Summary

Alternative name: fridge and dryer.
This is an electric, H. Rowe & Co. Pty Ltd, BHR Unit Refrigerator and Clothes Dryer in marbled pink and cream. It was made in Adelaide, Australia, in the 1950s. It was used in Victoria, Australia, by the donor's family. It was purchased through the donor's brother-in-law who worked as executive secretary for H. Rowe & Company, the firm which distributed them throughout Australia. The donor remembered the fridge as being made in Adelaide and thought only 6 or 8 examples were brought to Melbourne. The design is believed to be an Australian innovation, with waste heat from the refrigerator compressor being used to dry the clothes. The unit was the donor's family's first fridge. Prior to this they had owned an ice-chest. The donor's sister-in-law also owned one from about 1959 onwards.
This unusual domestic appliance represents an interesting, though perhaps ultimately commercially unsuccessful, Australian innovation. The combination of a refrigerator and clothes dryer in a single unit provides a novel and cleverly thought out domestic appliance with the potential for better energy efficiency than two separate appliances. The design combining pink marble laminex bench tops, stainless steel lining and edging and textured vinyl covering reflects common kitchen materials of the inter-war and immediate post-war period, whilst its unusual form with both top opening lids and front opening door is indicative of the fact that at the time it was built many domestic "whitegoods" had not yet evolved into their almost universal modern forms. With its horizontal form and top opening lids the unit has perhaps more in common with earlier ice chests than the standard design of the upright fridge that developed later.
H. Rowe and Company were a well known Australian business during the 1950s and 1960s, though they were more active in the field of electronics and electrical components than domestic appliances.

Physical Description

A horizontal electric refrigerator and clothes dryer in pink marble laminex, cream textured vinyl and stainless steel. FRONT: upper left, 2/3 length of unit, fold out bench covered in pink marble laminex. Middle left operating controls. Middle centre removable panel covering compressor unit. Upper centre badge with logo. To right of this another disk. DOOR: right hand side of unit. HANDLE - push button lever on D-shaped handle, middle left. BACK: sealed with a series of holds drilled in the centre for ventilation. White electrical cord with 3 pronged plug through one hole. TOP: 2 hinged lids. Left lid 1/3 length, Right lid 2/3 length. INTERIOR: lined in stainless steel. Left hand unit dryer with internal rack for hanging clothes. Right hand unit fridge and freezer. Fridge far right, 2 removable wire shelves, can be reached from front and top openings. Smaller fridge compartment to left of this, can only be reached from top opening. Below this compartment is the FREEZER COMPARTMENT - yellow plastic handle middle left. Door hinged at right. Supports for 2 shelves. DOOR - lined with stainless steel, black rubber seal. LIDS: lined with stainless steel, cream rubber seal.

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