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Thread Number: 67889  /  Tag: Refrigerators
Another round of refrigerator children
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Post# 905915   11/7/2016 at 19:54 by Travis (St. Louis)        

I was bad and looked on ebay.  I noticed someone listed a few antique refrigerators.  I bid for sport and won, so I had to drive across the state to collect them.


Here they are dressed for Halloween.  I wonder what the other drivers thought.  The second is them before loading.  The third is a friend with the ball top.


I think another member also has the small cabinet with the FEA unit, the flat top.  It's in nice shape and of course works fine.  The ball top runs and cools fine.  The poor 1934 Westinghouse has control issues.  I'll dig into that tomorrow.  I'll have to dig for spare parts and see if I can repair it's control.

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Post# 905918 , Reply# 1   11/7/2016 at 20:11 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Those are Gorgeous.


Post# 905941 , Reply# 2   11/7/2016 at 22:39 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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It's like a beauty pageant!

Post# 906013 , Reply# 3   11/8/2016 at 09:15 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Even back in the early days before they became more integrated and stylized they already had style IMO. Not to mention they were well built to last which is apparent as they are still working today at 80 years old. Unlike todays plastic stuff.

Post# 906027 , Reply# 4   11/8/2016 at 10:28 by gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Very nice!

I don't remember seeing a square Monitor-Top. It looks like new!

Post# 906054 , Reply# 5   11/8/2016 at 12:17 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Square Monitor Top

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That unit isn't original to the cabinet, but that's what I like about MT fridges.  It's like swapping engines on VW bugs, but even easier -- pop the old unit out and pop a new one in, and you're back in business (weight not withstanding -- I use the term "pop" loosely).


Travis can provide dates on the cabinet vs the top.  The globe top looks all original.

Post# 906068 , Reply# 6   11/8/2016 at 13:31 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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The square top or "bread box" monitor used a condenser fan under the cover unlike all other monitor tops which cooled by thermal radiation.

This post was last edited 11/08/2016 at 14:13
Post# 906069 , Reply# 7   11/8/2016 at 13:48 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Ken, thanks for that reminder.  The one time I vaguely remember hearing a "breadbox" run, that was exactly what I noticed -- that I could hear a fan running.  OTOH, coil type monitor tops are barely audible.

Post# 906098 , Reply# 8   11/8/2016 at 16:26 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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I'm curious about the Westinghouse, as we rarely discuss such old examples. Did it have a hermetic compressor too?

Post# 906105 , Reply# 9   11/8/2016 at 17:28 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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More additions to the "home for wayward Monitors" I see.....


Nice score, Travis!

Post# 906109 , Reply# 10   11/8/2016 at 17:56 by Travis (St. Louis)        

No, the flat top unit is dated 1945.  The cabinet is 1929-30.  The previous owner had it painted.  This is the 4 cu ft size that was $215 back then. 


The Westinghouse has a hermetic compressor.  The contacts are messed up in the control.  I am trying to put my hands on another.


The ball top is original.


All three were cheap.  Of course, I had to rent a trailer and make a trip.  I may store the flat top unit and put a DR unit on that cabinet.  I may wait until I get someone to remove the unit from the Westinghouse to repair it.  It's also a drop in.  Stuff was designed better back then.

Post# 906129 , Reply# 11   11/8/2016 at 22:07 by cadman (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Travis, nice score! I really like that flat-top GE!

Post# 906689 , Reply# 12   11/12/2016 at 17:39 by Travis (St. Louis)        

Unfortunately, the little 34 Westinghouse gave me a dramatic light show and then dumped it's so2 throughout the house last night.  I have a compressor out of a 37 Westinghouse in the garage so maybe it can live on.



Post# 906851 , Reply# 13   11/13/2016 at 21:28 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Oh drat. Well, it is 82 years old.

I hope the SO2 didn't cause any bronchial irritation.

Post# 909890 , Reply# 14   12/6/2016 at 11:53 by Travis (St. Louis)        

I made my last trip for the year to pick up some strays.

