I buy most of my new or gently used small and large appliances at garage sales or clearance sales for pennies on the dollar. The only “problem” is that they often don’t come with installation instructions or user manuals!
Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed a challenge.
I recently bought a new 6-liter, stainless steel pressure cooker at a local garage sale (See my March 7, 2011 blog). The woman who sold it to me (for 2 bucks!) couldn’t find the manual that came with it. I was pretty sure though that with the model number off the pot and a basic description I could find what I needed on the net.
Here’s how I went about finding the user manual for my “new” pressure cooker. Usually, feeding the basic info—brand, number, and description—into a search engine, such as Google or Dogpile (my favorite meta search engine), turns up a site I can download a manual from easily.
Finding a user manual for this pressure cooker was trickier because it was sold through QVC a while ago (mine is a stovetop model and they now only offer programmable electric models), and it has the QVC brand, Cook’s Essentials, on it rather than its original manufacturer.
My first text search on www.dogpile.com turned up a few websites with the new electronic models or lists of .coms that took me in circles ending in the same site o’ lists that I had begun on! Crazy making! I then switched to an images search and just looked for a pot that looked like mine. This was how I figured out that Fagor was the company that originally manufactured the pot for QVC. I also found a site that sells the pots and parts and accessories for them.
Now that I had the name of the manufacturer, I was able to search for their official site and eventually found and was able to download a manual for a similar pot that they manufacture under their own name.
I also use Youtube to find manuals by searching using the same basic terms I used in the web and image searches. On Youtube, I found the manufacturer’s URL attached to step-by-step instructions on how to use the pot. I also found useful accessory information—how to pressure cook beans in 9 minutes, which I can try now that I have a larger pot!
You can also find sites that sell user manuals. I had to buy one from the manufacturer for an old Presto pressure canner I found used but in excellent condition. I even found a manual for my antique Free treadle sewing machine that I bought at an estate sale for $25 about 25 years ago. The manual for the machine cost me $15 from a web business that sells plastic-comb bound Xerox copies of all kinds of ancient user manuals. Talk about niche businesses!
The next time you are at a garage sale and find a great deal on a small or large appliance new or ancient don’ t hesitate to buy it if the price is right. You can find a manual on just about anything on the internet these days! Begonia