4.02-5: Kelvinator 1948 Condensing Unit

HHCC Accession No. 2003.044HHCC Classification Code: 4.02-5

With the availability of chlorinated hydrocarbon refrigerants, in the post WWII years, the demand quickly developed for larger and larger low-pressure refrigeration machines, as an alternative to ammonia systems, in this HP range. This 2 HP, water cooled, open-system machine by Kelvinator is a fine example of the genre. Like #042, and #043, it would come to be seen as part of the Kelvinator of Canada legacy of its mature corporate years in Canada, Kelvinator circa 1948.


4.02 Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Condensing Units - Commercial




Kelvinator of Canada


Part No. 07285

Serial No.:



33x 24x 22’h


250 lbs




Exhibit, education, and research quality demonstrating best Canadian practice in the design and development of low pressure, integral horse power, open-system refrigeration machines of the period

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:

Tube-in-tube water cooled condenser. 1 ‘ HP 25 cycle Wagner electric single phase type RA motor with original motor warranty Heavy rubber vibration insulators Smoothly streamlined modern frame construction Copland 2 cyl, V belt driven compressor

Performance Characteristics:
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Industrial Significance:

Somewhat paradoxically, while the market for larger and larger low-pressure refrigeration machines grew, well beyond the expectations of many after WWII, the diversity of equipment feeding the market diminished

It was a period of increasing competitive pressure for manufacturers, with more of them bargaining for a slice of the market. Equipment development costs were also increasing due, among other things, to increased performance expectations, reliability and the life expectancy of systems.

Manufacturers moved into areas of specialisation and new partnerships were established, as exemplified here by Kelvinator’s use of Copland compressors. Kelvinator had by now dropped out of the manufacture large compressors, although their efforts in earlier years were impressive ( see section 5.02)

Socio-economic Significance:
Socio-cultural Significance:

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

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