Alternative Name(s): Fridge

Electric Frigidaire De Luxe refrigerator, made by General Motors Holden in Australia circa1957. The red, square-shouldered refrigerator is constructed of enamelled sheet metal in red with silver trim.

The refrigerator was purchased from Farmers store, Sydney on 31 March 1957 and delivered to the donor's home in French's Forest. The first two weeks it was located in the bedroom whilst the kitchen was finished. After many years the family moved to Launceston, Tasmania, taking the refrigerator with them. Six years later, the family moved to North Carlton in Melbourne, again taking the fridge with them. Many moves around Melbourne followed; eventually the donor's parents and the fridge ended up in Brighton, Victoria. The 'red fridge' was retired, still working, in 1991 when the decision was made to purchase a combined fridge-freezer.

The use of enamelled sheet metal (a flat material that is thin relative to its length and width) allowed for innovative styling. The Frigidaire was regarded as the first rectilinear refrigerator to be available to the postwar consumer in Australia. Frigidaires were sold with a strong emphasis on design and appearance; indeed, the company claimed over a number of years that the Frigidaire set 'the styling fashion in styling'. As well as form, an important part of this claim related to colour. Whereas off-white remained the overwhelming colour of other brands, Frigidaire offered Snow Crest White, Moonglow Cream, Turquoise, Charcoal and Mayfair Pink.

Chloro-fluoro-carbons (CFC) were first discovered by GM research scientists during the 1930s. Freon, the first CFC produced, was not widely used commercially before World War II, however the successful use of CFC's in aerosol cans of mosquito repellent during World War II encouraged GM to explore other uses for CFCs. Its Frigidaire range, introduced in the 1950s, was the first type of domestic refrigerator to adopt new CFC refrigerants.

Physical Description

Electric, square-shouldered, enamelled sheet metal refrigerator. Red with silver trim. FRONT: a corrugated, silver metal foot plate below the door. DOOR: a silver metal band across the top. Hinged at right. HANDLE - bar at left. BACK: exposed compression unit below 1/2 height grill. White electrical cord with 3 pronged plug. INTERIOR: soft pink enamel. Upper left light bulb behind frosted glass box. Light release button middle right. 4 pegs for under freezer tray. Hooks for 4 further shelves. 1 runner for a sliding shelf. Temperature dial upper right, white plastic dial with blue plastic centre in a silver metal frame. FREEZER COMPARTMENT - full width. Grey door with full length metal bar handle at top. Interior one large compartment with separate shelving at left for 3 ice trays. DOOR - white plastic lining with grey rubber seal. 2 columns of fittings. At left, four shelves, at right 7 compartments with grey, plastic doors, hinged at bottom (top one missing).

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community, Transport

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Mr Ted Whittle, 08 Oct 1991

  • Manufacturer

    Service Department, General Motors Holden's Ltd (GMH), Australia, circa 1957
    This model was advertised in 1959 (see Australian Home Beautiful, Dec 1959) Still available for purchase 1960 (Myer Emporium Catalogue 1960).

  • Date Purchased


  • Place & Date Used

    Australia, 1957-1991
    This refrigerator was used in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria from its date of purchase in 1957 to its retirement in 1991.

  • Inscriptions

    FRONT: across metal band crown logo "FRIGIDAIRE/ made only by general motors/ De Luxe". BACK: moulded on plug "HPM". Metal tag applied to compression unit "R 1/8-25 VOLTS.230 CY 30 AMP 10/ 5481050 MADE IN ENGLAND". Stencilled upper left "D86 22784"; upper centre "R-GY". Sticker upper right, gilt lettering on clear background "MADE IN AUSTRALIA BY GENERAL MOTORS - HOLDEN LIMITED". Two paper labels, one above the other, centre. Top moving instructions printed in red, and a list of Australian patents: "103,609 134,900 200,459/ 104,863 135,552 1463/54 (APPLN.)/ 105, 301 137,350 139,091/ 105,790 141,947 152,303/ 105,811 164,501 163,507/ 107,211 166,329 159,369". Bottom label diagram of mechanics, bottom right number "7392977". INTERIOR: around temperature dial "DEFROST (downward arrow) 3 2 1 A B C ". FREEZER COMPARTMENT - applied plastic lettering below handle "FRIGIDAIRE (crown logo) freezer chest". Moulded inside freezer door "DO NOT USE SHARP OBJECTS TO REMOVE FROST" above crown logo. DOOR - moulded upper left of door units from top to bottom "cheese", "eggs", "eggs", "utility", "utility".

  • Brand Names

    Frigidaire (Refrigerators) , General Motors (Refrigerators)

  • Classification

    Domestic life, Food & drink preservation, Appliances - electric

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    66.9 cm (Length), 60.9 cm (Width), 144.5 cm (Height)

  • Other Dimensions

    11 cm (Length), 55.5 cm (Width), 117 cm (Height)

  • Keywords

    Domestic Appliances, Domestic Equipment, Refrigerators (Domestic)