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GE MONITOR-TOP VINTAGE REFRIGERATOR - see Vintage GE Ads 1920s - 1930s

Updated on August 7, 2012
- GE Monitor-Top Vintage Refrigerator, by Rosie2910 on Hubpages -
- GE Monitor-Top Vintage Refrigerator, by Rosie2910 on Hubpages -

GE Monitor-Top Vintage Refrigerator

The most recognized of vintage refrigerators is the GE Monitor-Top refrigerator. This residential refrigerator was introduced by General Electric (GE) to the general public in 1927. GE believed so much on its new product that it committed $18 million dollars to the manufacturing of these refrigerators and another million dollars to advertise them to the public. Over a million of GE Monitor-Top refrigerator first models were produced.

The GE Monitor-Top refrigerator first models were certainly not the first home refrigerators in the market at the time. There were other home units which usually required the installation of the mechanical parts, motor and compressor, in the basement or an adjacent room while the cold box was located in the kitchen. Then there was a 1922 model that consisted of a wooden cold box, water-cooled compressor, an ice cube tray and a 9-cubic-foot compartment but cost $714. The price was just astronomical considering a 1922 Model-T Ford cost about $450.

With a price tag of only $300, GE Monitor-Top refrigerator first models were considered "the first affordable refrigeration units" for the average family. Many utility companies offered the GE Monitor-Top refrigerator to their customers for as little as $10 a month, simply added to their monthly utility bill. How convenient!

One GE advertisement claimed that "the GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator was the first refrigerator to see widespread use in the United States. Not only did its function changed the atmosphere of the kitchen forever, but the style and visual appeal of a particular unit (stainless steel, ice dispenser, etc.) were usually what defined the look and value of the kitchen or even the entire house." (1927)

GE was right.  By the 1930s, 60% of households in the US owned a refrigerator.


1930 dbl door monitor top 44' wide 64 ' high 28' deep, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
1930 dbl door monitor top 44' wide 64 ' high 28' deep, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
pink_refrig33zz. source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
pink_refrig33zz. source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com

Most Recognizable Design


The GE Monitor-Top refrigerators' compressor assembly, which emitted a great deal of heat, sat on top of the cabinet and surrounded with a decorative ring. These were cooled with one of two refrigerants used during this time, sulfur dioxide or methyl formate, until the introduction of Freon.


Although a few minor features were added along the way, such as enclosed condenser coils and slide out shelves, the basic design of GE Monitor-Top refrigerator remained the same from 1927 until 1936.


You can purchase finished or unfinished vintage refrigerators at a number of vintage appliance stores. Or if you are like me who love going through garage sales, this vintage refrigerator is a nice buy. Some of them still work, but most of all this vintage refrigerator is a nice decorative addition to your collection of antiques, plus is a great conversational piece.


1920's GE Ball Top Refrigerator with 24 carat gold hardware, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
1920's GE Ball Top Refrigerator with 24 carat gold hardware, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
1934 GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com
1934 GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator, source: www.antiquevintageappliances.com

Click image to view original size

 source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com

Vintage GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator Ads


1927 - GE Monitor Top Refrigerator Vintage Ad

1927 General Electric Refrigerator original vintage advertisement. "Protect food from the killing chill of winter and the bacteria-breeding heat of summer."

Price: $18.88


1929 GE Monitor Top Refrigerator Vintage Ad

1929 GE Refrigerator original vintage advertisement. Day and night, automatically keeps food safely below 50 degrees. "It's always summertime in your kitchen."

Price: $18.88

Click on the image to view original size

source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com
source: www.adclassix.com


1930 GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator Vintage Ad

1930 General Electric Refrigerator original vintage advertisement. Proof of efficiency and economy. Not one owner has ever paid for a cent of service. The all steel GE refrigerator is permanently sealed with its own oil supply. Prices start at $205 at the factory.

Price: $18.88


1935 GE Monitor-Top Refrigerator Vintage Ad

1935 General Electric Refrigerator original vintage advertisement. Showcases the new Monitor Top and the Flat Top models. List prices started at $77.50. "The refrigerator that defies time."

Price: $18.88


Vintage ads are all courtesy of http://www.adclassix.com



Comments

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  • profile image

    bathgate206 4 years ago

    Now a day how much are they worth? I have one i'm trying to sale.

