8.01-1: 1937 Various Compressor Parts

HHCC Accession No. 2003.071HHCC Classification Code: 8.01-1

An assembly of historic, open system, reciprocating, refrigeration compressor parts, for cabinet, household refrigerators, many in their original cartons. Including refrigerant shaft seals, demonstrating what they are; what they do; and how they worked in keeping noxious refrigerants in the refrigeration system and out of the Canadian kitchen of the 1920’s and 30’s, Various manufacturers, circa 1937- See Notes

[For additional compressor parts see also items 8.02-1, 8.02-2 and 8.02-3]


8.01 Other Refrigerating and Air conditioning Components and Parts ‘ Household


Various makes


Various manufacturers, including Kelvinator, Frigidaire, Chicago, and Rotary


Various models

Serial No.:

15 lbs.




Exhibit, education, and research quality, demonstrating the workings parts of reciprocating, refrigeration compressors of the 1920’s and 30’s, what they are; what they do; and how they worked in keeping noxious refrigerants in the refrigeration system and out of the Canadian kitchen of the 1920’s and 30’s. Also provides for the restoration and rehabilitation of historic compressors

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 become a wealthy market place for the emerging household and consumer technologies of the early and mid 20th century.

This artefact 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:
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G. Leslie Oliver, The T. H. Oliver HVACR Collection

HHCC Storage Location:

8.01-1-18 used in CMX06, Masters Fun Challenge, see catalogue

Bibliographic References:

Contents ‘ domestic, cabinet refrigerator compressor parts:

8.01-1 ‘ 1 Chicago # 345 8.01-1 ‘ 2 Chicago # 168 8.01-1 ‘ 3 Chicago # 219 8.01-1 ‘ 4 Chicago # 108 8.01-1 - 5 Rotary # 3266 8.01-1 - 6 Rotary # 3280 Universal Cooler, Mohawk, Absopare 8.01-1 ‘ 7 Rotary # IGL00 8.01-1 ‘ 8 Rotary # 3266 Gibson, Frigomatic 8.01-1 ‘ 9 Rotary # 4227 8.01-1 ‘ 10 Rotary # 1115 Kelvinator, Frigidaire [carton only] 8.01-1 ‘ 11 Rotary [marked Chiefton used] 8.01-1 ‘ 12 Rotary # 3227 [marked over 4227] Chieftian 8.01-1 ‘ 13 Kelvinator #22415 [carton only] 8.01-1 ‘ 14 Tecumseh K510-6 8.01-1 ‘ 15 Dunham Bush 8.01-1 ‘ 16 Misc. domestic refrigeration compressor seal seats and springs 8.01-1 ‘ 17 Misc. domestic refrigeration compressor seal bellows and plates 8.01-1 -18 Tecumseh valve plate 505-2

8.01-1-18 CMX06, Masters Fun Challenge, see catalogue, CMX06 Exhibit:

Item 8.01-1-12 Rotary seal 3227 [4227]

See Outline of Artifacts for CMX06, Addendum Masters’ Fun Challenge Doc # HVACR0601F, 060127 CMX06- 17: Item Description/Significance, Storyline, Date and Place of Origin:

A replacement shaft seal and 6 bolt retaining plate for Chieftain conventional, belt driven, refrigeration compressors, engineered for 21/32’ shaft size, all models beginning in 1937, as popularly found on water coolers cabinet refrigerators and other small commercial refrigeration applications.

The compressor shaft seal was possibly the most critical component in the refrigeration system of the 1920’s and 30’s, prior to the introduction of hermetic motor compressor technology.

A fragile ground bronze seat running against a ground steel shaft shoulder, with necessary shims, springs and rubber seals was all that kept several pounds of noxious sulphur dioxide out of the kitchens, food stores and restaurants of the nation. Even the slightest scratch across the seal seat would result in refrigerant leakage.

Notoriously fragile, unreliable, and short lived; their imminent break down represented a constant threat to public health and safety.

Seldom successfully repaired on the job, the replacement compressor shaft seal would quickly become a major ‘aftermarket’ for the refrigeration industry, with companies such as Rotary marketing several hundreds different replacement seal kits to fit the proliferation of compressor configurations in active use by the 1940’s

The engineering inventiveness and the extent of the aftermarket are exemplified by the myriad parents held by Rotary from 1914 through 1939 in countries across the globe, US, Canada, Great Britain, France, Australia, Netherlands, Mexico Brazil and other foreign countries

Model 4227, Rotary Seal Replacement Unit, Bronze, Rotary Seal Company, Chicago, Ill. Circa 1937

Insert Image ID# 071, 8.01-1-12

Item 8.01-1-18 Tecumseh valve plate 505-2

See Outline of Artifacts for CMX06, Addendum Masters’ Fun Challenge Doc # HVACR0601F, 060127 CMX06- 16: Item Description/Significance, Storyline, Date and Place of Origin:

Tecumseh valve plate with discharge and suction reed valves and head gaskets for ‘ HP, belt driven refrigeration compressor - single cylinder, 1 7/16 inch bore and 1 7/16 inch stroke with 2.33 cubic inch displacement.

Such belt driven ‘conventional’ refrigeration compressor of the early post W.W.II period would be the joy and pride of the industry. A significant engineering design achievement, and a marvel of post war metallurgy, precision manufacturer, they were able to operate at suction pressures down to 20 inches of mercury and at head pressures of 250 to 300 psi. They set a new standard for mid 20th century reliability, maintainability and long live - almost indestructible in normal use.

Tecumseh would become a leading manufacturer and supplier of open, belt driven, conventional compressors and condensing units to the refrigeration field in Canada.

By the early 1950’s, prior to their introduction of hermetically sealed motor compressors, the company would have over 2, 000,000 conventional compressors in service, in the ‘ to 15 HP range, sold to the trade through wholesalers and jobbers in Canada and the US

Tecumseh, valve plate Part No. 505-2, Circa 1950

Insert image ID #071 801-1-18, Tecumseh product cat. N554R ‘ 5M, P2.

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