The Frigidaire Story


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Cover of "A to Zero of Refrigeration" pamphlet

I was there...

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Written by Mike Brazeau

General Motors President Billy Durant personally bought the Guardian Frigerator Company of Detroit, MI. in June 1918 with his own money. Guardian was a struggling company that had produced its first self-contained electric refrigerator in 1916 but had sold only 40 units in its first 2 years. In 1919, General Motors repaid Durant his investment of a little over $56,000.00 and renamed the company Frigidaire. GM employed new mass production and sales techniques of the auto industry to the company and by 1924 they were showing a profit. In 1926, the first all-steel refrigerator cabinet was introduced.

By 1929 Frigidaire had sold one million units and despite the great depression, sales grew. In 1931, Frigidaire scientists developed a safe refrigerant, Freon 12. Before that a dangerous and toxic sulfur dioxide or ammonia gas was used. In 1938, Frigidaire produced its first air cooled window air conditioner.

Frigidaire with Icemaker

During WWII even Frigidaire had halted production to contribute to the war effort by building Browning .50 caliber machine guns, aircraft parts and other military items. In 1947, after production had resumed, a laundry product line was added. By 1958 Figidaire had built its 50 millionth product and in 1965 the automatic icemaker was introduced. It delivered ice cubes to the door, which is a popular option today.
Over the years, Frigidaire has produced air conditioners for vehicles, homes and business, refrigerators, freezers and commercial coolers, stoves, ovens, ranges, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, trash compactors, hot water tanks, microwaves, and just about any other appliance available.

Frigidaire Automobile Air Conditioning

In 1979, after a decade of lay offs and increased production costs General Motors sold Frigidaire to White Consolidated Industries. In 1986, AB Electrolux of Sweden purchased Frigidaire.

General Motors published this pamphlet in 1968 to show the many ways in which refrigeration technology impacts our daily lives. Click here to view the entire "A to Zero of Refrigeration: pamphlet.

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