Ideas for kitchen?

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by Flicka, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Hmm, yes, a new condenser would have the less effective gas, then, presumably? That's perhaps not ideal, then. But I'll wait and see what your husband thinks, Sheeplady. I've caught that vintage hunters fever now that I have the okay to pursue this, and I have to remind myself to cool my jets and take my time to get the best possible fridge we can wrangle. "We've got time, we've got time" needs to be my new mantra. There's seems to be a fair amount of this model out there (post-war booming?), so we'll get this, one way or another.

    We have a really small house, so there's a built in deterrent for this particular addiction! We wouldn't be able to open the doors for more than one fridge! But oh boy, if I could...

    Again, many thanks to you both!
  2. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    OK, so I spoke to my husband. There's bad and good news. The bad news is that is not a flat-top model, but a later one. Husband thinks it is more likely 1950s than 1940s, but it could be late 1940s. GE flat-tops used the same design as a monitor top and they used SO2, which is an ultra efficient refrigerant.

    They moved away from SO2 because it smells bad if there is a leak. It also interacts badly with water and creates sulfuric acid which is corrosive. This is why a repair can be concerning- and that was the big warning sign I thought of when you said the condenser had been replaced. If a SO2 machine is repaired incorrectly and water is let into the system- even moisture in the air- it can cause the fridge to erode from the acid- which of course can lead to a bigger leak. However, since the SO2 machines they are a closed system, the SO2 is fine *as long as you don't mess with it by opening the system.* People can and do recharge and repair these things, but it is not something a home handyman does, or at least doesn't do well without a lot of research and investment. (I want to add that SO2 is technically is toxic, but not that toxic that you have to worry about having it in your home. Lots of people are afraid of SO2 and they butcher the old models to "fix" them. I have two SO2 machines sitting in my kitchen. I have a 15 month old daughter and my husband is very protective of her and did hours of research about safety on these things before we got the first one.)

    The monitor/ flat top designs because they were built to be bullet proof (closed system) and have SO2 (the ideal refrigerant) are going to be much more efficient. (I am including Lizzie's Kelvinator in this, because it is a similar design. I would assume her's uses SO2 too- but we know it is a closed design from her description.) Husband doesn't know if your find has a belt, but he thinks it is going to cause more problems than an earlier model would because it is not a closed system like the monitor top/flat-top.

    The good news is that it could have been repaired easily and safely because it has R12 as the refrigerant. R12 is an easy refrigerant to replace as it is more common, doesn't cause corrosion, etc. The fact that the condenser has been replaced might indicate the mileage is starting to take its toll. On the other hand, it is still running, so....

    A quick tip- if you decide to continue this search, an easy way to tell a flat top from a later model is that the flat top handle goes straight up, parallel to the fridge's height. Later models the handle goes across, parallel to the floor.
  3. lolly_loisides

    lolly_loisides One Too Many

    The Blue Mountains, Australia
    All this talk of fridges sent me to ebay to see what was up for sale in Australia. There's a Crosley Icyball for auction, which is an ammonia absorption system fridge that runs on a cup of kerosene a day.
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Those are absolutely fascinating. They were popular up here in summer cottages where there was no electricity or Pyrofax gas service. I've seen one in person, and they do work -- but you've got to put in the work of heating up the ball, which takes about an hour and a half to do. Once done, though, it's good for a full day's worth of cold, and it gets cold enough to make ice cubes.
  5. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Can we make this thread so it can't be seen by the menfolk at all? I'm afraid my husband is going to see that one and want one of those now.

    Who am I kidding, *I* want one now. ;) ;p
  6. lolly_loisides

    lolly_loisides One Too Many

    The Blue Mountains, Australia
    Sheeplady, more info on the Icyball here.
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  7. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

  8. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Seems that mainly I was using the wrong term, not realizing that "flat top" inferred more than it had a...flat top lol (as opposed to the monitor top). Gotcha now.

    You've given me alot to digest... Not knowing for sure the recent history (turns out this seller got it from a 2nd hand person who was the last to actually use it) and not able to confirm exactly how this work was done, makes me wanna pass, just in case. Fortunately, there are several other contenders listed right now. I'll look them over again and ponder all that you've all shared. I'm not totally against a slightly older model, but just have to weigh all the variables here. But then again, no way to ever really know the full scoop on any appliance you get second hand, I guess!

