G.E. Refrigerator - The center of family life.

Gather round, children, and I'll spin a yarn of adventure from the Days of Yore. See, once upon a time, instead of a "refrigerator" everyone had an "ice box" in their kitchen. This was because before anyone figured out how to make stuff cold by compressing certain gasses, the only way to do it was by keeping huge blocks of ice around the house, and hopefully replacing them with new huge blocks of ice as they melted. Today's ad is from G.E., promoting their exciting 1941 line of electric refrigerators.
Consumer refrigerators had been available since 1930something, but it seems they were still new enough to justify the term "electric refrigerator". Want a modern analogy? "Digital camera". Only a few years ago, you would have told your friends you were thinking of getting a "digital camera", but now you just call it a camera. I bet it really frosts the old timers who now have to listen to everyone say "film camera" to describe the old obsolete technology.

Here's a Three Stooges short on FaceTube in which they play ice men, making a delivery to a house on a very tall hill on a very hot day. This short didn't make sense to me when I was a kid, until my mom explained to me that people used to need giant blocks of ice for daily life. What's funny to me now is that the horse reads the sign to determine they're at the right address, and wakes up the Stooges to get to work. Interestingly, this short was released in 1941, the same year as this ad. I guess there were still enough ice boxes around that the story of the film still worked... or at least worked well enough for a Stooges short.

Anyway, this ad takes up back to the time when the fridge was the center of family life. When you came home on a hot day, you'd open the fridge and let it cool the house, and everyone would hang out in the kitchen, gradually eating all the food you own because it's 1941 and there's nothing else to do but have wars.

Here we see a hand-ful of teen-agers having a bull-session in front of the elec-tric refrigerator. Mary holds a cafeteria tray full of pudding while everyone finishes all the milk and brown squares (or as we used to call them, "squarebrowns").

Blayne loves the way Mary's Mom makes squarebrowns, but he's just plowing through them, eager to try the pudding that Mary is holding in front of those curious lumps in her sweater. Is there pudding in there, too? Yes and no, Blayne!

Redshirt Rob (as his friends call him) just eats whatever is put in his mouth. He's just staring at Mary's legs, wondering what holds them together at the top. Easy there, Rob! There's plenty of time to find out after you're drafted and shot down over France! He'll also find out that the French have a funny word for gonorrhea. They just call it "le sexe".

Hey! What's Judith up to? Is she stealing something from the bread-box? No, she's tuning the radio. Keeping an analog radio on one station  was like balancing a plate on a pencil - constant attention. It was worth it, because in 1941, radio was still relevant and listenable. Radio networks wouldn't be programmed for twelve-year-olds by hyperactive ferrets for another fifty years, so Judith better keep her knob-hand limber! I'll help her steal some of the boys' attention back from Mary. And if the radio doesn't do it, there's always the G.E.'s Butter Conditioner that keeps table butter just right for spreading.

Big? Click.


Steve Miller said...

Damn teenagers, always buzzing around the kitchen, lettin' all the cold outta the fridge. That needle-nose guy just demands the attention of a very large fly-swatter.

BTW, there were gas-powered refrigerators. (I think the manual transmissions killed 'em. Too hard to hold 'em on hills.)

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Yes, gas-powered fridges. I am hip to that jive, my man.

In the seventies, the kid up the street had one of those little Cox gas-powered model fridges that flew around in a circle attached to a string. I really wanted one, but my folks said they were too dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Ha! - He said "Knob-Hand".....

Anonymous 2

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