Stainless may be out, white back in

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webmaster | 09/06/12
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For years, buyers of high-end appliances have been buying stainless steel finishes, unless it happens to be those Madera families who preferred white out of loyalty or because of an unwillingness to follow the pack. When one watches “House Hunters” on television, for example, one hears potential buyers complain because the appliances in the houses they’re looking at aren’t clad in stainless steel panels. If a house’s appliances do have stainless-steel coverings, the house-shoppers — many of them barely out of their teens — practically turn cartwheels of delight.

But, now an old adage is coming to bear. It is this: Hang on to something long enough and it will come back into style. Apparently that is happening in the appliance business, which is starting to sense a sort of stainless-steel overload, writes Ellen Byron in The Wall Street Journal.

“White is the new stainless steel,” Byron quotes a Whirlpool news release as saying. Twenty-five years ago, the same news release might have said the opposite.

One of the problems with stainless steel has been that it holds up well under use, and looks high-techy even on an old stove. That means lower turnover, which is an appliance maker’s bad dream.

In the old days, that was less a problem. When appliance makers began cladding their products in avocado and desert gold shades, it didn’t take long for them to change out the colors and keep consumers guessing.

But when stainless steel came along, most otherwise serviceable avocado appliances wound up in second-hand stores.

Throughout the 25-year changeover from colors to stainless that followed, fans of white held fast, and now it would appear that white, or shades of white, will rule again, along with black, and new colors ice and slate, which probably will be the avocados and desert golds of the future.

Keep that stainless steel polished up, though, because it will be due for a comeback in 25 years or so.

 

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