Refrigerator Dishes

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by Vera Godfrey, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Vera Godfrey

    Vera Godfrey Practically Family

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    Hope this is the right place to put this. I wasn't sure.

    Does anyone know when refrigerator dishes first came about? I've been trying to research it, but haven't had any luck.

    Any help appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    What do you mean by refrigerator dishes? Artificial refrigeration dates back to 1860 or earlier but home refrigerators only became popular in the 30s, and some homes did not get them until the fifties.

    If they were a new design of dishes for keeping things in a refrigerator I suppose they would date to the 30s?
     
  3. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    I can't decide whether she's talking about tupperware, microwave-dinners, frozen food or make-at-home jello.

    The first refrigerators of a kind seen at home were the domestic ice-box of the 1800s. The iceman came by every week with a huge chunk of ice and stuck it into a huge, zinc-and-cork lined wooden ice-box, and the cold air currents kept the food stored inside, nice and chilled.

    Electric refrigerators as we know them today, came out in the mid-1920s.
     
  4. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    "Refrigerator Dishes" are glass or crockery dishes with lids which are designed to keep food moist and fresh in the refrigerator. They really became a necessity with the coming of the electric refrigerator, which provided a drier environment than the ice box. Rectangular enameled "refrigerator boxes" were being sold by the early 1920's. The Ohio River potteries were offering covered "refrigerator bowls" by the middle of the decade. The rectangular glass dishes with their associated covers turn up in catalogs of the early 1930's.
     
  5. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    Once had a good friend who collected refrierator dishes along with depression glass. She actually used hers and, as I recall, they worked well. But not as well as the modern plastic ones.

    [​IMG]

    AF
     
  6. Vera Godfrey

    Vera Godfrey Practically Family

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    Thank you, vitanola!

    Sorry for the confusion...I've never heard them called anything but refrigerator dishes and assumed others would know what I meant. My apologies!
     
  7. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    Oh so that's what they are!!

    I think I've seen some of those at antiques shops. I never figured out what the heck they were for!
     
  8. I've always wanted one of the these!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    Yeah I've seen those things in antiques shops. I never knew what they were until now! I suppose they're just made of glass and ceramics, right?
     
  10. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    We have some of them. They work fine. A plastic container will probably keep food longer, but these have style that Chinese plastic just can't match. :cool:
     
  11. Mickey85

    Mickey85 New in Town

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    Wish I had a picture, my parents have a full set of kelvinator dishes that belonged to my great grandmother. All in perfect shape, but one, which has been stained from ivory to brown, as it was my great grandmothers gravy container and the color leached in. They sat in our kitchen for a decade, but was boxed away years ago. Not sure where they are.
     
  12. Bugguy

    Bugguy A-List Customer

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    We still use a vintage glass covered butter dish that's kept in the butter tray in the fridge. Once the stick is unwrapped, the dish keeps it from drying out. It's easy to pull out and slice off the butter. I've had at least that my whole life. We buy really interesting ones when we see them in an antique store.
     
  13. Bugguy

    Bugguy A-List Customer

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    I came across these when I was wandering through an antique store outside Louisville, KY this morning...

    Refrigerator Jars.jpg
     
  14. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

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    When I got my '37 GE refrigerator a few years back, it included a couple of glass refrigerator dishes (as well as an aluminum and an enamel one). They're in storage right now but if memory serves, they have the "GE" logo molded into the lids. I don't know if they were included with the fridge when new but it's certainly possible. I spoke with the auctioneer before the auction and he knew the family who had owned it. Apparently it was grandma's and it had been in the family since they bought it new.
     
  15. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    When GE came out with the monitor top fridge, they advertised that there was an entire system of refrigerator dishes to use in their monitor tops to organize. It is buried someplace in this film, for instance:
    [video=youtube;1TKzuEUN7cY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TKzuEUN7cY[/video]

    I collect refrigerator dishes when I see them and they are inexpensive. I even pick up odd pieces sometimes. The stray tops I use as coasters for things like my olive oil bottle. The stray bottoms I use to hold makeup, pill bottles, etc. The fancier ones I use as bowls and serving pieces. I believe they were last commonly made for mainstream use sometime in the 1970s, very early, as that is the last pattern I know of that correlates with the dishes I have seen.

