Alternative Name(s): Fridge.

Electric, Westinghouse, off-white refrigerator. Rectangular form, bar size within standard body. It was made by Westinghouse Rosebery Ltd in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, circa 1936.

A typewritten paper label attached to the inside of the door of this refrigerator dates it as 1920-1925. This is definitely incorrect. The styling is quite deco in appearance, and advertisements for this exact model did not appear until 1936.

By the 1930s, refrigerator design focused upon aesthetics and functionality. Users by now assumed that a refrigerator would operate satisfactorily. Issues that became important to the consumer were 'increased food storage volume, reduced energy consumption, greater cooling capacity, lower cost, lower noise level and improved appearance.' (ASRE 1943: 341) Early refrigerators resembled iceboxes, with wooden bodies and simple interiors. By the 1930s refrigerators were constructed of enamelled metal and reflected contemporary stylistic trends. Interiors were designed with convenience and use in mind. In 1933 Crosley patented the first door shelves. While this Australian manufactured refrigerator does not have a large storage capacity or door shelves, its art deco styling reflects contemporary design aesthetic.

Physical Description

A standard/ bar, off-white metal refrigerator. FRONT:2/3 height single door on upper part of the appliance. Lower part of refrigerator has a decorative art-deco style panel with three vertical black lines. Above door, centre, a silver metal label. DOOR:2 black and cream hinges at right. HANDLE - black painted metal with decorative ridges trimmed with black. BACK: motor covered with two black metal panels. TOP: stepped roof with slightly rounded shoulders. INTERIOR: white enamel with black trim. 3 removable metal shelves on moulded rests, the top shelf with a lower level at right forming a shallow basket. 2 black enamel dishes with grey interiors, one marked in white marker on the underside H20. 1 sliding wire basket suspended from the 2nd shelf. 1 sliding white enamel with black trim dish suspended from the bottom (3rd) shelf. Upper left light release button. FREEZER COMPARTMENT - top centre, attached to top and back. Black, circular temperature dial upper centre of compartment. 2 compartments, with 1 fixed shelf. DOOR - white enamel with black enamel trim.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    State Electricity Commission Domestic Appliances Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Publicity Division, State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV or SEC), 24/05/1990

  • Manufacturer

    Westinghouse, Sydney, Greater Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, circa 1937
    Advertisement in Australian Home Beautiful, Dec 1937, exact model. Receipt inside fridge puts its date at 1936.

  • Inscriptions

    FRONT: silver metal label above door; "WESTINGHOUSE" appears in raised lettering on black background. BACK: metal disk attached to top panel, gilt border and script on black background; "Westinghouse REFRIGERATING UNIT/ MODEL E45 & E55 SERIAL 1513/ REFRIGERANT CHARGE 1 LBS. 15 OZS OF SO2/ SEE PATENT RECORD ON PATENT LABEL/ WESTINGHOUSE SALES & ROSEBERY LTD.,/ SYDNEY. NSW". Metal disk applied between two panels, gilt border and script on black background; "WESTINGHOUSE ROSEBERY LTD/ SYDNEY NSW/ REFRIGERATOR/ MODEL 45L VOLTS 200-240/ CYCLE 50 AMPS 1.5/ SERIAL NO. 5500". INTERIOR: around temperature dial; '5 4 3 2 1 OFF DEF E". DOOR - upper, centre-right, typewritten paper label "WESTINGHOUSE 1920-1925". Loose: paper receipt; "STATE ELECTRICITY COMMISSION OF VICTORIA". Written in pen "This Refrigerator/ 1936 Model E-45/ 1/6 HP sealed unit/ unit & fan motor 110 volt/ fitted with transformer for use with 240 volt/ refrigerant (sulphur dioxide) SO2".

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Food & drink preservation, Appliances - electric

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Object Measurements

    61.3 cm (Length), 58.5 cm (Width), 139.1 cm (Height)

  • Other Dimensions

    32.8 cm (Length), 23 cm (Width), 19.8 cm (Height)
    Freezer Compartment

  • Other Dimensions

    9.5 cm (Length), 48.5 cm (Width), 78 cm (Height)

  • Keywords

    Art Deco, Domestic Appliances