Days Gone Bite: Olive Green Refrigerators

If you wish to research the history of in-home refrigeration, you can find out about the ice houses of past centuries, how Michael Faraday developed the process of cooling with liquid ammonia, Jacob Perkins and his work in the area of vapor compression--blah, blah, blah.

Refrigerators changed the way we live, freeing people from daily treks for milk or other perishable goods. Patented just before the outbreak of the century's first big war, they were in most American homes by the start of the second. Yet none of this is as memorable--some would say as unfortunate--as the pastel craze of the 1970s.

That's right, you could buy a fridge in pale yellow, a soft red and (my favorite), drab olive.

These things were boxier than the streamlined versions popular in the 1950s. The one we bought was "frost-free," yet they were designed with little concern for efficiency, using four times more energy than today's ice boxes. But they were accessories.

Yes, they complemented shag carpeting.

I can't remember if our fridge came with an ice maker. Probably did, since it was a sporty model (the handles decorated with stickers carrying a wood-grain pattern).

Like everything else from that era--hairstyles, polyester, pet rocks and Leo Sayer--these colorful fridges just stir mocking comments today. Someone even claimed in an online rant that their house wouldn't sell because of that dated green block in their kitchen.

Oh, well. When I think back to Christmases past, that thing is always there--being opening constantly, probably releasing dangerous chemical compounds into the room. But it looked cool.

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