15 oddly specific kitchen appliances everyone seemed to have in the 1970s

A home was not a home without a Hot Dogger™.

There's an episode in the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati in which Jennifer (Loni Anderson) is showing Johnny Fever her kitchen. She needs him to pretend to be her husband. Because she once swore to a marriage pact with an old boyfriend….

Anyway, that doesn't matter. The point is Jennifer's kitchen is stuffed with electric appliances. All of them. A power strip runs across the backsplash, sprouting dozens of cords. The joke is that men are constantly gifting her with kitchen appliances to woo her. This counted as courtship in the 1970s.

Jennifer has every appliance on the market at the time. Like her, you would need a plethora of outlets to power all these, even if you just wanted a few hot dogs. Imagine the electric bills. Today, cooks prefer natural gas appliances. Back then, however, it was all about electricity. Let's take a look.

Did you — or do you — have any of these appliances?

1. Electric Fondue Set

A party wasn't a party without a hot pot of molten cheese. The little stabbing, dipping forks make eating more fun. 

Image: Sears / GoRetro

2. Presto Hot Dogger

"Cook six hot dogs in 60 seconds!" the box proclaimed. The Presto gizmo did more than speed-heat franks. The sharp skewers held your wieners by the ends and gave them a dramatic curl shape. Straight dogs were for squares. And, yes, Jennifer proudly shows off her Hot Dogger to Johnny in that WKRP episode.

Image: Wish Book Web

3. Bun Warmer

If you're cooking up six hot franks, you might as well warm up six buns in your electric bun warmer.

Image: Wish Book Web

4. Peanut Butter Machine

Jennifer also points to her "peanut butter maker." Peanut butter maker? Indeed! The Salton® Peanut Butter Machine could churn out chunky or smooth bread spread for just $24.99. Or $5 per month. Yeah, you could pay for a peanut butter machine in installments.

Image: Wish Book Web

5. Super Shooter

Entertaining was everything in the 1970s. Naturally, the fondue pot would be the centerpiece of dinner. But before that, you had to serve platters packed with deviled eggs. And the best way to squirt the, er, devil onto your eggs was the Wear-Ever® Super Shooter™. You had to eat a ton of deviled eggs to make this $24.49 purchase worthwhile.

Image: Wish Book Web

6. Electric Knife

Sawing back and forth with your arm is tiring. Just squeeze a trigger and let science hack through your ham.

Image: Wish Book Web

7. Food Slicer

Go to the deli? Pshaw. Bring the deli to your countertop.

Image: Wish Book Web

8. Popcorn Popper

Video truly did not kill the radio star. However, the microwave absolutely killed the electric popcorn popper. People had less patience for these machines once they could nuke a bag of Orville's in 90 seconds. But, oh, how much better these air-popped kernels were.

Image: Wish Book Web

9. Electric Ice Cream Freezer

Don't be fooled by the old-timey oaken barrel facade. This dessert whipper was also power by Edison, baby.

Image: Wish Book Web

10. Waffler

Mmm… waffles. 

Image: Wish Book Web

11. Electric Skillet

Honest question — did anyone use their range? Or was this for people without a stove? Because there's not really a huge reason to have an electric skillet when you can simply buy a skillet. But Everything Electric was the mission of the day.

Image: Wish Book Web

12. Whiz Grid

Tired of all those hot dogs from the Hot Dogger? Well, slap a few patties on the Whiz Grid™.

Image: Wish Book Web

13. Deluxe Woodgrain Crock-Pot

Yes, Crock-Pots are still coveted by cooks today. But back in the Seventies, wood paneling was all the rage. Even your cookware had to look wooden.

Image: Wish Book Web

14. Serv-It-Hot Food Warmer

Now that you've cooked all those hot dogs, beans, burgers, waffles and whatnot, you have to keep everything warm. Enter the Serv-It-Hot. Mount it under your cabinets or prop it up on your counter. Your kitchen is suddenly just like a Sizzler!

Image: Wish Book Web

15. Seal-A-Meal

Okay, you kept everything warm with the Serv-It-Hot. You made all the hors d'oeuvres with the Super Shooter. Some fondue cubes remain undipped. What to do with the leftovers? Seal everything up with this plastic bag contraption. Ziplocs hit the market in the 1960s, but maybe that was just too easy?

Image: Wish Book Web

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Phydeux 10 months ago
Holy cow! My parents had that fondue set! I always wondered where those forks came from. I'd recognize those colored tops anywhere.

My mom also had the yellow percolator at the bottom of the picture for #14.

