The GE Monitor Top came out in 1927 and was considered the first compact, affordable American refrigerator. When freon came in to play these basically became obsolete.
“The GE Monitor top refrigerator is perhaps the most recognized of vintage refrigerators. Built on the principal of a French industrialist concept for a hermetically sealed refrigeration system, the first models available to the general public, for residential use, were introduced in 1927. General Electric committed $18 million dollars to the manufacturing of these units and another million dollars to advertise them to the public.”read more at www.antiqueappliance.com
Great article from The Industrial Designers Society of America’s site
Cool pic from flickr friend chrisarchives from the Schenectady Museum. Christian Steenstrup With First GE Monitor-top Refrigerator
“Christian Steenstrup, of General Electric Refrigerator Engineering Department, photographed with first commercial sample of GE refrigerator in his home in Schenectady, New York. Steenstrup developed the Monitor-top, the first hermetically sealed steel refrigerator. A Danish immigrant, Steenstrup, as a young toolmaker at GE, helped develop GE’s employee suggestion system.”
Finally, a great little video from youtube.