When it comes to a chrome table, buy new

img_3260A lot of people come to this blog looking for things related to chrome tables — particularly those chrome tables that are covered with the cracked ice Formica. I myself was in that same place about a year and a half ago when I first got a wild hair to obtain one such table. Red cracked ice is what I had my heart set on, and I’m a little embarrassed to say that it became somewhat of an obsession. I scoured eBay and local ads, pouncing on anything that said “50’s table” or “chrome dinette set.” But alas — as is the trouble with being an antique hound, it takes a lot of time and energy to find what you want. Even if you are lucky enough to find what you want, the other part of that battle is finding it in good condition.

Some have purposely redecorated in 50’s style (like I did), and others just want that warm nostalgic feeling that comes from sitting at the same sort of table that Mom used to set each night. Either way, this table is going to be a centerpiece of your home. A fraction of people will be lucky enough to find a table that meets their specifications in regard to condition and color. The rest of us will have to find a different avenue.

My advice? Buy new. Yes, it costs more, although in some cases, it won’t. The chrome tables in excellent condition are not selling much less than the new ones. The owners of those tables (most of them, anyway) know what a priceless commodity they have; they’re not dumb. They’re going to make you pay a nice chunk of change in order to grab a piece of 50’s nostalgia. If you know what you want in regard to color, size, and style, then buying new is the easiest avenue to take. It’s the same cracked ice Formica that originally adorned chrome tables; it’s the same shiny chrome that surrounds and supports those tables. Buying new gives you the added bonus of being able to get that same thrill out of seeing a shiny, colorful table in your kitchen as the housewives of the 1950s did.

I know I have talked a lot in the past about American Chairs, and I will swear once again that I am not affiliated with that company in any way, shape or form. When I find a company that gives me ease of ordering and great customer service, then I will be sure to give them a shout out whenever someone needs a product that they sell. I spent a lot of time browsing different sites that sold customized chrome tables. None of them had the ease of ordering and customizing that American Chairs did. I could browse the site and set up the table size I wanted, along with the sort of laminate I desired, and also customize the style of chairs that I wanted to surround my table. It was so easy — and I ended up getting exactly what I wanted, rather than having to settle for something in a different color or in substandard condition.

If you’re not into cracked ice but still want a 50’s style Formica, then you’re in luck, because American Chairs offers a ton of other finishes as well. Like boomerangs? They have it. Like the virr varr pattern? It’s there. I had so much fun “trying on” different Formicas before again settling down with the red cracked ice that I originally wanted. The options were endless, it seemed.

I have had my table since December, and I’m still in love with it. I love cleaning it up after a meal and making the chrome shine. It’s unique, it’s retro, and it’s mine. Now go get yours.

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  1. Wendy’s avatar

    Looks awesome!!!! Brian found me a real 1950’s table. It only needs to be shined (which will now happen since it is nice outside).

    Reply

  2. Monica’s avatar

    Mine has flaws, I wanted red but got a yellow!! old ones all have flaws!

    Reply

  3. Leah’s avatar

    If anyone is interested, I have an 50’s era formica and chrome kitchen table in new condition. Looking to sell it for $400.00 plus you take care of shipping!

    Reply

    1. June Cryer’s avatar

      Where are you located? I have been looking for that kind of table and chairs.

      Reply

    2. Jack Honetor’s avatar

      Hello,
      We are looking for the red metal and chrome table and chairs and if this is what you have could we see a picture?
      Thank you,
      Jack

      Reply

    3. Leah’s avatar

      I also have some original, never installed wall paper from the same era. Make me an offer on that one.

      Reply

    4. Ben’s avatar

      Hi, I love your chairs. My wife wants gray/white tables and chairs. The Americanchair website looks great, but I have not been able to see a set in person. I’m in the Los Angeles, CA area, do you know of a dealer that may have a set on display? Recently, I was at a 50’s type diner and found myself under the table looking for a name. I called Ruby’s a local diner, and asked for the name of their furniture dealer. They acted like I was asking for nation’s top secret plans. Are happy are you with Americanchair?

      We plan to redo our kitchen in the 50’s style and also liked your floor.

      Thanks

      Reply

      1. Jen’s avatar

        Ben: Thanks for stopping by! Although I do not know a place that would have this stuff on display, I would think you could direct that question to American Chairs and see if they have sold some sets in your area, which I’m sure they have. The chairs I have from American Chairs are called Richardson Seating. They have their own website as well at http://www.richardsonseating.com. I am very pleased with this table and chairs; they are the same kind used in restaurants, so they’re sturdy and well made. As for the table, I love it too, but the shiny finish does scratch fairly easily. This probably wouldn’t be as much of a problem with a family that doesn’t have small children as I do. I try to keep a tablecloth on it and that doesn’t detract from the wonderful look of the table.

        I have been very impressed with the good customer service of American Chairs. Give them a call or send an email about seeing a sample of their products; I’m sure they’d be happy to help you out. Good luck with your ’50s kitchen! I’d love to see pictures of it when it’s all said and done. I love seeing what people come up!