    I imagine that refrigerator dishes rose with the introduction of depression glass, which was actually in the mid/late 1920s and lasted until the late 1950s (despite the name). As the manufacturing of glass became cheaper and new techniques were developed to add colors, cheap glassware suddenly became plentiful. I collect depression-era glassware in a few patterns by Anchor Hocking (one of the few companies that made it through the depression and subsequent years.) In particular, I collect depressionware designed to be oven proof, such as Anchor Hocking's FireKing line. All of the fireking refrigerator dishes were designed to be oven safe. (I am a bit obsessed with the idea of "everyday" ware that was elegant and beautiful but so strong and tough you could use it in the oven. Take it out of the oven hot and then serve with it... neat, huh?)

    Interestingly enough, the rise of depression glass correlates with the rise of refrigerator in our society. We see machines like the monitor top the same time we see glass storage dishes really come into their own. Although, given the cost of a monitor top (as much as a car) many people must have used the dishes in their iceboxes.

    Anchor Hocking still makes glass refrigerator dishes. (This is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Hocking-12-Cup-Baking-Store/dp/B004CT6O0A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1393693142&sr=8-3&keywords=anchor+hocking+refrigerator+dishes). Around here, they are available in a lot of natural food stores but they are also available online from Vermont Country Store. They are dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe. (NOT stovetop safe, they will break.) Lots of people into natural food only store in glass, so they meet that market. I love using these, as they stack together so nice (we have three 5 cup, one 12 cup, and one 2 cup). I would like more of the 12 cup and five cup. If you have a vintage fridge, they are designed to fit perfectly in those but they are great in a more modern fridge too. I use them every week. We store most of our food in glass of some sort (refrigerator dishes and canning jars, even in the freezer). I can't recommend the Anchor Hocking product enough... made in the USA and really great.

    Some of my more elegant refrigerator dishes I have not tried in the oven because they are show pieces. If it is marked FireKing or corelle/pyrex it will be oven safe and likely OK in the dishwasher and microwave. They are never never stovetop safe. I just want to make this explicit: not all depressionware is oven safe, so do your research. Be sure that even if something is oven safe, you check it for fractures and cracks.

    I could go on and on about refrigerator dishes. It is great to see that other people collect them as well. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  16. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    That's a beautiful set of Pyrex OvenRefrigerator dishes.
     
  17. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    I am also glad to see others who collect and use these things. We also only buy if the price is reasonable, which is not as common as it was only a few years ago. I can't recommend putting vintage glassware like colored Pyrex in the dish grinder. The machine detergent can etch the finish. We have a couple of pieces that we got in sets or something that have been ruined that way. :cry:
     
  18. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    That's a good point. I was thinking more the solid colors and the depression glass that is colored in the glass. I buy a lot of glassware in less than desirable condition (sat in a barn in an open crate with chickens for 20 years kind of undesirable) and have never had a a piece break when I washed those in the dishwasher.

    I tried (when we had a microwave, we don't anymore) to avoid putting the really old ones in the microwave. I'm kind of a mircowave dummy, anyways, so I rarely used it successfully when we had it.

    Gene Florence's books seem to do a good job of discussing patterns and they also discuss what is dishwasher and microwave safe. Anything with applied decoration (like a raised pattern or gold/silver edge) shouldn't go in the dishwasher.
     
  19. Bruce Wayne

    Bruce Wayne My Mail is Forwarded Here

    It shouldn't be put in the microwave either.
     
  20. Nobert

    Nobert Practically Family

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    That's ahead of the curve from my point of view. I spent years wondering why depression glass didn't make me feel particularly sad.
     

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