Pure gold. This is when the NYTimes really shines. Reporting in If the Shell Fits, Fix It, Carole Braden tells the story of Mike Arnold, who has forsaken new houseold appliances for old ones, for a very simple reason: the old ones last longer and are easier to fix (oh, and they can be very beautiful as well).
In a 360-degree turn of Mike Arnold’s kitchen, it’s the dishwasher that disconcerts. A late-model Jenn-Air with a stainless steel front and jet-black detailing, it looks as if it has crashed a party of hotties from another era. In one corner stands a 1928 Frigidaire refrigerator with a porcelain face. In another sits a white 1950 Frigidaire range, its shiny hubcap-like knobs practically begging to be touched.
Starting when he was 15, Mr. Arnold began fixing used appliances. He now runs a business out of his home in Troy, NY rehabilitating old appliances for collectors and afficianados all over the country who send theirs to him for repair. Prices range from $950 to $3,000. We’re talking about vintage refrigerators, stoves, washer dryers, and even electronics, which he takes completely apart, cleans out, fixes, paints and puts together like new.
MonitorTop.com, Mr. Arnold’s website bills itself as one stop shopping for 20th Century Appliance Restoration, complete with parts, literature, appraisals and sales. If he doesn’t have it, he says he’ll get it, build it or copy it! If this was ever an interest to you or if you have a great old appliance you’d love to resuscitate, Mr. Arnold is for you. MGR