2.02-2: Frigidaire 1926 Three Tray, Ice Maker Evaporator

HHCC Accession No. 2003.022HHCC Classification Code: 2.02-2

Three tray, ice maker evaporator with low-side float, using an early form of modular design and construction, made in tinned copper tube and brake formed copper sheet. Cooling unit and icemaker for small commercial cabinet refrigerator, Frigidaire, 1926


2.02 Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Evaporators - Commercial




Frigidaire Division, General Motors Corp.,Dayton Ohio


Marked 25 ‘ MT

Serial No.:

9 1/2x 12x 15’h


24 lbs

  1. (Frigidaire Manual SER-405, shows product as discontinued in 1928)

Exhibit, demonstration, education and research quality

Patent Date/Number:

From York County (York Region) Ontario, once a rich agricultural hinterlands, attracting early settlement in the last years of the 18th century. Located on the north slopes of the Oak Ridges Moraine, within 20 miles of Toronto, the County would also attract early ex-urban development, to be come a wealthy market place for the emerging household and consumer technologies of the early and mid 20th century.

This artifact was discovered in the 1950’s in the used stock of T. H. Oliver, Refrigeration and Electric Sales and Service, Aurora, Ontario, an early worker in the field of agricultural, commercial and consumer technology.

Type and Design:

Flooded evaporator with low-side float in tinned copper tube and brake formed copper sheet


Constructed in tinned, heavy copper plate, with 5’ dia., 14 inch, brass float chamber, with brass, flange mounted float assembly, calibrated for S02 refrigerant; 5 pass, 1/2’ copper distributing tubes, without side box fin.

Special Features:

Of special interest is the ‘building block’ construction design technique adopted here. An early example of modular construction concept, the design allows additional ice cube tray slide in boxes to be added for constructing larger capacity cooling units (See items 023,024, 025). By the use of modular construction it was possible to ‘grow an ice maker evaporator, and that is exactly what was done ‘ as items 023, 024, and 025 demonstrate. Considerable economy in manufacture and assembly was possible, with predictable performance.

Note the attention to the design of the lower tray box, constructed to be used as a deep drawer or for bulk frozen food, it would double as a 2 tray ice cube maker by sliding in a metal divider shelf


: Equipped with 2 heavy gauge, brake formed ice cube trays in tinned copper sheet, one deep and one shallow, with chrome plated front plates and pulls, now pitted showing the corrosive effects of sulphur dioxide over the years . One heavy, tinned copper, removable, 18 ice cube grid.


Frigidaire’s manual SER-45, P. 25, suggests such evaporators were rated at about 10 lbs of ice per freezing and required about 5 ‘ lbs of SO2 refrigerant to flood the evaporator, sufficient to clear the household and the neighbourhood, if a serious leak occurred

Performance Characteristics:
Control and Regulation:

Liquid refrigerant float operated metering device

Targeted Market Segment:

Small commercial food stores, large private estate and institutional use

Consumer Acceptance:
Market Price:
Technological Significance:

See background notes on technological significance of early mechanical cooling units (evaporator), THOC-HVACR inventory item 011.

This specimen is representative of the proliferation of models and sizes of low-side float operated evaporators of the period, largely by Kelvinator and Figidaire, as they attempted to stretch this making technology to its limit. Dinosaur like, costly, complicated and trouble prone by comparison with the evaporator technologies that would shortly follow, this genre would largely disappear from manufacture’s catalogues by the early 1930’s, although would be operational in the field until after WWII.

To contrast the weight, size, seeming complexity, as well as materials and manufacturing costs with the technology reflected in inventory items 015 to 021 is instructive. The classic process of progressive simplification in technological innovation and change is well exemplified.

Industrial Significance:

With complex, demanding construction, the evaporator would make many demands on manufacturing and materials engineering in the early years of the 20th century.

Socio-economic Significance:
Socio-cultural Significance:

G. Leslie Oliver, The T. H. Oliver HVACR Collection

HHCC Storage Location:
Bibliographic References:

Frigidaire Installation and service manual SER-45


Related posts