Sears Indestructo Still Going Strong After 92 Years!

Originally published by Laraine Shape on May 13, 2014

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“Gentlemen, Please be advised that we are well pleased with the Indestructo furnace you sold us for our Sears home. It has performed as advertised and, in fact, has outlived your life expectancy claims of “Guaranteed for 20 years in writing!”

The furnace turns 92 years old this year and is still going strong. As you know, we had it converted from coal to natural gas some years back and it has kept
our family warm all these years…including this most recent winter which was unusually cold.

Thank you for making such a fine product. Very Sincerely, Wilheim C. Stegner – somewhere in heaven.”

Wilheim-C.-Stegner-3753-Frances-Ave.-Cheviot-OH-Feb-1942
Original homeowner/builder Wilhem C Stegner 1942

 

 

I had a feeling about this home from the moment I saw it on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website. It just felt like a Sears home. And when I met with the Executrix of the estate for the purpose of listing the home for sale, I asked if it was a Sears house.

To her knowledge it was not a Sears home. But as I traveled through the house, I continued to feel it was a Sears kit house. And the more we talked, the stronger that feeling became. The house has Sears doors and trim, a Sears Indestructo furnace, original Sears light fixtures and underneath the exterior faux brick siding is narrow wood siding with decorative fish scale and the porches both have bead board ceilings (under vinyl).

Then she mentioned there were blueprints for the house back in Vermont. (Gasp!!) But she was here in Cincinnati getting the home ready for sale. So she called her husband and asked him to see if he could find something on the blueprint that said Sears.

That evening I scoured my Sears plan books to see if I could find a plan that matched. No luck. I could not for the life of me find a one bedroom plan that matched. The only thing that came close was the Starlight model…but it was a two bedroom, with the kitchen placement behind the dining room. Dang!

The following day, when we met to sign paperwork, I was disappointed to learn that her husband had checked the blueprints and found no mention of Sears.  He said there was something in the corner of the print, but not Sears. I pressed on and asked what it said. The prints did not say Sears, they said “Honor Bilt Modern Homes No. 7009.” OMG! The Starlight model!! And the reason I couldn’t match it to the Starlight was because of the homeowner’s modification.

Wilhelm Stegner built the house as a one bedroom and the way he did it was by eliminating the kitchen behind the dining room and instead using the 2nd bedroom as the kitchen. Of course! Here’s a rendering of the original Starlight model. (See below for photo gallery of blueprints)

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Original siding detail
Original siding detail
Original front porch detail
Original front porch detail
3753 Frances Ave-Front-Primary
3753 Frances Ave., Cincinnati

Right-side-frontSide-view-from-street

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UPDATE ON BLUEPRINTS
What an exciting day it was when I received the blueprints for this house from Vermont. Unfortunately, they were so brittle and fragile from age that they were impossible to copy as I had planned to do. Paper just doesn’t withstand the years the way cast iron furnaces do. In any event, I carefully unrolled the 3 pages (partial set) and did my best to get some readable photos. Here they are.

2014-08-12-001-0022014-08-12-001-0032014-08-12-001-0062014-08-12-001-0052014-08-12-001-0042014-08-12-001-0182014-08-12-001-012 (1)