Alternative name: Fridge.
This is a standard, electric, Crosley, Shelvador, cream refrigerator. It was made by Crosley Radio Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in the 1930s.
The Crosley Shelvador was one of the first sealed unit type refrigerators introduced into Australia. This particular unit was imported from the USA sometime in the late 1930s.
The Crosley Shelvador was the first refrigerator to have door shelving. In 1931, the company's founder Powel Crosley met an inventor who had come up with a design for refrigerator door shelving. Crosley thought the idea profitable, so he paid the inventor $15,000 cash for the design and patent rights. The new refrigerator, the Crosley Shelvador, was first sold in 1932 for $100, approximately $50 less than other refrigerators on the market. One year later, Crosley was employing 500 people at his Arlington Street factory, working around the clock to keep up with consumer demand: Crosley had almost a million dollars in unfilled orders. The Crosley Shelvador owed its success to a number of factors: its low cost, the company's patent rights which prevented other companies from adopting the idea, and the eagerness of housewives for the new design concept: they were said to appreciate the ease of availability of food that door shelving allowed them as it meant they didn't have to reach too far into the refrigerator.

Physical Description

A standard, electric, cream enamel exterior, white enamel interior, refrigerator. DOOR: 2/3 height of fridge, hinged front right of frame at top and bottom. A decorative disk with a cream background, silver frame and silver band across the centre upper middle. A removable panel immediately below the fridge door covers the compression unit. Both the door and panel have a curved central panel and curved edges. The unit sits on a 3 stepped, black base. HANDLE - pull down, lever centre left. BACK: full height grill covering the compression unit and a black electrical cord with 3-pronged plug attached. INTERIOR: black enamel collar around the front of the interior and the door; the corners are highlighted with silver on the door. Two hooks right side. 1 removable wire shelf on 4 pegs, 2 on the right, 2 on the left. There are a further 8 pegs for 2 further shelves. Top, left of centre black light-release button on a silver metal plate. FREEZER COMPARTMENT - attached to the roof and rear panel. At the top of the freezer compartment is a silver metal band applied to a silver metal plate with bands of corrugated trim and two temperature dials. Freezer door is spring hinged at left. Corrugated panel trim on the door. Small green Bakelite handle at centre right. The freezer has two fixed shelves, and three compartments. There is a silver metal ice tray with cube insert (2 parts). DOOR - has a black rubber seal. A wire door basket with 5 shallow shelves hangs on 4 hooks, 2 at the top, 2 at the bottom.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from R. Hattersby, 07/1974

  • Manufacturer

    Crosley Corporation, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States of America, late 1930s
    First Crosley Shelvador dates from 1932. The styling of this model and the wire door insert indicate it was an early example of the Shelvador range.

  • Inscriptions

    DOOR: decorative disk incised on band "CROSLEY (with a stepped line through it) SHELVADOR"; and at the bottom of the disk moulded "MADE IN U.S.A.". BACK: plug moulded "Belden (? spelling) CHICAGO. PAT. APPL'D. FOR" INTERIOR: left temperature dial incised on an outer band "COLDER NORMAL WARMER (arrow tail) DEFROST (arrow point)" and on an inner band "5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5"; right dial "PUSH TO START PULL TO STOP". FREEZER COMPARTMENT - freezer door "CROSLEY (with stepped line through it) SHELVADOR".

  • Brand Names

    Crosley Shelvador (Refrigerators)

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Food & drink preservation, Appliances - electric

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    64.2 cm (Length), 61 cm (Width), 128.7 cm (Height)

  • Other Dimensions

    29.8 cm (Length), 16.6 cm (Width), 25.8 cm (Height)
    Freezer Compartment

  • Other Dimensions

    11 cm (Length), 51.8 cm (Width), 83 cm (Height)

  • References

    [Link 1] (accessed 18.11.04) Dixson, C.E. (ed). undated. "The Crosley Legacy: past-present-future". Winston-Salem, NC: Crosley Corporation.

  • Keywords

    Electric Appliances, Household Appliances, Refrigeration, Refrigerators