Tag Archives: Leonard Refrigerator

More & More Leonard Refrigerators

Back to the Leonard story -

In 1914, Nathaniel B. Wales, a young inventor with the financial backing of Arnold Goss, then secretary of the Buick Automobile company, developed the first household mechanical refrigerators under the name “Electro-Automatic Refrigerating Company”

After producing a number of experimental models, Wales selected one for manufacturing. He then changed the company name to Kelvinator Company in honor of Lord Kelvin, the discoverer of “absolute zero” – the standard temperature basis for modern mechanical refrigeration.

To house the new electric refrigerator cooling device, Wales used the best cabinet on the market at the time – the Leonard refrigerator cabinet. By 1923, Kelvinator held 80% of the market for electric refrigerators. In 1926, Leonard merged with Kelvinator. Also in 1926, the company acquired Nizer, the largest builder of commercial ice cream cabinets marking its entry to the commercial refrigeration business.

I find it interesting that we see refrigerators, washing machines and ranges that are obviously made after 1926 with the Leonard name (rather than Kelvinator). Looks like, the Leonard brand of appliances continued to be sold exclusively through Leonard dealers, as well as through Canadian and English dealers.

art deco styled 1938? (looks older to me leonard)

leonard side by side

pink leonard


The Leonard Cleanable Refrigerator

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The story goes – (from Wikipedia and www.jitterbuzz.com) – “The famous Leonard “Cleanable” Refrigerator came about after a mishap in the Leonard home: a pail of hot cooling lard was left inside an ice box on top of a cake of ice, resulting in melted ice, a spilled pail and cooled lard spilled all over.”

Charles created his refrigerator with removable liners and flues. In 1885, Leonard introduced metal shelves and improved the door-locking mechanisms. 1907 saw the introduction of porcelain lined interiors, which further enhanced the cleanability and sanitation of refrigerators.

The refrigerator cabinets were made of highly varnished carved-oak, brass fixtures, and enhanced with mirrors.

In 1923, Leonard sold 8 models for the home. They claimed “one out of every 7 refrigerators sold are made by Leonard”. The price ranged from $35.00 to the $170.00 model which was porcelain clad with an ice capacity of 100 pounds.


Here’s picture from www.jitterbuzz.com of the Leonard Booth at an Appliance Convention in the late 20’s or early 30’s.


Coming Soon – The Leonard Refrigerator

Here on wordpress, I get to see how people find the blog. They search for all kind of appliances, parts, design ideas and who-knows-what-else.

Every day they search Leonard Refrigerator. This week I’ll take a serious look at “The Leonard”.

Let’s take a look at why is this particular brand is so popular? Where’d it start? And all the who, what’s, where and when’s?

Let’s call it “Exploring the Leonard”.


Vintage appliances just keep running

Leonard side x  sideBob Karlovits wrote in his article for the Pittsburgh Tribune -Review – “Old appliances are like friends who have been around for a long time.

Sometimes they are dependable and reliable. Other times they are sitting around long after it was time to go. But most times, they have earned a spot for which there is no replacement.” Read more Vintage appliances just keep running – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Look at the old Leonard Side X Side in the photo above. A beauty!

Here’s a brief look at the history of “Leonard ” – Kelvinator began in 1881 as The Leonard Refrigerator Company. The company grew to be a leader in wooden icebox cabinets and in 1914 developed its first household mechanical refrigerators under the name of the Electro-Automatic Refrigerating Company.

In 1918, it introduced the first refrigerator with any type of automatic control. In 1920 their production numbers went from two dozen to more than two hundred. Compressors were generally driven by belts attached to motors located in the basement or in an adjoining room. The company changed its name to Kelvinator soon after (to protect the cold as well as the innocent), and by 1923 held 80% of the market for electric refrigerators.

What a dream! I’d build a kitchen around it. I’d be keeping it forever!


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