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Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Evaporators – Household

The technological significance of the evaporator in a mechanical refrigeration system lies in its ability to evaporate liquid refrigerant (allowing it to absorb latent heat and thus perform useful cooling). In the public mind, however, the useful work was more simply that of cooling. This lead astute manufactures to popularise the use of the term “cooling unit” in place of evaporator. It was the term adopted by the industry in the early years, as it attempted to connect with the human experience of the times to better promote its wares, gaining market share in the embryonic years of Canada’s emerging consumer society. (See examples in early sale literature from the Kelvinator Co. of Canada)
Human experience and the social culture of the 1920’s also associated useful cooling with the melting of ice. Historically manufactures successfully played to this sense of public understanding by further marketing cooling units as icemakers. By this means they appealed to wide spread cultural understandings of how things got cooled, through the controlled melting of ice (the popular Canadian icebox of the 1920’s and 30’s). In a peculiar twist, it was often the job of the refrigeration sales or service man to explain to the homemaker that it was not really the ice in the ice cube trays that cooled the refrigerator, but the motor and compressor underneath.
In the 1920’s manufactures of mechanical refrigerators for the home appealed to the consumer public by promoting ice and ice cream as the new consumables, the new food sensations available for all those sufficiently affluent to enjoy the experience. Promotional literature focused on the pleasant sensation of ice cold beverages and on ice cream making at home – using the latest cooling unit. A recipe and food life style book came with the refrigerator for the edification and instruction of the homemaker (See examples in early sale literature from the Kelvinator Co. of Canada). Ice and ice cream making in the home was, in fact, one of the significant, new “Gee whiz”, household technologies of the times.
This specimen is an early example of the genre, engineered by Kelvinator for use in one of its household cabinet refrigerators. Trouble prone, the flooded evaporator with low-side float would be would quickly be replaced, however, with less expensive and more trouble free evaporator technology well within the decade.

Industrial Significance:
With complex, demanding construction, the evaporator would make many demands on manufacturing and materials engineering in Ontario in the early years of the 20th century.

Accession # HHCC.2003.011

Two tray, ice maker evaporator with low-side float, Cooling Unit for Household Cabinet Refrigerator, Kelvinator,1930.

ItemTwo tray evaporator ‘CT31X’ManufacturerKelvinator of CanadaMakeKelvinatorModelCT31XShare
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