the first post of this thread.

Photos below show before and after images of the light glass and chrome surround from the hob light, which turned out to contain a single filament strip light, rather than a pair of pygmy bulbs.

Still a long way to go! Every screw is being removed, cleaned with a small wire brush and replaced. A bit of a labour of love....

Steve
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 2:49 am   #12
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourstar View Post
This cooker was apparently installed in 1961 and was with the original owner until a couple of years ago. I acquired it for the princely sum of 99p on ebay, apparently in full working order, with the exception of the clock. It is unbelievably dirty, decades of Sunday roasts having left their mark.. Shame no one realised in all that time that the oven side and bottom panels simply lift out for cleaning!

In fact the whole cooker is beautifully 'modular' in terms of restoration. Every bit of it is removable in a remarkably user-friendly way. The glass oven door and main door simply lift off their peg hinges, the entire cooker top lifts off and the rings and elements simply unplug. All of this makes cleaning a lot less of a headache than it would appear on first inspection.

Points of interest are the large 'flat' cooking ring and the heating elements of the oven, exposed when the panels are lifted out. No fan assistance here! The hob light is a nice period touch. Fluorescent lamps tended to be fitted a bit later on so I expect that this one will comprise one or maybe two 15w pygmy bulbs. Its so greasy I can't tell from the external appearance.

Oddly this cooker was acquired whilst on a mission to pick up a slightly later 60s cooker (also English Electric) way down in Surrey. An ebay browse on the laptop whilst idling away an overnight stop in a hotel revealed this earlier model up for grabs in Leicester, a lot closer to home. So now I have two 1960s EE cookers at a total outlay of 5.99 (excluding travel expenses).
In the US, we call them "Ranges". The range that you're restoring is what we referred as apartment size, around 20 to 22 inches wide, with four burners on top, plus the oven. Another thing is the high profile of the control panel. Ours were just 8 to ten inches from the range top surface.
I never owned an Electric range, so when I bought one, I bought one with the glass cook surface. I don't cook very often, but it is easier to keep clean.
Dave, USradcoll1.
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 6:31 am   #13
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Agreed the glass top "ceramic" hobs are a world away from solid hobs.
As for restoring a cooker, the closest I have got to is stripping down the control panel on the Belling Format my Gran owns, looked much better afterwards. Means it still looks really good (near new) after over 30 years of use (admittedly the glass top was replaced at some point but years ago), it's always nice cleaning up an older piece of equipment and making it look like new.
Our Zanussi looks less nice despite the fact that it is much newer, most of that is due to having legends printed on the surface and most of them having been rubbed off, annoyingly a single legend ring is 13! The Belling has all the legends on the back of a piece of glass/behind glass so no amount of cleaning of the front will rub off the legends.
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 9:55 am   #14
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

this takes me back to being a small kid and spending a lot of time at grandparents/aunties houses in the summer holidays etc. they always seemed to have either a pan of chips or slowly simmering boiled spuds on the go, and I knew my nan was getting old, old, when the tins of cakes in the pantry stopped getting topped up, i was always fascinated with the look of these cookers.
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 12:46 pm   #15
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Quote:
Originally Posted by dglcomp View Post
Agreed the glass top "ceramic" hobs are a world away from solid hobs.
As for restoring a cooker, the closest I have got to is stripping down the control panel on the Belling Format my Gran owns, looked much better afterwards. Means it still looks really good (near new) after over 30 years of use (admittedly the glass top was replaced at some point but years ago), it's always nice cleaning up an older piece of equipment and making it look like new.
Our Zanussi looks less nice despite the fact that it is much newer, most of that is due to having legends printed on the surface and most of them having been rubbed off, annoyingly a single legend ring is 13! The Belling has all the legends on the back of a piece of glass/behind glass so no amount of cleaning of the front will rub off the legends.
I love those Belling Format cookers from the 1980`s, and I`ve had the control panels apart on a few of them over the years, bit fiddly but look so much better for a clean up. I actually own two of them, a 600X which was the very first ceramic from about 1982, in immaculate condition (I keep that one as a spare, as you do!..........), and a later 1980`s version which I spotted on Ebay - new old stock, so I grabbed it! That one is my daily driver, and is as close to brand new as I`ll ever see.

I`ve always had a bit of a fascination with Belling cookers, which I think stems from my grandparents buying one of the very first Belling fan ovens in the 1970`s, and it lasted right up until about 10 years ago and had to be scrapped only because I couldn`t get a thermostat for it
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 1:44 pm   #16
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

My parents had a similar but newer cooker until the mid 1980s, when they replaced it with a Tricity with halogen hob & fan oven.

I think it was a New World, but not sure about it.
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Old 22nd Oct 2019, 1:59 pm   #17
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Default Re: English Electric cooker

Five posts split to a new thread: https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=160732
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