Thread Number: 71458  /  Tag: Refrigerators
Need advice on vintage fridge purchase
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 945599   6/27/2017 at 16:21 (302 days old) by nick7764 (Baltimore, MD)        


I remember finding this forum a long time ago as a vintage appliance-obsessed kid (26 now). It's been a while since I've been back...

Me and my boyfriend recently purchased our first house, a 1930's colonial revival, and are in the process of remodeling the kitchen. I would love a vintage fridge. I've been looking for a vintage combination GE fridge, since they have a little more capacity than some other vintage ones. I also love the simple, rounded look. I need a left-hinge model, which has made the search quite difficult (it's difficult enough to find one in good condition near me!).

So...I found this one (image attached). It does have a little wear and tear outside, but it is a left-hinge! And the inside seems pretty good. However, in the images, there is a strange hole on the inside of the freezer door panel. The seller says you can see insulation behind it. They say it works fine, but they don't know what it is.

What is the strange hole? Is something missing? Is that an issue? Part of me says, wait till a better one comes along, but again, the left-hinge requirement makes that difficult. I wouldn't be opposed to having it professionally repainted. Will a professional repaint be the same type of finish as the original?

Thanks for any input/advice!

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 7         View Full Size

Post# 945602 , Reply# 1   6/27/2017 at 16:39 (302 days old) by wiskybill (Canton, Ohio)        
This a Hotpoint...

but it looks like you are missing a thermometer.

Post# 945609 , Reply# 2   6/27/2017 at 17:37 (302 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

goatfarmer's profile picture

Yeah, there was a thermometer there.

Post# 945618 , Reply# 3   6/27/2017 at 19:47 (301 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I wouldn't let the lack of a thermometer stop you from buying this fridge if it's in proper operating condition.  Just cover up the thermometer holes with tape until you're able to find an original replacement.  It's in beautiful shape and will clean up nicely, it has a butter conditioner, its freezer will maintain a true zero degrees, and it's easily defrosted (particularly if you have an electric heater designed for that purpose), thanks to a convenient drain hole that routes the defrost water down to a pan underneath the fridge.


The fresh food section door gasket looks sketchy, but the gasket on the freezer door is the one you want to be sure makes a good seal so you're not having to defrost more than a couple of times per year.


GE's from this period seem to run forever -- and quietly.



Post# 945645 , Reply# 4   6/28/2017 at 01:02 (301 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
And it will

Keep frozen food hard as a brick with no freezer burning and the fresh food section is miles ahead of anything built today, vegetables and fruits will keep fresh much longer than a frost free because air is not blowing over them!!And then too, it will run QUIET and use VERY LITTLE current!

Post# 945648 , Reply# 5   6/28/2017 at 01:21 (301 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
little rubbing compound and some car polish.. Maybe u won't need to repaint!

Post# 945649 , Reply# 6   6/28/2017 at 01:29 (301 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Oh for sure, Stan.  I see no reason to repaint.  With some car cleaner/polish that fridge will sparkle!  Meguiar's worked like magic on my '57 GE Combination.

Post# 945682 , Reply# 7   6/28/2017 at 08:06 (301 days old) by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        
That is a pretty good candidate

for a practical vintage fridge. It is towards the top of the line, due to it being a combination fridge, with that separate door for the freezer compartment. You won't have to defrost it so often as the "tombstone" ones that just have one big door and the freezer compartment inside that. I think it looks more interesting and has more chrome on it as well. I have a '54 which works great.

You can try polishing and cleaning up the surface. Even slightly touching up the bad areas. I wouldn't just assume repainting these would be a snap job. Northwesty

Post# 945733 , Reply# 8   6/28/2017 at 13:44 (301 days old) by countryford (Phoenix, AZ)        

countryford's profile picture
As others have said, that is for a thermometer is what is missing from the freezer door. Won't hurt anything not to have it, just looks. Hotpoint also used the same one, so you might be able to find one to fill it in. As far as painting one, we had our 49 Hotpoint painted. We took it to an automotive painter. They did a great job and one wouldn't be able to tell that it isn't original. Some auto painters won't paint appliances, but some will. Just have to ask around. Good luck!

Post# 945973 , Reply# 9   6/30/2017 at 08:04 (299 days old) by nick7764 (Baltimore, MD)        

Thanks so much! I am excited. In terms of repainting, I am hoping it won't be necessary. I will definitely do a bit of in depth cleaning. The top and sides have a bit more wear to them, but in our application the sides and top would be hidden in a cabinet anyways. I'll keep an eye out for a thermometer.

In terms of repainting, is that definitely possible with these? I remember a past fridge I had (a 56' Frigidaire Cold Pantry) that I'm pretty sure had a porcelain finish. Which is more than just a repaint I believe.

Which fridges typically had the porcelain finish?

Also, when I replace the main door gasket, would you recommend taking the door panel off and replacing the insulation?

Post# 946121 , Reply# 10   6/30/2017 at 21:28 (298 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

If the insulation is dry, don't mess with it.


Don't make any decisions about painting until you've taken a pass on the exterior with car cleaner/wax.  The finish in the interior liner is porcelain, but the exterior is enamel.


Here are some before and after shots of my '57 Combination.  As stated above, this was all accomplished with Meguiar's Car Cleaner-Wax and judiciously applied appliance touch-up on nicks and scratches.



  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 6         View Full Size
Post# 946133 , Reply# 11   6/30/2017 at 22:32 (298 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Unless you have very good reason to do so

panthera's profile picture

Never, ever take a door apart. They invariably bow and warp - they are held straight and true by that dratted liner.

Some Frigidaire (our '67 for one) have tension rods in the door - they can be successfully taken apart and put back together, but even that is a pain beyond words.


While some refrigerators in the pre-war era had porcelain outside, nearly all were some sort of heavy-duty enamel finish outside. The inner porcelain era drew to a close in the 1970s, sadly.


I'd try cleaning really, really well and some judicious use of mixed finger-nail colors to cover any deep scratches. If things really have to be repainted, the Rustoleum appliance epoxy series works well - I've done two refrigerators with it that still look great many years later. You MUST, absolutely MUST follow the directions exactly an I strongly, strongly, STRONGLY recommend a NIOSH resperator.

Super strongly.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy