Having grown up with, learned to cook on and generally taken for granted the vintage gas stove in my family's kitchen, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a red one just like it on the Food Network, crouched behind Rachael Ray. Stoves like our 1952 Chambers Model 90C (above) have become all the rage and it's no surprise. They're beautiful, obviously durable and hey, what good cook doesn't like cooking with gas? When restored, these stoves can command upwards of $4,000.
We acquired ours in the mid-70s while our house was being restored. As you can imagine, the house has evolved around the stove, which hasn't really moved in a few decades. While it still cooks just fine, there's a bit of finesse involved. There's no pilot, so the oven and ranges must be lit by hand. This usually results in a fun "booof" sound that makes most guests back away from the stove.[Photo: John Vagnoni] When we inquired with our gas man about having our range refurbished, he told us he was going to pretend he didn't even see it, otherwise he would have to declare it unsafe. Still, there are kits available to bring some Chambers ranges up to speed.
In googling "Chambers stoves" I came up with plenty of info about upkeep and restoration. One of the better sites for the Chambers enthusiast is Todd W. White's Chamberstoves.net. You find guides to model numbers and restoration, a surprisingly lively discussion board and even some recipes.