Glancing Back: Appliance Shopping

June 6, 2001
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Ice, gas, or electricity?

In the June 8, 1932 News, the pamphlet “How to Select a Refrigerator” by the American Home Economics Association was reprinted with permission. The leaflet began this way:

“Before selecting a refrigerator, one of the first questions to be decided is whether an ice refrigerator or a mechanical type operated by electricity, gas, or kerosene will be most satisfactory. This must be determined in light of:

1. The amount to be spent for the refrigerator.

2. The extent to which it will be used.

3. The temperature conditions under which it will be used.

4. The availability of ice, electricity, gas, kerosene, and water. Gas and some kerosene refrigerators call for a supply of flowing water when in operation, hence information should be obtained as to the maximum amount and temperature of water required and whether adequate drainage facilities are available.”

Questions the leaflet discussed at length centered on maintaining a satisfactory temperature, durability, economy, construction, and ease of caring for the unit.

A recommendation made in the pamphlet was that consumers ask that a name plate with certain pieces of information be attached to the refrigerator. Information that the consumer was told to ask for included:

1. Manufacturer’s name;

2. Usable storage space expressed in cubic ft;

3. Ice capacity expressed in lbs if it’s an ice refrigerator;

4. Average temperature maintained under certain test conditions in the milk compartment as well as in the food compartment;

5. Amount of ice, electricity, gas, or kerosene needed to keep the temperature to the test conditions, for a 24-hr period; and

6. Statement that the refrigerator meets certain tests for durability.


Storing up for the winter

An article from the June 11, 1956 edition reported on a service that a furniture store offered its room air conditioner customers — they could avail themselves of winter servicing and storage of their units.

Smulekoff’s Furniture Store in Cedar Rapids, IA, included a special winter service and storage offer with the purchase of an Amana air conditioner. For $20, the store picked up the room a/c unit in late autumn, cleaned it, gave it a complete checkup, stored it until spring, then reinstalled it.

This promotion was used as a door opener for other sales, such as additional air conditioners and Amana activated charcoal filters as replacements for the fiber filter that had in prior years been standard on the units.

According to Nathan Berg, the store’s one-time home appliance manager, customers responded well to the offer and to the filter promotion.

“It eliminates the winter storage problem of room air conditioners, which is a sales objection for some customers,” Berg said.

Publication date: 06/11/2001

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