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My New Refrigerator

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by The Reno Kid, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

    Mrs. Reno Kid and I went to a live auction today and won this little beauty:

    1937 General Electric JB4-39-A Refrigerator

    1937 General Electric JB4-39-A Refrigerator

    It works perfectly and appears to be in nearly showroom condition. It even has all the original accessory trays (including the two original GE-logo ice trays). The only flaws I could find were a couple of very tiny surface dings in the enamel that didn't go through to the metal. For now, we will put it in our dining room and use it for beer, sodas, wine, etc. It will match up nicely with our 1936 Magic Chef 1000 range.:D
  2. Nice. If you don't mind my asking. Around how much does that final bid represent? Higher than $600 but lower than $1000?
  3. A beauty indeed. Definitely a work of art!
  4. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

    Actually, it was higher than $400 and lower than $500...
  5. What a neat find! The only drawback I can think of is that the older fridges are no where near as efficient as the new ones, so it may end up saying to your electric meter, to quote Captain Kirk, “More power Mr. Scot!”
  6. Actually, if the gasket is still supple -- and if it isn't, it's easily replaced -- a pre-1950 refrigerator uses far less power than a modern one, for the simple reason that it doesn't have a defrost cycle, an evaporator fan, an ice maker, a water pump, or any other such power-using accessories. As long as you defrost it when it needs to be defrosted, your light bill should actually go *down* if you replace a modern fridge with a pre-war model.

    The refrigerators that have given "vintage appliances" the reputation of being power hogs are the frost-free models of the sixties and seventies, which were very poorly built and inefficient. The pre-1950 models are a whole 'nother story. (Speaking from experience here -- I've been using a 1945 Kelvinator as my only fridge for the past 25 years.)
  7. Miss Stella

    Miss Stella One of the Regulars

    What an awesome find! Congratulations on having the winning bid!
  8. That's a pretty neat fridge. What's that little box thingy on the middle shelf?
  9. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

    It's an enamel vegetable crisper...
  10. Thank you for the invaluable information. I was not speaking from the vantage point that you have. My knowledge comes from a friend that had a 1920’s or early 1930’s GE monitor top that he got rid of because it was chewing on the electrons to hard for him. Gleaning from what you have shared, the compressor needed repairing, or something else needed addressing. This makes me want to go looking for one all the more!:D
  11. It's a beautiful fridge.

    I know residential refrigerators didn't start until the 1930s, but when exactly were the first home refrigerators marketed and sold? The ones that spelt the downfall of the humble residential icebox?
  12. Whilst Kelvinator, Frigidaire, and a couple of smaller players entered the market for home electrical refrigeration in the 'teens,it was not until the late nineteen-twenties that folks became "refrigerator conscious", with the electric refrigerator considered desirable by nearly all who could afford one.

    By the late 1920's extensive investment in research had produced home refrigeration machines which were relatively rugged and reliable, mass production had greatly decreased their cost.

    The creation of effective regional electric grids and the replacement of inefficient reciprocating electric power plants with larger and more thermally efficient models had greatly improved the reliability of electric power and cut its cost by more than half.

    Electric refrigerators sold well in the late 1920's, especially after General Electric entered the market in 1927 with their legendarily well built Monitor Top series. In the early thirties, home refrigeration was the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal economy, as those who still had discretionary income coveted these conveniences. It was during the recovery which followed the announcement of the First New Deal, however, that elecric refrigeration became a truly mass-market product, and Ice Boxes, California Coolers and Window Refrigerators began to be sen as old-fashioned annoyances, merely stop-gaps to be used until one could afford a modern "Refrigidaire"
  13. My Grandmother always refered to it as "refrigidaire". Wow, and we thought she couldn't pronounce refridgerator.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  14. Then that was a very good deal.
  15. Beautiful 'fridge at a great price! I'd love to find one like that to go with our '47 Clare Jewel stove.
  16. Giftmacher

    Giftmacher One Too Many

    Wonderful fridge, great condition too!
  17. Yes, your refrigerator appears to be in truly exceptional condition. Seventy years on it is a rare machine which has not needed a repaint, or at least some extensive touch-up. A couple months ago I picked up a 1939 General Electric DeLuxe (the full-sized machine with the butter conditioner), in good working order, for $75.00. The machine was in fine shape SAVE FOR BADLY DAMAGED PAINT. It requires a total exterior repaint, as well as )of course) a new door gasket. Your $500-600 purchase was, I think, a better value by far than my $75.00 buy, particularly to one who does not have cheap access to a professional spray booth.
  18. airgrabber666

    airgrabber666 One of the Regulars

    My "Petal Pink"General Electric Combination from 1958. Has turquoise interior with the rotating "Lazy Susan"-style shelves. First year of the "modern" rectilinear fridge was 1957.

  19. airgrabber666

    airgrabber666 One of the Regulars

    Interior of pink '58 G.E. Combination
  20. Gotta wonder how much of that is generational and how much is regional. The folks on my Southern stepfather's side, those a generation or two ahead of me, were apt to call a refrigerator an "ice box." (I'm talkin' into the 1970s and '80s here, a good half century or more after the home refrigerator became a commonplace.) My upper Midwestern mother's people usually called a refrigerator a "Frigidaire," regardless of its manufacturer. Those folks also called a microwave oven, whoever made it, a "Radar Range."

    As an aside ... These working-class ancestors of mine were quick to adopt these new technologies. No misty-eyed nostalgics in that bunch. I'm confident they would have been quite enthusiastic about cell phones and GPS and the other gee-whiz mobile technologies we have these days, but knowing them as I did, I suspect that early home computers would have left them cold. "Just too darned complicated and confusing," I can almost hear them say.

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