Summary

This is a General Motors, Frigidaire, De Luxe, electric refrigerator. It is of extra-large size, square-shouldered form, with a black with silver trim enamelled sheet metal exterior, and enamelled pink interior. Alternative name: Fridge.
It was made by General Motors - Holden's Limited in Australia after 1955.
It was purchased by the vendor in the mid to late 1980s. During this period, the vendor had begun collecting early postwar domestic objects, mostly furniture.

The use of enamelled sheet metal (a flat material that is thin relative to its length and width) allowed for innovative styling. The Frigidaire was regarded as the first rectilinear refrigerator to be available to the postwar consumer in Australia. Frigidaires were sold with a strong emphasis on design and appearance; indeed, the company claimed over a number of years that the Frigidaire set 'the styling fashion in styling'. The company's trade literature also emphasised the Frigidaire's ability to blend in with built-in cabinets; the interior decorating trend of the 1950s. As well as form, an important part of this claim related to colour. Whereas off-white remained the overwhelming colour of other brands, Frigidaire offered Snow Crest White, Moonglow Cream, Turquoise, Charcoal and Mayfair Pink.

The Frigidaire range was also significant as it was the first type of domestic refrigerator to adopt new CFC refrigerants. Chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFC) were first discovered by GM research scientists during the 1930s. Freon, the first CFC produced, was not widely used commercially before World War II, however the successful use of CFC's in aerosol cans of mosquito repellent during World War II encouraged GM to explore other uses for CFCs.

Physical Description

An extra-large, electric, square-shouldered, enamelled sheet metal refrigerator. Black with silver trim. FRONT: a corrugated, silver metal foot plate below the door. DOOR: a silver metal band across the top. Hinged at right. HANDLE - bar at left. BACK: exposed compression unit below 1/2 height grill. Grey electrical cord with 3 pronged, black plug. Two screws for attaching fridge to a wall. INTERIOR: pink enamel. White, plastic drip tray below freezer compartment. Upper left light bulb behind frosted glass box. Light release button middle right. Temperature dial upper right, white plastic dial with black plastic centre in a silver metal frame. 3 removable, wire shelves, the middle and bottom sliding. Clear, plastic, corrugated, 1/2 width shelf on top shelf at right. Runner underneath this shelf for cream, plastic drawer with metal handle. Full width, plastic corrugated shelf at bottom, with runner underneath for pink, enameled drawer with metal handle. FREEZER COMPARTMENT - full width. Black door with full length metal bar handle at top. Interior one large compartment with separate shelving at left for 2 ice trays. 2 frosted pink ice trays with cube inserts; a lever release mechanism on the cube inserts. DOOR - pink plastic lining with grey rubber seal. 2 columns of fittings. At left, 5 cream shelves, at right 7 compartments, 5 with plastic doors, hinged at bottom. Top 2 black, next 4 cream. 7th compartment missing its door. Below 7th compartment a space for an additional shelf.

Significance

Chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFC) were first discovered by GM research scientists during the 1930s. Freon, the first CFC produced, was not widely used commercially before WWII, however the successful use of CFC's in aerosol cans of mosquito repellent during WWII encouraged GM to explore other uses for CFCs. Its Frigidaire range, introduced in the 1950s, was the first type of domestic refrigerator to adopt new CFC refrigerants.

The use of enamelled sheet metal (a flat material that is thin relative to its length and width) allowed for innovative styling. The Frigidaire was regarded as the first rectilinear refrigerator to be available to the postwar consumer in Australia. Frigidaires were sold with a strong emphasis on design and appearance; indeed, the company claimed over a number of years that the Frigidaire set 'the styling fashion in styling'. The company's trade literature also emphasised the Frigidaire's ability to blend in with built-in cabinets; the interior decorating trend of the 1950s. As well as form, an important part of this claim related to colour. Whereas off-white remained the overwhelming colour of other brands, Frigidaire offered Snow Crest White, Moonglow Cream, Turquoise, Charcoal and Mayfair Pink.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Purchase

  • Manufacturer

    General Motors Holden's Ltd (GMH), Australia, 1959
    This model was advertised in 1959 (see Australian Home Beautiful, Dec 1959) The latest patent on the object is dated 1955.

  • Inscriptions

    FRONT: across metal band crown logo applied in gilt, incised "FRIGIDAIRE made only by general motors De Luxe". BACK: metal disk applied to compression unit "pat. no. 394457/ charge 17 oz/ serial no. 90867". A meter miser tag applied to the compressor. Two paper labels, one above the other, upper centre. The top one an illustration of the mechanics. The bottom one a list of General Motors - Holden patents "103,609 134,900 200,459/ 104,863 135,552 1463/54 (APPLN.)/ 105,301 137,350 139,091/ 105,790 141,947 152,3031/ 105,811 164,501 163,507/ 107,211 166,329 159,369". Sticker applied upper right, gilt lettering on clear background "made in Australia by General Motors - Holden's Limited". 2 paper florettes middle right, one above the other identifying the product has passed GM inspection. Metal tag screwed to the compression unit "D112 90867". INTERIOR: around temperature dial "3 2 1 A B C DEFROST (downward arrow) OFF (downward arrow)". On handle of cream drawer "meat tender". On handle of pink drawer "hydrator". FREEZER COMPARTMENT - under handle on door "FRIGIDAIRE (applied crown logo) freezer chest". Inside the freezer door "DO NOT USE SHARP OBJECTS TO REMOVE FROST" above crown logo. Moulded on handle of ice trays "FRIGIDAIRE" and on lever of inserts "QUICKUBE PAT'D". DOOR - compartment doors from top to bottom, moulded upper left "cheese", "eggs", "eggs", "utility", "utility".

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Food & drink preservation, Appliances - electric

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    History

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Object Measurements

    72 cm (Length), 72 cm (Width), 162.5 cm (Height)

  • Other Dimensions

    37 cm (Length), 53.5 cm (Width), 23.3 cm (Height)
    Freezer Compartment

  • Other Dimensions

    11.2 cm (Length), 65.2 cm (Width), 134 cm (Height)
    Door

  • Keywords

    Domestic Appliances, Refrigerators