Thread Number: 79122  /  Tag: Refrigerators
When Was The Last Ice Box?
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Post# 1030496   4/21/2019 at 21:01 (406 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

I was asked this question awhile ago and kept forgetting to post it.

I know wringer washers long after automatics became the norm, but when was the last ice box for the home kitchen made? By that I mean a unit that might've looked like an electric refrigerator but actually held a 25lb, or larger block of ice that was replaced every few days. And how good did insulation get before they were dropped completely?



Post# 1030497 , Reply# 1   4/21/2019 at 21:13 (406 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
I seem to recall that in early 60’s Sear Roebuck catalogs still offered Ice Boxes, and they did look just like a refrigerator from the outside.

I had a babysitter in the late 50’s that still used an Ice Box. And in 1958 she was still having ice delivered by the Ice Man, with the great big ice tongs. He would sling it into the top of the Ice Box for her.


Post# 1030498 , Reply# 2   4/21/2019 at 21:15 (406 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Believe Coolerator in Duluth made iceboxes throughout WWII and for a few more years beyond...would bet they were done by 1950.

Post# 1030510 , Reply# 3   4/21/2019 at 23:19 (406 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Film "A Girl Can't Help It"

launderess's profile picture
Was released in 1956 and clearly shows an iceman making deliveries. So regardless of still being produced (or not) a good number of people must still have had ice boxes.

While there is no escaping meaning of the gag as Jerri Jordan struts by, it hardly would have been included if film makers didn't think it relevant enough that many would get the joke.

By 1950 some 80% of American farms and near 90% of homes had electric refrigerators. By this time those who didn't likely had various reasons such as no access (yet) to electricity, those living in older (ancient) buildings that even if had electricity there wasn't enough juice supplied to house/apartment to power a refrigerator.

There was a housing shortage post WWII that went on well into the 1950's. People took what they could find/afford even if that meant cold water flats. Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Kramden lived in such a place. Their Brooklyn apartment had a kitchen nicknamed "Adventure Land" by Alice Kramden. It was 1955 but she still had an ice box, while her best fried and neighbor Trixie Norton had an electric refrigerator. Difference was Ed Norton was willing to take on debt and finance the purchase of various mod cons for their apartment. Ralph Kramden being a tight fisted sort wouldn't.

Though commonly assumed otherwise at least here in NYC landlords are not required to supply a fridge or range/stove/oven. Most do because it would be nearly impossible to find tenants today and in near past willing to take such a place. But again the 1950's still had that housing shortage....

Post# 1030512 , Reply# 4   4/21/2019 at 23:31 (406 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Ice Boxes Reached State Of The Art

launderess's profile picture
By late 1800's IIRC. There really wasn't much else that could be done further, and electric refrigeration was already becoming a powerful rival.

If you want a vintage ice box have at it:

Perhaps TOL as one could get were things like the "Leonard Cleanable Icebox". Unites such as these had more metal, porcelain and other surfaces that could be washed/scrubbed/clean to render more sanitary than the common wood.



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