    Grateful for the help.
  9. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Deco Dame- don't worry- there are actually quite a few out there- where are you located, if you don't mind me asking (northeast, Midwest, etc. )? And are you particularly looking for a style like the one you posted? (As opposed to a monitor top style where you see the compressor.)

    Sorry about not being clearer about the flat-top definition before. But if you are looking for a true flat-top the good news is they are common and therefore tend to be cheaper than monitor tops-we paid less than half what we paid for the monitor top for the flat-top. We're talking really cheap (if you get someone who wants to be reasonable).

    Brave being the operative word that comes to mind when I read that warnings list...

    I also don't want first hand experience of being raided as a potential meth lab. I like my front door too much! ;)

    Enabling the fridge addiction, huh? ;)
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  10. lolly_loisides

    lolly_loisides One Too Many

    The Blue Mountains, Australia
    This is the only 1930's fridge I have in my kitchen (and yes I do have a picture of Joan Blondell on my kitchen wall).
  11. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    At the risk of sounding like an appliance geek, Joan is posing with a 1933 Kelvinator. The photo below is a 1934 model, with the shape of the legs and the left-hand door the only difference.


    We could probably have a whole thread on celebrities and their refrigerators. I once devoted the better part of a day to trying to figure out what kind of fridge Mister Rogers had in his kitchen (As near as I can tell, it's a Westinghouse B-6-41, from 1941, painted a light blue with the logo plate painted over as well.)
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  12. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I think that ship sailed (awhile ago)... for the both of us. ;)
  13. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Getting the terms right - All part of the learning curve! lol I'm in Ohio, near Dayton.

    I understand why you prefer the older models with SO2, but I've thought about it and really am more attracted to the models like the one I posted. The lessened efficiency with R12/Freon doesn't bother me and that the R12 still seems available if needed is good, and I'm a little more paranoid about toxicity than I probably should be but at least I know that about myself, it has more interior space, and it is closer to the childhood fridges I have nice memories of. So yes, I'd like to stick to that mid 40s/early 50s range w/ R12. And I may still check out the one that had a new condensor anyway, just try and evaluate it the same as I would have not knowing that...It's the closest to us, so might as well look.

    I wanted to do research on vintage GE, but was surprised to find there doesn't seem to be an aficionado who has website of the history of all antique appliances by year, make and model out there for our convenience! ;) But I realized that I could google images of the manuals to at least get a visual, to help with ID-ing. And that worked out pretty well.

    Based on the pics of the Craigslist fridges, it looks like they are all (*drumroll*) 1948 Space Maker General Electric Refrigerators, NB-8-EB :

    00505_f6MPcVXDNGv_600x450_zpsb617dab6.jpg 00303_kcCukU8AJT9_600x450_zpsd5c7683d.jpg

    I'm basing that largely on the front of the freezer door and that there aren't any shelves or doo-dads on the door yet. Because by 1949, there appears a butter dish shelf on the door, and the freezer door is now slightly different:


    It could be a 1950, as I can't find a good pic of the interior for that year, but I figure the progression of "progress" would be the butter shelf stays and probably adds something else:


    Then we see the later 50s add the "across-the-top" freezer and then all the door shelves that we expect now, plus more plastic, less metal inside:

    1953?.jpg 1955?.jpg

    Hope I'm not spamming - but I find all the little changes quite interesting (even if my head is spinning), and thought others might too... The one thing that caught my eye in the ad text for the 1948, was "Like all GE refrigerators, the Space Maker is equipped with the famous sealed-in refrigerator system". Which made me think of the SO2 "closed system" you've talked about, but presumably that's something else entirely?
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    As far as I know, all postwar fridges are Freon -- I'm pretty sure my Kelvinator is, and I've had no problems with it.

    I see a lot of those GE Space Saver models around -- they're a good, durable machine.

    You won't find shelves in the door of any refrigerator but a Crosley until the early fifties. Crosley patented their "Shelvador" idea in the mid-thirties, and the other companies had to sit around waiting for the patent to expire before they could copy it.
  15. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Have you checked out the fridge yet, DecoDame? Did you like it? (Does it have a new home? ;))
  16. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    LOL Well, Sheeplady, I'm trying to be slow and deliberate for my partner's sake. Rushing into things makes her anxious and I need her to be on board with this thing. I would have probably gone over that very night, if it had been up to me. That's not necessarily a good thing!

