Magical Oven: The Frigidaire Flair

As part of its efforts to maintain safe distancing during classes, Cranbrook Schools has spread out all over campus. This includes the use of the Edison House, former home of visiting scholars to Cranbrook Institute of Science.

The history of Edison House and a look at some of its unique features have been explored already (see earlier Kitchen Sink blogs Edison House a Modern Icon and Photo Friday: Modern inside and Out). But one particular object in the house has a special Cranbrook, and a magical, connection.

1965 Frigidaire Imperial Flair oven installed in Edison House. Photos by Daniel Smith, CAA ’22.

In the Edison House kitchen is installed a 1965 model Frigidaire Imperial Flair range and oven in Honey Beige. Frigidaire was owned by General Motors when the Flair was introduced to the market in 1962. An electric range, the Flair has burners that roll in and out much like a drawer, hidden from view when not in use. The double ovens sit right at counter height, and the oven doors lift up instead of swinging out. As a Frigidaire advisement in Cranbrook Archives proudly pronounced, “Flair has every automatic feature you’ve ever wanted!”

Ideas for Living, 1960
An image from “Ideas for Living,” 1960. Copyright General Motors. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives.

First, the Cranbrook connection: Many aspects of the oven, including the mechanics of the lifting oven doors, were designed by M. Jayne van Alstyne. Van Alstyne, whose papers are held in Cranbrook Archives, studied ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1941 and 1942 before going on to study industrial design at Pratt Institute and Alfred University in New York. From 1955 to 1969, she worked for General Motors, first with GM Frigidaire and later as one of Harley Earl’s “Damsels of Design” in the automotive division.

As Studio Head for GM Frigidaire, she led the research and development of appliances and oversaw product exhibitions, including the “Ideas for Living” show where the Flair debuted in 1960. Her signature oven and range (as well as many other modern electric appliances detailed in the dedication booklet) was installed at Edison House in 1966.

Kitchen in Edison House, “Cranbrook’s New Idea Home,” May 1966. Harvey Croze, photographer. Copyright Cranbrook Archives.

Second, the magical connection: From 1964 to 1972, Actress Elizabeth Montgomery starred in the television sitcom, Bewitched. It told the story of Samantha, a witch, who marries a mortal, Darrin Stephens (Dick York). Samantha agrees to live the life of an ordinary housewife. Of course, things don’t go as planned and hilarity ensues. In their kitchen, the Stephens had a Frigidaire Flair, which appeared in a number of episodes.

Actress Elizabeth Montgomery on the set of Bewitched with her Frigidaire Flair. Photo Courtesy of Grace Kelly, Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc.

Anyone who sees the Flair in Edison House will agree it is a marvel of design. While they won’t be whipping up lunch on the appliance, I hope the kids taking classes in the house will take a moment appreciate it. As Frigidaire promised in 1962, the Flair is “The happiest thing that ever happened to cooking… OR YOU!”

Leslie S. Mio, Associate Registrar, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research

20 thoughts on “Magical Oven: The Frigidaire Flair

  1. The Frigidaire range in this article was a dud from the beginning. There were no replacement parts available for the inevitable. Since fixing was out of the question the owners had to completely redo their kitchens. How do I know, a friend owned a Wallace Frost house in Birmingham that required a new kitchen when the Frigidaire went south.


  2. You have to be a detective find parts, mostly on ebay, etc. I only have the ovens, not the full stove but it is the best oven design I’ve ever seen. They need to start making them again!


  3. I have a Frigidaire Flair I purchased in 1962. It is the single oven style. It has all the control burtons as well as the instruction booklet that came with the purchase. It is sitting in my basement, plugged in but unused. I still feel the oven design was the best anyone ever came up with, and wish I could buy a modern oven with the lift door. So much easier to use. Anyone interested in purchasing it would be welcome.


    • Marilynn Blair– I’m sure this is a stretch, but was wondering if you still have your 1962 Flair? If you do, would you still consider selling it? You may email me at if you have it and would part with it. Hoping to hear back! –Melissa


  4. I too grew up with the double oven model in our kitchen. I now can appreciate the fine engineering and design easily overlooked as a child. I want a new version of this oven updated with induction elements and convection ovens. Maybe a pizza oven on one side?


  5. My grandmother has a 1960s Custom Imperial Flair Freestanding Stove, that she is interested in selling. It was fully functioning when we removed it from her kitchen a few years ago, and has been garage kept ever since. If anyone would be interested in purchasing it, here is my email.


    • Hello! Yes, I AM INTERESTED in your Frigidaire Flair Stove. We have one and have used it since we moved into our home in Columbus, OH in 1986. Unfortunately, the Right Oven Temperature Control, which controls the larger of the two ovens, has died. Our repair person tried to fix it, but it needs replaced.

      Where are you located? My info is below if you can contact me. THANK YOU!


  6. I’m looking for a stove knob for a 1968 gas stove ( Sears Classic )
    I ran across the 1965 Frigidaire Imperial Flair oven which is very similar. Do you carry any of the knobs?


  7. Pingback: The Frigidaire Custom Flair - Helen on Wheels

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