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Family Handyman’s Vintage Projects From the ’50s

Family Handyman has always taken great pride in teaching readers to DIY through the use of step-by-step projects. To celebrate our 70th anniversary, here's a look back at some of our favorites from the 1950s.

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Homemaker’s Wall Desk, 1953

“It’s easier to keep kitchen accounts when you have some system about it. This functional wall desk makes it handy to pay bills, list grocery orders or to catch up on letter writing during those rare spare minutes in the kitchen.” 

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3-in-1 Folding Home Bar, 1954

“A home bar that not only makes ample provision for hospitable service of your cheerables — with plenty of shelves for glassware and fixings — but also fits into the decor of any room.” 

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Toilet Tank Repairs, 1954

“Always shut off water supply and flush toilet before starting any repairs. Work carefully for the tank is made of porcelain.”

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Preliminary Plumbing for the Attic, 1954

“Whether you work with copper tubing — for drinking and bathing water or hot water heat — or work with galvanized pipe — for drinking water, steam or hot water heat — this pipe work should be done before the wall surfacing materials are added.”

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Versatile Bench, 1955

“Only 68 feet of 1×2 lumber is needed for this bench. Using common pine, the cost of the bench (including screws and glue) amounts to about $3.50 — made of redwood, the cost is about $5.00 — and for $12 you can make this attractive bench out of hardwood.” 

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Pull-Out Pan Holder, 1955

“Storage of irregularly shaped pots and pans and other kitchen utensils should be convenient. If an attempt is made to stack these, the pile falls over. And the busy cook always needs the one on the bottom.” 

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2-in-1 Coffee/Dining Table, 1955

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“This modern efficiency unit is both a coffee and a dining table — and can be converted to either purpose in a matter of seconds.” 

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Room Divider, 1955

“‘Weaving’ of the plywood slats for this unusual divider can be done simply and quickly.” 

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Package Receiver, 1957

“A knock at the door from delivery men can be a most decided interruption and an annoyance to your wife. Also, it’s practical to have someplace for delivery when no one is at home. You can install this little two-way door storage for this purpose quite easily.” 

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Lawn Furniture, 1958

“Pleasing in appearance, the coffee table is made for serving refreshments out of doors but is sturdy enough to be used as an extra seat.” 

*For more amazing vintage Family Handyman content, visit our 70th Anniversary page.