    Right now, she's since gotten nervous about "What if we drag this mammoth home and it coughs once and gives up on us?". I know it's a risk, not like we'll have a warranty, but as Lizzie said "they're good, durable machines" and if it's working now, chances are it's not going to Camille-away any time soon, right? *crossing fingers*

    Right now, we're trying to set up a time this coming Thursday with the first fellow only 40 mins away to look at one. Our first "expedition". Send good-luck thoughts our way. ;)

    Practical follow up questions:

    Partner sez that fridges shouldn't be laid on their side during transit. I imagine that's why Sheeplady mentioned letting the fluids settle tho? Or is that even during upright transit? Orientation is the difference between a borrowed flatbed truck and a rental with a ramp, but I want to do whatever it takes to give it (and us) our best chance.

    Is it better to evaluate a fridge starting from an unplugged warm state? Fellow says it has electrical access now - don't know if he means it's plugged in and running or just near a plug. But I'm thinking it would be better to see how quickly the evaporator cooled down from a warm start than look at an already cold fridge and wonder if it struggled for 3 hours to get to a point that it should have reached in 15 minutes, if you know what I mean. Thoughts?

    And for anyone else going on this adventure in future, I'm sharing a short tutorial vid I found about figuring out which gasket you need, if you need to replace:
  17. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    If it is any help, I think this fridge will last a long time. There are places that repair them too. If it makes your partner feel better, I've had old things and things new. Warrenties aren't bullet-proof, either. A previous car of mine had numerous problems under warranty and it was a huge hassle and I ended up having to pay to have it fixed myself anyways, plus I wasted hours with dealers and corporate. Also, I don't know what you are paying for this fridge (budget) but it has got to be less than a brand new one.

    I don't see any reason why it cannot be transported on its side. Our flat-top was. The reason why to wait 24 hours is because the oil can pool places and not be in the motor. If you don't wait 24 hours to settle then you could be running a dry motor and burn it out, especially if it is warm and working hard. I don't know, I've heard the side thing too (from my mother), but I don't think it's true with the older fridges- I'm pretty sure it's an old wives tale. On the safe side, whenever we move our fridges, even if we only tip them a little bit we wait to settle, just to be safe. But I can't see why you cannot tip them. It's not like you're traveling across country and if will be on its side for days. And come to think of it, I've moved a modern freezer on its side and it was fine.

    All the fridges we have bought have been unplugged and we plugged them in to test them. I would think unplugged is easier add you can see how it starts up, but in the end I don't think it matters.

    This is going to be heavy-make sure you have enough help to get it in the flatbed. I'm more worried about you ladies getting it into the truck than anything else.

    ETA:if the gasket is bad replace it before you let it run more than an hour or two. Otherwise it will wear on the machine and can stick moisture into the insulation. Besides the fact that without a good seal you'll just be airconditioning your house!
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  18. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    We share your concern! He claimed he would have help on his end, but who knows. And we keep brawny friends around town just for this purpose. ;)

    Partner convinced me to look without bringing a truck and dolly first, since it's not too far away, to assess without the extra pressure of "Hey, let me help you load it now!" and be pre-committed. But now the guy has been MIA in replying with the address, so maybe it's already gone. [huh] The joys of Craigslist shopping...

    We'll definitely be applying all this shared wisdom whatever fridge we adopt, so sincerely, thanks to you both for taking the time to talk us through it. It'll happen.
  19. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Well, ladies, we have adopted one of those craigslist GE space savers fridges!!

    It's sitting in our kitchen as I type. The move yesterday went well, all the different elements we had to plan for came together, including the drafting of brawny fellows on either end, and no U-Haul was harmed in the making of this adventure. lol

    Now I have a lot of elbow grease to expend today. And I'm being very good about not plugging it in for awhile, tho it's killing me! We're really fortunate that it seems to have all the original interior shelving and such and all the chrome is in excellent shape.

    I'm excited, but a little nervous too. We're hanging on to our previous fridge till we know all is well. The kitchen looks a little like an appliance store at the moment. But wow, does that GE fridge increase the golden age feel to the room already! I keep finding myself going to it to get my snacks instead of the one actually up and running.
  20. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Wonderful! :)

    If you have grease issues (both of ours did and still have a bit of cleaning to do), I found Spray 9 to work wonders. It is available at home improvement stores. :)

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