I have two friends in the Dayton area. One had a Victor Orthophonic waiting for me. I already had the electric version, but was craving the crank variety.

The other friend had rescued a DRB3 monitor top unit. It would have been on the largest single door cabinet, the 9 cu ft. It runs very well. The other unit from him is a twin to my kitchen unit, the 80 fin DR3. This unit had failed and got a new modern compressor put inside the dome. Unfortunately, the oil migrated to the evaporators and it had a short life. It's a 300 lb garage ornament.

He was wanting to transplant the original compressor from the working unit into the 80 fin. It could have worked but was a big job. I adopted both as I can use the control off the dead unit for my four door. I also have a nice 9 cu ft cabinet that has a flat top unit. This DRB3 is the correct unit and that fridge is done!

On the way to Ohio, we made a detour to the Peoria area and picked up another small DR1 unit. I was told it worked. It needs a new cord, new paint and a door gasket. I can't seem to resist the cheap ones at $50. Besides, the seller got to use heavy machinery to load it!

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Post# 909893 , Reply# 15   12/6/2016 at 12:04 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Travis, you're a man on a mission, and it's a commendable one!


How about some pix of the Orthophonic?  Is it a Credenza model?  I always wanted a three spring motor Credenza but back when I was collecting, we didn't have to tools to track them down like we do today.

Post# 909894 , Reply# 16   12/6/2016 at 12:08 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Just how many monitors do you have? Is that just an optical illusion in picture 4 making one side of the condenser on the left look flat and the one on the right like it has a wave in it?

Post# 909900 , Reply# 17   12/6/2016 at 12:55 by Travis (St. Louis)        


I have 20-25.

Both of the units on crates have a capacitor/transformer block. The 3 size and above units run as a polyphase motor. Think of it as a start and run capacitor. One third of that block is a 8 mfd capacitor. Another collector figured that the run capacitor would be 170 mfd. In 1928-30, they couldn't make that large of a capacitor small enough.

The Victor is a Credenza. It's nice, but needs refinished as someone attacked it with polyurethane.

Post# 909941 , Reply# 18   12/6/2016 at 16:56 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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You out of room yet, Travis?laughing

Post# 909952 , Reply# 19   12/6/2016 at 18:16 by Travis (St. Louis)        

I am well past out of room.  That's the 5th DR1.  I joked to a friend that I would stop at 7 and paint them rainbow colors!

Post# 910000 , Reply# 20   12/7/2016 at 07:58 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Travis, I don't know much about these monitor tops but I heard that this early style had a different compressor and probably used different oil than the later ones?

I know someone who tried to "fix" one that already worked and after he replaced the oil in the compressor it didn't! I don't know what he did wrong!

Post# 910029 , Reply# 21   12/7/2016 at 13:24 by Travis (St. Louis)        


The oil used is mineral oil. The refrigerant is so2. It's very difficult to change the oil as the so2 and mineral oil don't combine well. It makes me wonder what you're friend did to it.

Moral of the story is, if it works leave it alone.

The open coil units are from 1927-32.

Post# 910349 , Reply# 22   12/9/2016 at 13:24 by Travis (St. Louis)        
One of the latest

This is a 1931 model. The heater was bad. I replaced it and flipped it on. It was running rough with not much cooling. I stuck a defrost heater in the evaporator and heated it up as much as I could barely touch.

I unplugged the heater. I entertained myself with Christmas music on the jukebox while allowing the fridge to run. The header of the evaporator started to cool. Finally, after another hour, the rest started to cool.

The door gasket had been replaced with a sticky, gross modern variety. I removed that as it was a biohazard. I had to tape the door shut and then went to work. When I returned, it was off but making all the wonderful bubbling noises that these units do. I turned the control colder and it started and it ran like butter.

I quickly installed some self stick gasketing to allow me to use it a little.

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Post# 910351 , Reply# 23   12/9/2016 at 13:31 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Great work Travis. Im assuming there was a partial blockage in the evaporator and heating it as you did allowed it to dislodge?

Post# 910354 , Reply# 24   12/9/2016 at 13:38 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Another fine job, Travis!

