4.01-4: Universal Cooler 1936 Medium Speed, Condensing Unit

HHCC Accession No. 2003.032HHCC Classification Code: 4.01-4

A smoothly designed mid 1930’s, coil spring mounted medium speed, condensing unit with belt driven, single cylinder, reciprocating compressor, copper tube and finned, single pass air cooled condenser with 3 lb refrigerant receiver, with 1/6th HP electric motor, and a new generation of quiet 3 blade cloverleaf fan. The machine by Universal Refrigeration, demonstrates their special contribution to the design and production of refrigerating machines in Canada, in what was quickly becoming an increasingly competitive market segment, Universal Cooler Brantford Ontario, 1936.


4.01 Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Condensing Units - Household


Universal Cooler


Universal Cooler, Brantford Ontario



Serial No.:



20x 15x 12’ h


75 lbs.




Exhibit, education, and research quality demonstrating the breadth of design and manufacturing options being explored by Canadian refrigeration manufacturers by the mid 1930’s

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, industrial and consumer technology.

Type and Design:
Special Features:

This refrigerating machine is equipped with a new style, for the period of condensing air cooling fan. The clover life design evoved as a quieter more efficient blade than the simpler straight cut propeller type of an earlier generation of condensing units in Canada.

Whether this blade was original or installed, as part of a subsequent up-grade is unknown. Air noise in the family kitchen was an on-going irritation and refrigeration mechanics would do what they could to minimise it, in the interests of good customer relations and product satisfaction

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

One of an early breed of Canadian made condensing units [along with Kelvinator of Canada] moving from the use of highly noxious SO2 to methyl chloride, heralding the massive swing to the chlorinated hydrocarbon refrigerants by the end of the decade (F12).

Industrial Significance:

Demonstrates the craftsmanship, manufacturing methods and breadth of design and manufacturing options being explored by Canadian refrigeration manufacturers by the mid 1930’s

Western Ontario was fast becoming the heartland and Mecca for refrigeration design and manufacturing in Canada.

Socio-economic Significance:
Socio-cultural Significance:

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

HHCC Storage Location:
Bibliographic References:

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