Frigidaire is an American brand of consumer and commercial appliances. Frigidaire was founded as the Guardian Frigerator Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and developed the first self-contained refrigerator (invented by Nathaniel B. Wales and Alfred Mellowes) in 1916.
In 1918, William C. Durant, a founder of General Motors, personally invested in the company and in 1919, it adopted the name Frigidaire. That same year GM produced the Frigidaire, one of the first mechanical refrigerators for home use. They were called “mechanical” because some were powered by electricity, others by gas.
The Early Fridges
But the first Frigidaire owners were not happy. In fact, they had so many complaints that GM sent John Lee Pratt to Ohio to close down the Frigidaire plant.
Mr. Pratt wasn’t sure that was the right idea. First he visited Frigidaire owners. He offered them their money back but had no takers since no one wanted to go back to the old ice boxes, and they certainly didn’t want to go back to those 19th-century days when ice was taken from local millponds and stored in ice houses.
“Keep the plant open and improve the product,” was John Lee Pratt’s advice to General Motors. He was instrumental in developing a better refrigerator, including use of the relatively safe refrigerant, Freon.
The Birth of the Term “Fridge”
The product was improved and the brand was so well known in the refrigeration field in the early 20th century that many Americans called any refrigerator, whatever its brand, a “Frigidaire.” The name Frigidaire or the earlier version, Frigerator, may be the actual origin of the slang term “fridge.”
From 1919 to 1979, the company was owned by General Motors. During that period, it was first a subsidiary of Delco-Light and was later an independent division, based in Dayton, Ohio. Frigidaire was sold to White Sewing Machine Company 1979, which was in turn purchased by Electrolux, its current parent, in 1986.
Frigidaire has grown to be one of the world’s largest appliance manufacturers of all home appliances from Refrigerators, Stoves, laundry, Small Appliances and more.
Submit your review