Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wondering about old refrigerators.

Have no idea why I was thinking about old refrigerators, but now that I am, I may as well use it as my blogs subject for today. By old refrigerators, I don’t mean ice boxes or the ones with the coils and cooling fins sitting on the top forming a circle. What I was remembering were the ones that only had one door and the freezer part was a small compartment inside the refrigerator.

The freezer part was barely big enough for anything other than a couple of ice cube trays. Most of the frozen food we purchase today was either fresh or canned back then, except for frozen orange juice. Frozen concentrated orange juice was first available in 1945 or 1946, and immediately became a success; easier than squeezing your own. It came in a small can and would fit in with the ice cube trays.

These old refrigerators were quite rugged and would last a long time. I know someone who had one for almost 60 years, and if the people who purchased her house didn’t replace it with a modern one, it could be still running today.

This brings another subject to mind. Most everything that was made in the mid 1940’s was made to last. People took pride in their product and in their workmanship. Not just kitchen appliances, but most all products from that era. What has happened? No one seems to care anymore, just put in their time and pick up their check. My Dad always told me to “do the best job you can do, even if it is only sweeping floors”. I have tried to live up to that, and yes, one of my jobs involved the sweeping of floors.

You all have a good day today, you hear?


  1. I think the reason that many old appliances are no longer in use today is because they are not as energy efficient as the newer models.

    But, I have to say, I would love to have an old non-electric box-type ice box - one of those really well insulated, metal lined ones - would make a perfect "fridge" (with the addition of a couple of bottles of frozen water.)

    But don't think I have much chance of finding one in this country...

  2. It's basic rule number one of marketing. If you build something that last forever, You will never sell a replacement.
    I got two refrigerators here.. Why?? I used to use the second smaller one for beer and drink storage. Now all it holds is my Big wine bottle and a few items in the freezer that I don't have room for in my double door model in the kitchen.( I did git rid of the big freezer though)
    WAIT!!! I got another I forgot about,, Tortuga has one. ;-)

  3. Seems like we always had a small fridge, but could be just 'cause it always had plenty in it!

    The one we had when I was a kid must have lasted a really long time, because I never remember Mom and Dad replacing it!

    I'm sure I would have remembered the empty box! Great toys!

  4. Dani, I think you are correct. As far as the ice-box, my parents had one in their basement that used to be used by one set of my grandparents. It was beautiful, built out of wood and the inside was insulated. Had two compartments I think, I do know it had two doors with “walk in freezer” style latches. Really neat. I don’t know what happened to it.

    Ben, that is the rule now, but back in the mid ‘40’s there was more pride in the product. We were winning or had won the war and we were a proud nation.

    HJ, not sure if they came in a box, but if some did, that would be a wonderful place to play. Could even be converted to a club house or a fort or a. . . guess I must be going through my second child-hood. . .

  5. Products from cars to refrigerators are designed to fail after an amount of time. Corporations want to be continually selling you the same thing.

  6. Frann, I think it is a modern thing. That wasn't necessarily true 60 years ago and before.

  7. Frann is right and the part about efficiency isn't necessarily true. A lot of the old ice boxes were pretty darned efficient back then when compared to today's models. Of course BS about how efficient stuff is now days is also designed to get people to get rid of the older stuff so they can buy the new JUNK. They may find it saves them very little on electric cost to.

    There is one other thing to keep in mind and that is the environmental impact caused by the manufacturing of new fridges, cars and about anything else. Take for instance cars. A well maintained classic car can be driven for 25 more years before it would equal the environmental impact of building one new car. How many new cars do you think will last 25 years? Very few so the classic car would never be matched.

    It takes an enormous amount of energy to melt the steel and stuff cars are made out of not to mention all of the energy to produce, mold and so on the plastics in cars or anything else. In short that old clunker of a fridge you discard which was still working could have run for many more years before the supposed higher efficiency of the new one could ever catch up. Its all is separating people from their $$$ people.

  8. David, you make a lot of sense. Making new things does use up a lot more energy, for sure.

  9. We have turned from being producers of product to rewarding those that produce nothing but paper.

    We will most certainly pay dearly for this change

  10. Spud, when we loose our manufacturing abilities, we as a nation would be in real trouble. Our manufacturing abilities is what has made the US great.

  11. tffn - only problem is the fridge may be working, and working well, but try and find a seal. The fridge will be a guzzler if the seal is faulty...

  12. Dani, here's a tip. I used to work on commercial fridges and many of the small holding fridges in restaurants and the like. We used Vaseline and put a real thin coat around the seal part of the gaskets and it usually got them working again. Of course if the seal was torn or just torn up we replaced them with new ones. Where there's a will there's away and other gaskets can be adapted to fridges you can't find them for.