  • profile image

    Robert 6 years ago

    Greetings and some questions. What type of refrigerant used Monitor Top refrigerators? I have one of two doors. Or break down or ask for coolant. What live my refrigerator? In my house has almost 30 years and when he was not exactly a youngster. What year is it? It looks like 1930, double door, but it is a little different. Still makes ice in hot weather, in temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees Celsius. Does not ask anything to the current refrigerators, except to have internet access.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Roy, thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. Wow! You have a 1938 ge monitor top with the foot lever for the door and the original ceramic castor and it's still working? How cool! But no ice cube trays? Aww! lol Cheers!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya L.L., thanks for dropping by. I know what you mean. lol I thought the design is quite interesting and some people still have them and they still work. Cheers!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Glenn, thanks for dropping by. Yes, putting the coil on top was unusual but it was the best they could do at the time as the alternative was putting the box in another room as it heated up and was very noisy. lol the price was great, huh? Cheers!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya dahoglund, thanks for dropping by. I know what you mean, I've never seen a ge monitor top personally but I thought the design is quite interesting and some people still have them and they still work. Cheers!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • profile image

    Roy/ Iowa 6 years ago

    I am still using mine. I have had it since 1984. I bought from a doctor who was retiring to Colorado, he was using it at that time. The date on this unit is 1938 it has the foot lever for the door and the original ceramic castor but no ice cube trays

    Roy

  • L.L. Woodard profile image

    L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

    The GE Monitor-Top looks awkward in retrospect, but I imagine it was beautiful to those who owned it in its heyday.

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    I thought I might recognize some of these but I don't.I vaguely remember when Ice was delivered and some people still had "ice boxes" where a block of ice was put in to keep food cold.

    Interesting hub.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Interesting how they had the coil on top in those days. Now it's hidden on the rear. I enjoyed your hub as well as the old ads you show. Looking close at them I was amazed that a refrigerator sold for $77.50 in those days. But that's inflation! lol.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya my dear friend Lori, thanks for dropping by. lol Definitely older than most of us here. But I thought it would be interesting to make it my contribution to this week's topic in HubMob Weekly topic - All things Vintage. Thanks for the vote up.. so sweet.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Pam, thanks for dropping by. Me too! lol I came across a video on a 1927 GE Monitor-Top found by a dealer in such a good condition. So I got interested and tried to add the video in this hub but it was not allowed by the owner. But I thought it would be interesting to make it my contribution to this week's topic in HubMob Weekly topic - All things Vintage. I'm glad you liked it.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Will, oh that was so cool that your sister found one of these vintage refrigerators and still working and that she used it for several years.. awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed reading my contribution to this week's topic in HubMob Weekly topic - All things Vintage.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Greg, thanks for dropping by. lol You're not the only one.. I'd never seen this type of refrigerator before I saw it in YouTube. I thought it would be a nice contribution to this week's topic in HubMob Weekly topic - All things Vintage. Take care my friend.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya moncrieff, thanks for dropping by. I came across a video on a 1927 GE Monitor-Top found by a dealer in such a good condition. So I got interested and tried to add the video in this hub but it was not allowed by the owner. This is my contribution to this week's topic in HubMob Weekly topic - All things Vintage. Me too, I've never really seen this type of ice-box or refrigerator in movies.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • LillyGrillzit profile image

    Lori J Latimer 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

    Thank you for this interesting Hub, on a refrigerator that may be older than me! Thank you! Voted up

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    it was nice will learn about also refrigerators. I don't ever remember seeing one like that so I guess it not as old I thought. Nice hub.

  • WillStarr profile image

    WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Back in the 80's, my sister picked up an old freezer that looked very much like this. She bought it for decoration but soon discovered that is still worked and then used it for years!

    Cool Hub Rosie!

  • gg.zaino profile image

    greg g zaino 6 years ago from L'America- Big Pine Key, Florida

    Rosie:)

    What a great idea for a hub. I'm not quite so old that i remember having one in the house but i do remember my grandfather had an old galvanized ice box in the barn.

    Ralph Cramden and Art Carney on the Honeymooners came to mind as i was going through this hub- ha!

    well done Rosie Girl ~ Peace ~ greg

  • moncrieff profile image

    moncrieff 6 years ago from New York, NY

    Great to know about the early iceboxes! By the time of household movies of 40s and 50s there were apparently replaced by the present-look refrigerators, for i had never never seen this early GE icebox in a movie.