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He's a range warrior

November 13, 2010 | 11:10 am

She's an unlikely traffic stopper: hefty, over 50, her complexion a grassy green and yellow. But, David Aikens says, people driving past his Inglewood store often stop to ogle this voluptuously contoured gas stove, manufactured at the beginning of the baby boom era.

According to Aikens, the stove's restorer, lust for these midcentury beauties is found not only among cooks, who appreciate the heat-retaining properties of their cast-iron burners and the convenience of a warming oven. Classic 1950s stoves — capacious, curvy and often chrome-trimmed — also attract buyers who rarely even boil water.

Click here to read more about Aiken and the California-made Wedgewoods and O'Keefe & Merritt stoves that he repairs and sells. When expertly restored, even a modestly sized, all-white stove can cost more than $1,000. Something more stately, like a Town and Country model — about 5 feet long, with six burners, two ovens, a broiler and storage — can cost $9,000 or more.

David Aikens, of Aikens Furniture, with an O'Keefe & Merritt Town & Country stove, left, circa 1948. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times