Western Appliance History

We are proud of our long history of serving families and households in California, dating back all the way to the 1800s.

Bakersfield Store 1885

Bakersfield — 1873

We opened our first store in the golden state in Kern County. “Furniture Dealer & Undertaker” selling household goods for all stages of life, from the cradle to the grave. Literally.

RUR-L-GAS 1939

Santa Clara County — 1930s

Heading north toward San Francisco, we added propane delivery to our services, and that led the natural inclusion of propane appliances like stoves and refrigerators.

San Jose Store 1930s

San Jose — 1930s

This picture of our storefront from the ’30s shows the store location we still call home. Notice the Servel gas refrigerator signage. As well as the “Western Appliance” name painted on the building.

Service Department 1952

Service Department — 1952

This snapshot was taken in what was our service department during a holiday party. Notice the Refrigerators and Washer off to the far right – they don’t build them like that anymore. Of course, the range off the the left looks practically the same as what you would fine today.

San Jose Store 1960s

Western Appliance Sign — 1962

We built a new sign with very bright strobe lights at the end of each tine. These three lights blinked one at a time over a three-second cycle. It was dusk when we first turned on the sign, and it looked fantastic. But within 45 minutes, the Highway Patrol asked us to turn the sign off – there had been two accidents on Highway 17. Both drivers reported that a flashing bright light “coming out of nowhere” had distracted them.


We turned it off. The sign, as originally designed, was not to be.


We did come up with a fix – the sign company installed a half inch colored piece of plastic over the front of each light: one red, one blue and one green. They had tested this and determined this would cut the brightness of the blinking lights in half. This worked fine, cycling through blinking red, blue, and green…. We actually liked this better than the original design.


Well… this was not to be either.


When we closed the store that first evening, we noticed that the three strobe lights were not blinking at all. The next morning the sign company came out and replaced all three bulbs. Again, at closing, the lights were dark and not blinking.


The problem: the lights were burning out because they overheated with a cover over them. We tested different types of covers, but nothing remedied the problem. We now had a beautiful sign, but without blinking lights.


In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake shook off two of the three colored light canisters. We dismantled the remaining one, as it was hanging by just a thin wire.

Western Appliance Store 2010s