3.01-2: American Injector 1930 Second Generation Expansion Valve

HHCC Accession No. 2006.044HHCC Classification Code: 3.01-2

An early, second generation, compact, spring compensated, adjustable, automatic expansion valve with solid, cast brass body, built-in inlet filter screen, original moisture protection cap in natural rubber, engineered for noxious sulphur dioxide, then the low pressure refrigerant of choice, Model M, American Injector, circa 1930.

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3.01 Refrigerant Flow Controls - Household


American Injector


American Injector Co., Detroit



Serial No.:

4 x 2 x 5 in. h


14 oz.




Exhibit, education, and research quality, illustrating the engineering design, construction, and operating principles, of second generation, automatic expansion valves used for the metering refrigerant flow into cooling units used in mechanically cooled household refrigerators in Canada.

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.

Original tag in the hand writing of Howard Oliver ‘

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, industrial and consumer technology.

Type and Design:

Automatic spring compensated Pressure actuated


Cast brass body

Special Features:

Adjustment screw capped with original cap in natural rubber Liquid line inlet screen

Performance Characteristics:
Control and Regulation:
Targeted Market Segment:
Consumer Acceptance:
Market Price:
Technological Significance:

An example of the new generation of compact, more precisely engineered and performing expansion valves emerging early in the 1930’s, used to maintain cooling units [evaporators], in mechanically cooled refrigerators, at the desired refrigerant pressure. Dramatises the major gains made by the industry over a period of less than 5 years, during a period of feverish research and development using the scant knowledge and experience available to workers in the field at the time, compare ID # 165 to 168

  • This artifact of history tells the many stories of early adoption of this particular fluid flow technology, the automatic expansion valve. After a brief flurry of excitement over the use of more costly and delicate float operated devices, as a more efficient means of flow control, industry engineers would return to the automatic expansion valve in the early 30’s. But by then the automatic expansion valve would be a smaller and much more precisely calibrated and efficient device. While the automatic expansion valve was less efficient in its effective use of evaporator surface than high and low side float systems [See HHCC Series 3.01 artifacts], it had the advantage of reliability and price, as well as serviceability.
Industrial Significance:

The engineering sophistication and advancements in manufacturing, assembly and materials utilization, represented here, in contrast to ID # 1655-168 stands as a remarkable industry achievement. Not untypical of the times, the American Injector Company stands as an early innovator in the field of refrigerant flow controls without a sustained history in the industry. A current search of the WWW reveals no such name, possibly long since evolved into another corporate identity.

Socio-economic Significance:
Socio-cultural Significance:

The socio-cultural significance of the impact of the unobtrusive, automatic expansion valve on life in Canada, throughout the early part of the 20th century, would be hard to over-estimate. It would become the quintessential, automated refrigerant flow regulating device used in homes, farms and commercial refrigeration applications across the country, giving way to other flow control devices, including thermostatic expansion valves and capillary lines, as the century progressed. It was a period in which machinery in the home was often not at all welcome, being viewed with the suspicion that comes with novelty. Machinery belonged on the farm and on the factory floor, but not in the Canadian home. Here it was considered noisy and hazardous, a potential threat to personal and private property. The mere notion of a self regulating, mechanical device that could be trusted to stop and start and self regulate itself reliably, over long periods of time was simply not part of popular experience of Canadians of the time. Thus, in addition to the immense array technical problems which remained to resolved, there was an equally large array of socio- cultural challenges to be over come by manufactures in convincing their public to be early adopters of refrigeration technology in the home - in the face of massive mistrust and apprehension. Conversely, for those that were in a financial postion of enjoying the many benefits of the technology, there were multiple factors tending to attract advocates. Included were: the human need to be seen as an early, recognized leader in adoption, the need for socio-economic status in the community, as well as the allure of new taste sensations, a break with overwhelming, desperate boredom of the daily dietary offerings of the period.


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

HHCC Storage Location:
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