I still use an electric skillet to this day for certain recipes, or on the rare occasion I cook a big breakfast. Just bought a new one to replace the beige Oster one I inherited from my parents.
ELEANOR 11 months ago
My electric can opener finally died. So I now use a manual one, the kind that stows neatly in the drawer. However, I have a BIG NOTE! This can opener CANNOT be put in the dishwasher because putting it in the dishwasher will cause the gears to freeze.
MichaelVegas 11 months ago
You know they still sell a lot of these today , and I have a (its now called) a Hot Dog Roller, it makes great grilled hot dogs, with its own bun warmers
Phydeux MichaelVegas 10 months ago
I recently watched Big Clive (a YouTuber electrical engineer) check out what happens when you put a 120V Hot Dogger on a 240V line. It's entertaining!
Lillyrose 17 months ago
I love Jennifer Marlowe's apartment. It is the prettiest apartment that I've ever seen! Pink furniture, and a doorbell that plays music! But I was wondering about all those appliances in her apartment. I was a little girl in the 1970's, but we didn't have any of those appliances. I've never heard of most of them. We do have a crock pot now. But it's not wooden.
CosmosJames 17 months ago
I still have & continue to use several of these appliances!
mjp 17 months ago
The only one I don't recognize is the Serve-It-Hot food warmer. I had forgotten about the Presto Hot Dogger but I know for sure we had one. And the electric skillet was great for certain casserole-type dishes in that you could keep it on low heat, plus we used ours as a grill for pancakes and French toast as well.
GonzoStrangelove 18 months ago
I have a bun warmer and ice cream freezer, both of which still work. However my real pride-and-joy is my original Hot Dogger, AND I have the original manual! It's in pristine condition, and I can only assume it wasn't used very often. I last used it a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly, it does a fine job of cooking a wiener thoroughly and very evenly!
MichaelVegas 19 months ago
I can not believe it, I must have been rich I had the Hot Dogger, The electric knife (We STILL used it until a couple of years ago, it was great) The electric skillet (Still have one and still works) the Ice Cream maker, and the popcorn popper, but what I really would like to know, how many fingers were cut off using the "Food slicer" I mean I get scared when the deli cuts what I want
I still have a Hot Dogger, though mine isn't arched like the one pictured; it's flat-topped and kinda oblong. It still works (I last used it a couple of weeks ago), and I have the original manual, too!
CarolKelley 20 months ago
The original Crock-Pots had a crock that you could not remove. I don't think the lasted long though. I got mine in '79 and the crock was removable.
scp 26 months ago
I recall my family having an electric knife, a food slicer (I think we might still have it tucked away on a shelf somewhere in the basement), a popcorn popper, an ice cream maker, a waffle iron, an electric skillet, and a crock pot (well, we still have one now, but the one we had back in the day was, I think, avocado green)
twfromindy scp 20 months ago
I have my Mom's electric knife and it still works! It's the same as in the ad shown.
mjp twfromindy 17 months ago
Me too! Use it every time we have ham and it does a great job!
scp 26 months ago
"But, oh, how much better these air-popped kernels were."

I think that particular type of popper used oil; it looks similar to one we had when I was little (and we still have and use the plastic bowls that came with it).
CarolKelley scp 20 months ago
Those electric popcorn poppers are still wonderful even if you don't ever use them for popcorn. They are excellent at roasting coffee beans. If you use the kind that requires oil, they need to thoroughly cleaned. The air popper is good to go.
Art1957 26 months ago
I worked at my local Consumers Distributing store in the late 70's and the Presto Hot Dogger, The Super Shooter, The Seal A Meal and the Fondue Sets were ultra hot items and add the Mr. Coffee to that list. They didn't make enough of them in my opinion because people were going nuts for that stuff and they sold the complete shipment every single week. People would literally scream at us because we had to tell them we were "Out of stock"
DogPatch1149 29 months ago
What? No Presto Burger on here at all?
WyattJames 33 months ago
I still have the electric knife my grandmother bought my dad one Christmas; it got used for several years. I have more than one of my parents’ and grandmothers’ waffle irons but I only ever remember one of my grandmothers making them. BUT, I have mom’s original Sunbeam electric skillet, plus the Westinghouse my grandmother gave me when I went to college. The later one still gets used a lot, plus my 2 crockpots. However we were not sophisticated, no fondu pot or other specialty cookers lol
Amalthea 33 months ago
We had the electric knife, a hot-air popcorn popper, a waffler (and, if you flipped the irons, you could cook burgers on the flat surface), and, of course, a Hot Dogger. Now, I have a crock pot & an electric skillet.
Joe 33 months ago
I didn't have that specific Presto® "Hot Dogger", but, I still have a 70's electric hot dog cooker in it's original box! It's somewhere in a storage container in the garage and I forgot it's name, but it's circular in shape, and stands about the size of a regular-sized hot dog and cooked about six dogs at a time. It seems the longer I keep these older items, they'll eventually appear in a #MeTV nostalgia tweet. :)
DavidBartholomew 33 months ago
I did NOT have #2,3,4,12,or 14.

The Super-Shooter was more for fancy, holiday cookies than Devil eggs. As far as I know, those CrockPots are still mandatory in every kitchen, as are Waffle Irons and Electric Skillets.
JDnHuntsvilleAL 34 months ago
Seal-a-meals are another thing that MeTV Millenials don't understand. Still useful today, if only for buying your meat in larger quantities (thus lower priced). Seal up the pieces with your vacuum sealer and pop them into the freezer. Will last much, MUCH longer than using Ziploc crap. (Ziploc permits freezer burn.)
Not to mention that a vacuum sealed bag can be immersed in hot water if you want to sous-vide something. Sous-vide machines are not terribly expensive and are supposed to be amazing.
JDnHuntsvilleAL 34 months ago
"Because there's not really a huge reason to have an electric skillet when you can simply buy a skillet."

Little do you know. My mom use to make our Sunday dinner, pot roast with potatos, carrots and onions in her electric skillet. Turn the skillet on hi, brown the roast, then lower the temperature, sprinkle the roast with onion mix, add sectioned potatoes, carrots and onion, a cup of water, cover and then off to Sunday school and church. When we got home -- dinner was ready.

She made this so often that I use to call the pot roast "Sunday meat."
I used my electric skillet all the time in my dorm room at UGA in the 70s and I still have one. Even though I have a cooktop with 5 burners, that skillet is useful.
RobCertSDSCascap 40 months ago
This whole list reminds me of The Cosby Show, when Claire put Cliff on
"appliance probation"!
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