7.02-6: Frigidaire 1938 Automatic Temperature Control

HHCC Accession No. 2006.037HHCC Classification Code: 7.02-6

Hydraulic bellows actuated, automatic refrigeration cabinet temperature control for mid 20th century, commercial refrigeration appliances, with user friendly temperature adjustment control knob, extended capillary line temperature sensor and new generation thermal motor overload protection with manual reset, in attractive gloss black Bakelite enclosure, Frigidaire, Circa 1938

Image Gallery (2 Images)

7.02 Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Pressure and Temperature Controls - Commercial




Frigidaire, Div of General Motors Corp, Dayton Ohio.


Model T00, Type YD

Serial No.:

Part No.H22045


3 x 3x 5in h, plus capillary lie


2 lbs.




Exhibition, education, and research quality, illustrating the design, engineering and construction of an early, mid 20th century, sophisticated, refrigeration cabinet temperature control, with motor over load protector.

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:

Snap action switching, permanent U magnet assisted Replaceable overload heaters with rating chart


Gloss black Bakelite case with pressed steel base

Special Features:

Gloss black Bakelite temperature control knob, user friendly, calibrated 0-5, warm and cold Original cable connector demonstrating installation trade practices of the times Original motor overload heater selection table. Tightly coiled, extendable capillary line, with 4in. bulb


‘ hp, 110/220 volts

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

An extended capillary tube temperature control standing a quintessential product of the engineering designer’s and manufacture’s art form of the mid 1930’s. To understand the nature and scope of the advances made by the industry, in matters of engineering design, performance precision, materials applications and utilization, as well as manufacturing and production prowess, it must be contrasted with the technology offered by the industry a decade or so earlier [See ID # 157-160]
The device demonstrates the growing interest by equipment manufacturers of the time in producing increasingly, visually attractive, as well as increasingly functional and efficient product lines. The era of the industrial designer was close at hand. [for comparison , see for example ID # 157 to 160] The appearance of such automated controllers, made possible by a new generation of engineering precision and know-how, as well by new industrial mass production methods, was a response to, as well as a driver of, an astonishingly broad range of new refrigerated appliances to be found on main street Canada. Included were: ice cream cabinets, water coolers, small food merchandisers, reach-in and packaged walk-in coolers, and packaged, self contained air conditioners. Frigidaire’s and Kelvinator’s product and service manuals of the late 1930’s and 40.s tell this remarkable story of sector achievement and profound market shifts.

Industrial Significance:

The artifact is symptomatic of the vast changes taking place in the manner in which the refrigeration and air conditioning industry was re-organizing itself, in order to take advantage of post-depression market expectations. The industrial giants of the period were eyeing the sector as a potentially expanding and profitable one. The General Motors Corp. would purchase Frigidaire, and with its engineering and capital reserves, quickly turn it in to a dominant player in the field, with a comprhensive product line which would dwarf other players in the industry . Frigidaire’s market profile was a remarkable one through to the 1960’s in the range of products produced, from controls of the variety shown here to stylish household cabinet refrigerators and commercial refrigerated appliances and large central station installations, employing low-pressure refrigerants of the period.

Socio-economic Significance:

see above

Socio-cultural Significance:

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

HHCC Storage Location:
Bibliographic References:

Frigidaire Master Parts and Price Catalogue, Ser-335-5M-3-46-(33; copy write 1927 to 1940, Frigdaire Div. General Motors Corp. Delco- Frigidaire Air Conditioning Manual, copy right 1938, General motors Sales Corp. Dayton Ohio

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