My O’Keefe & Merritt Stove Restoration

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I’m trying to document nearly everything I saw, did, bought, etc., during this restoration process. So it may take some time before this publication is complete. Why document it? I figure there have to be a few folks out there without thousands of dollars to buy a fully restored vintage stove, don’t mind getting their hands dirty and wouldn’t mind a few hints. The more I learn about them the more I get into them. These are awesome appliances.

I also have to document this so it’s possible to keep track of what I’ve gone through when I need to recall something important… well when I need to recall anything. 🙂

On Nov 2, 2013, I purchased an O’Keefe & Merritt gas stove (model # 500-2V) from a neighbor. After a kitchen remodel, there was not enough room for a 40″ stove, but she wanted to find a good home for it because she’d grown very fond of the stove. It’s my very first gas stove, an appliance I’d been anxious to acquire for several decades. It was also my first vintage appliance. Thus began an unanticipated yet tremendous educational adventure for me; my first do-it-yourself antique stove restoration. Hats off to Parkie O’Keefe and Robert J. Merritt (designer) for making those awesome ranges.

My model 500-2V OKM is 39″-40″ wide with a “Low Back” (no vanishing shelf). I estimated its birth to be early 1950s, March 1953 according to its clock date. It was hard to miss its distinctive 37 degree tilt-out control panel with the claim to provide ergonomic stand-up access to all controls. Not all OKMs have that characteristic, but it seems most do.

Weeks into this restoration process on my O’Keefe and Merritt vintage stove, I decided to name her Lucy.

Lucy looked fine on the outside. A few enamel nicks and corroded chrome in spots, but otherwise good for a often used home appliance over 60 years old. I loved her style, her lines. She was so welcoming and comforting, so wonderfully, blessedly non-stainless steel.

The backsplash had two time pieces (a clock and a timer) that flanked two electric plugs and a stove-wide light. The backsplash also had little chrome backsplash trim panel that looked like a silver tab. I decided to call this a ‘tiara’.

Lucy had four cooktop burners, and side-by-side oven/broiler units; two simmer grates, two cracked spade grates, a slotted broiler top and an oven rack. A very basic model; clean and simple.

Lucy has a “Grillevator” broiler on the left, oven on the right. And directions and cooking tips – right on the doors! So vintage. It seems that starting in the 1940s manufacturers were heavily promoting baking temperature accuracy as a selling point.

O’Keefe & Merritt Features

O’Keefe & Merritt antique stoves are classics and still one of the best quality ranges ever made in the USA. Due to their quality O&M value appreciates with time. Try finding any humble appliance today that’s designed to last for generations. Today’s manufacturers don’t want to make durable products.

A vintage stove could decrease the environmental impact of your purchase by 300% to 600%. Restored vintage stoves use a small percentage of the resources needed to manufacture a new one. Additionally, it’s obvious these stoves were built to last generations. They were built to be repaired, not replaced. These babies will easily last another 50-75 years, if tended to once in a while.

Today, an average new gas stove is about $1000 not counting extended warranties. It’ll be tiny, with no built-in griddle, clock, light, timer, no ability to bake up to 600 degrees. And it will have an average life of 3-6 years, if you’re lucky.

A restored vintage stove will, on average, be about the same price, have all those extras, bake up to 600 degrees, come with a proven track record and can last about ten times longer.

Supplies, Tools, Purchased Parts I’ve Used


  • acetone
  • aluminum solder & flux brazing kit
  • aluminum tubing
  • Blue Magic QuikSteel Extreme metal repair
  • brass and zinc washers
  • brake grease (high temp lube)
  • gas line thread seal tape (yellow)
  • gaskets sheets
  • Goof Off
  • high temp epoxy adhesive
  • high temp or oven insulation
  • high temp spray paint
  • household degreasers (various brands)
  • Hyheet graphite grease for gas valves
  • JB Weld epoxy
  • Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil
  • metal polish
  • Oately Great White pipe joint compound
  • paper towels
  • PB Blaster
  • phosphoric and muriatic acids
  • pipe cleaners
  • Q-tips
  • Rectorseal pipe thread sealant
  • Scotch Brite heavy duty sponges
  • steel wool
  • Tri-Flow lubricant
  • valve grease
  • wet/dry sandpaper
  • wood toothpicks


  • brazing torch
  • buckets
  • cat food tins (emptied, cleaned)
  • center punches
  • Dremel with abrasive buffs, grinder bits, polishing wheel, wire wheels
  • hammers
  • high power steamer
  • mandrels
  • medium and large blade screwdrivers
  • needle nose, round nose pliers
  • putty knife
  • shop wet-dry vac
  • small steel and brass brushes
  • spanner wrench
  • standard drill
  • steel machine screws
  • vice-grip pliers
  • wrenches


  • Front control knob with attached chrome bezel
  • 2 piece Grillevator broiler pan
  • 2 spade (arrow) burner grates
  • 1 gas burner valve
  • 1 set gas burner valve parts
  • 1 oven/broiler valve
  • 4 burner head high temp gaskets
  • Robertshaw oven/broiler standing pilot
  • model “Universal 9B pilot uni-kit”, brand news ones can be purchased at for a little under $40 (Jan 2014)
  • Robertshaw (BJWAZ) 4500-006 oven thermostat
  • Porcelain wire nuts
  • insulated high temperature single stranded wire

Recommended Websites for Information

Recommended websites for parts and such

The Internet Archive has a online copy of one of O’Keefe & Merritt’s Cookbook and Operating Manual. Even if you’ve had your OKM for a while, there are probably a couple of things you can learn about your stove in this manual.


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Vintage Stove Restorations & Repair Notes