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Vintage Joe - page 2
By Mark Neeley

I use to frequent a local flea market that was held every Tuesday morning. I would go there before work and you had to be there early to get the good stuff. It was nicknamed the “flashlight” flea market by several of the old timers and you literally needed to be there before first light. In my weekly rounds I started to keep my eyes open for a very clean good electric percolator. In the meantime, we made do with the back up automatic drip that had been designated to the garage sale moth ball fleet.

Within the first couple of weeks of searching I saw several percolators. Many of them were missing the cords, baskets or tops. Finally, I came across a nice complete 8 cup percolator. It was a 1950s Sunbeam. I knew the name because I grew up with a couple of Sunbeam products that provided hot meals for me and my siblings during our entire upbringing. As I examined this percolator, I knew that I was looking at a quality product. The weight, the finish, the workmanship were all excellent. I didn’t know if it worked, but I knew that it would. After all it was made in America, by the same people that won the War. The ones who built America into a manufacturing power house of goods that were the best in the world. I knew this Sunbeam Model AP was of the quality that would likely exceed commercial levels today. When I went home with my find, I cleaned the pot several times and finally brewed my first cup. The coffee was some of the best I had tasted in years and it was hot!

Since I purchased that first Sunbeam, I have purchased a few more for family, friends and myself. Sunbeam manufactured a larger version of this percolator, the model AP-10 and this one is the one to buy if you need the additional cups. Sometimes the thermostat will need to be adjusted on this model especially the larger AP-10, but that is a common condition among percolators in general after years of being bumped around in and out of cabinets. Sunbeam promoted the quality of the model as evidenced in the accompanying original 1953 brochure for the percolator. They state the percolator “has the famous Sunbeam construction and engineering”. This is an understatement. It should read, built to last until your great grandkids are too old to consume a cup of coffee.

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