Still Cooling After All These Years

April 24, 2001
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“Is your refrigerator still running?”

“Yes.”

“Then you better go catch it.”

The winning entries in the oldest Frigidaire contest are likely older than this old crank call. And they all have been running for 70 years or more.

A search was conducted to locate the oldest still-functioning Frigidaire refrigerator on the continent. This contest was held to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the self-contained electric household refrigerator that Alfred Mellowes, founder of Guardian Refrigerator Co., built in Ft. Wayne, IN, back in 1915.

The winner, chosen from the more than 5,300 entries submitted, was one that dates back to 1924. It is owned by Charles Sozio of Revere, MA, who still uses it for extra storage in his garage.

This model has wooden cabinet doors that are currently painted white. The motor, compressor, and condensing unit are separate from the cabinet, and the way the unit was designed and built, these components could be located in the basement. It has a freezer that still operates, located on the right side. The coolant system uses sulfur dioxide, which was one of the early refrigerants.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to the oldest Frigidaire Hunt,” said Mark Chambers, vice president, marketing, Electrolux Home Products, maker of Frigidaire appliances. “Most of all, we were sincerely touched by the stories which accompanied many of the entries, describing how their Frigidaire has meant something to them in their lives. The winning refrigerator represents the very early days of household refrigeration, when Frigidaire helped to change the way people live around the world.

“We even found some products that had been converted from ice boxes with Frigidaire systems or originally built way back in the early 1920s. We had to rule out conversion units because it was not possible to date them precisely. We had to do the same with several old cabinets that at one time or another had their refrigerating systems changed to use more modern refrigerants,” he said.

Awards were also presented to winners in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and Western regions, as well as to a winner in Canada.

All of the winners received a brand-new “Next Generation” refrigerator.

Publication date: 04/30/2001

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