Post# 910375 , Reply# 25   12/9/2016 at 16:39 by Travis (St. Louis)        



Yes, the float gets stuck on these and oil gets logged in the evaporator.  These DR1's are just 1/10 hp.  They don't like to not be used.  You would also be horrified to have watch it get unloaded.  This was in someones garage and was saved by the clean out crew.




Thank you.  Please come visit sometime.

Post# 910392 , Reply# 26   12/9/2016 at 18:52 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Travis, when you say the heater was bad, do you mean the oil heater -- the one that fits behind the hole below the compressor/condenser unit (the originals looked like a stick of chalk) in the picture above?


That left hinge arrangement seems kind of unusual.

Post# 910397 , Reply# 27   12/9/2016 at 19:07 by Travis (St. Louis)        

Yes, the oil heater.  It's there to boil the refrigerant out of the oil.  They;ll run without them, but not well.


I am going to have to pull new wire back to the control for the heater.  There isn't any slack to connect a new heater. 


I have five of this model.  I think two of LH and three are RH.  I am tempted to put a couple side by side and call it a two door.

Post# 910399 , Reply# 28   12/9/2016 at 19:44 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Will do, Travis!!

Post# 910400 , Reply# 29   12/9/2016 at 19:53 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Travis, it's strange that there's no slack in the heater leads.  How are you supposed to extract it then?


GE was still making a replacement part (though not catalogued as such) for MT heaters back in the early '80s when I needed one.  I gave that part number to everybody I knew who owned a MT so outfitted.


Where are you getting your replacement heaters?

Post# 910403 , Reply# 30   12/9/2016 at 20:23 by Travis (St. Louis)        

I am having a manufacturer of cartridge heaters make them.  They cost approx. $38 each.


The heater leads in these units are a twisted pair.  I haven't tried to pull these with pliers yet.  The insulation is hard and won't flex.  To remove the old heater, I removed the badge and clipped the leads right there.  I then had to heat shrink the ends of the wires, since it's connected under the control still.


I need to remove the control and attempt to fish new wires.  The previous owner assaulted the bakelite with house paint, so that has to go.

Post# 912061 , Reply# 31   12/21/2016 at 17:52 by Coldspaces (Chillicothe Illinois)        

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Hi all new here but not new to Travis.

Yes Travis has a lot of frig babies and I have to admit I am pretty much just as bad. The Westinghouse Travis had erupt has now got the R12 compressor in it and seems to work correctly now but run time has been limited as I didn't want to leave it unattended yet. I think part of his control problem was that the condenser fan was stiff and dragging. The control start relay coil sees the current draw of the compressor and fan motor both. Now that I got the fan oiled and freed up the control has been ok.


Post# 912074 , Reply# 32   12/21/2016 at 19:08 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Welcome Gill!

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Good Westinghouse News!  I'm sure you'll be an excellent source of knowledge here just like Travis has been.


Feel free to share pix of your collection with us here!



Post# 912080 , Reply# 33   12/21/2016 at 21:31 by Coldspaces (Chillicothe Illinois)        

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Thanks Ralph, I am too mechanically orientated and don't seem to remember all the details Travis does with out looking them up. I have way to many projects and run my own HVACR business, guess my mind can't retain it all.

As time allows I will try to post some pics, I have over 20 antique frigs and 4 soda coolers presently.

Post# 912087 , Reply# 34   12/21/2016 at 23:55 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Happy to hear the Westinghouse is running again!

Is the R12 compressor the same as the SO2 compressor or are we talking about a different design? I noticed that Westinghouse was claiming that the R12 hermetic compressors in their new 1941 window ACs had a design that had been proved in nearly 2,000,000 units, so that would have to have been in refrigerators, I guess?

Post# 912092 , Reply# 35   12/22/2016 at 00:28 by Travis (St. Louis)        

Same design. The failed unit was 1934 and the donor from 1937.

Post# 912110 , Reply# 36   12/22/2016 at 07:59 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Thanks, Travis. Wow, Westinghouse moved to R12 faster than I thought.

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