        Reply

      2. Matt Kennedy’s avatar

        I don’t believe you will be able to find the commercial chairs and tables in a retail store. I am very familiar with Richardson Seating and its line of retro furniture. The retro furniture it produces in its Chicago based plant is actually top quality restaurant furniture. The chairs and stools that Richardson Seating manufactures are intended to last for years in a commercial restaurant setting. They will last even longer in a kitchen or a basement. I have never heard a bad thing about Richardson Seating furniture and I have never heard a bad thing about American Chairs (although technically American Chairs is a competitor). My only suggestion is that if you are particular on color choice, make sure to request swatches from whomever you decide to order. If you want to take a look at how Richardson Seating manufactures its products, check out its video at http://www.richardsonseating.com/richardson-seating-videos.aspx

        Reply

      3. Debbie’s avatar

        I have a question about your cracked ice laminate table from American Chairs. The original formica cracked ice tabletops had somewhat of a “pearly” appearance in the design. Is that still the case with the new products ? Or is it now just the pattern itself with a glossy finish ? Thank you.

        Reply

        1. Jen’s avatar

          It is just the pattern with a glossy finish. If you look at the top of the blog (the title), you can see a closer picture of the pattern. I have not seen an original red cracked ice table up close, so I can’t really give you a good comparison of the two. The pattern itself has light and dark contrasting spots — perhaps that is the pearly aspect you’re describing? In any event, you can probably get a sample of the laminate by calling American Chairs. Good luck in your search!

          Reply

          1. Tracie’s avatar

            I just picked up an original red cracked ice table with a leaf inside and 4 chairs. It was sitting out for the garbage of an old lady’s house who had passed away. I couldn’t stand to see it go in the trash so I put it in my garage – anyone know where I can sell it? I want someone other than the county dump to appreciate it.

            Reply

            1. Jen’s avatar

              Tracie: If you want me to, I can post a story on this blog about your table, or perhaps you could list it on Etsy or on eBay, although shipping might be a hassle. You could always go with “pick up only” on eBay, though. Do you have a used furniture store, antique store, or a thrift shop in your area that might take it?

              What a find! I hope it finds a good home. I enjoy mine every single time I look at it!

              Reply

              1. Tracie’s avatar

                Jen – That would be great if you could post something. I don’t even care about making money on it – I just know that they’re highly sought after and I couldn’t stand to see it go to the dump. I’ll try posting elsewhere and see what happens. I’ll check into some local stores but am completely out of my element on this one. We’ll see what happens. I’m in the Charlotte, North Carolina area if anyone is interested in it.

                Thanks.

              2. jane zinkle’s avatar

                Am very interested in your table and chairs. Please email me.
                Thanks

                Reply

              3. Tracie’s avatar

                Just to let you know, we recently came across an old laminate dinette set with red cracked ice laminate. It’s an oval table that slides open and has a leaf inside. An older lady in our neighborhood had passed away and her family cleaned out the house so they could sell it. We found it just sitting there waiting for the trash men to come and get it. It has four chairs that someone had recovered at some point. I don’t know a lot about these tables but I do know they’re highly sought after so I couldn’t stand to see it go to the local dump. It does need the chrome strip relplaced around the edge of the table and a little TLC to the chairs. I’ve had an ad on craigslist for over a week and no one seems to be interested. Any idea where I can sell such a thing?

                Reply

              4. berts upholstery’s avatar

                I WOULD LIKE TO ORDER 5 YARDS OF CRACKED ICE COLOR GREY THANKS KEVIN

                Reply

                1. Jen’s avatar

                  I don’t sell cracked ice vinyl, but you can get it from American Chairs (www.americanchairs.com).

                  Reply

                2. M’s avatar

                  I am from Michigan and I have a cracked ice table and 4 chairs for sale. The table is light grey and the chairs are red and grey with the brads or hobnails on the backs. I f you are interested please contact me by email and I will send you a photo.

                  Reply

                3. jayne’s avatar

                  im buying a 50s chrome table off of a guy on craigs list, he says the table has a date on the bottom and the chairs are in excellent shape, my question is the table is yellow and the chairs are green and white with studs, would that of been the original chairs that came with the table? and i have seen pictures of the table.

                  Reply

                  1. Jen’s avatar

                    It’s possible that the chairs came with the table, as green and yellow would have been a typical colorful combination. Is he claiming that the chairs are original to the table? Given the ease at which someone can now buy custom-made diner chairs on the internet (like I did), my best advice would be “buyer beware” when purchasing anything off Craigslist. If originality is important to you, then proceed with caution and do your research. Is there a brand name on the table and chairs? For me, it really boiled down to getting a table and chairs that were red and in decent shape. After a few years of fruitless searching, I purchased new. That’s not to say that I don’t ogle the original table and chairs when I see them in antique stores. If you can find an original and it’s what you want, then go for it. Good luck!

                    Reply

                  2. Denise’s avatar

                    I love your shiny table and the floor.
                    My mother give me the red cracked ice table we all sat at as kids, when she moved into apartment.I also have 2 leafs and the buffet and the little red pottie chair.I’ve had them since I was about 30 and I’m about to turn 60 I’m not use to the computer as you can see.
                    I want to find out what colour were the chairs when the set was bought.don’t know how to find out.would like to cover then close to the original.So I can pass them down to who loves them as I do.
                    If you can help that would be great ,if not thats ok
                    I enjoyed the picture and your adventure
                    Thank You

                    Reply

                    1. Jen’s avatar

                      Denise:

                      Thanks for visiting! I’m glad that you also have a red cracked ice table to enjoy. :-)

                      I don’t know how you’d go about finding out what color the chairs were other than noting the manufacturer of the table and then trying to find some old ads of theirs. Who made your table? Do you know approximately what year it was purchased? I have some old bound collections of Better Homes & Gardens magazines and the like that have some old ads for chrome tables … I might be able to help you out.

                      Jen

                      Reply

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