When GE introduced their Monitor Top refrigerator in 1927, it quickly became one of their most popular appliances. Sixteen years earlier, GE had introduced the first residential refrigerator in the American market. Invented by French monk, Abbé Marcel Audiffren, this cool mechanical miracle had a price tag of $1,000.

The new Monitor Top was much more affordable, and in the late 1920s, the “most affordable” model had a price tag of $205.

Pretty good value – even in 1929.

The design was ingenious:  The compressor (which became hot as it removed heat from the refrigerator’s interior) sat on top of the cabinet, so the heat naturally drifted up and away from the appliance.

The GE Monitor Top was made with good old American steel, and it was built to last. Eighty years after their original manufacture, these appliances still fetch a handsome price. Fully restored, a Monitor-Top Refrigerator can fetch $5,000 or more, and can live on indefinitely.

And where did the GE Monitor Top get its name? Any good Virginian should know the answer to this. It was named after the iron-clad Civil War ship, The Monitor.  (Remember the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac in Hampton Roads?)

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GE

The Monitor Top Fridge was a marvel to young and old alike, but nothing sells an appliance faster than cute little kids in jammies trying to claw their way into the all-steel cookie box.

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Ge ad

Not sure what the flashlight is about. (1929 Ladies' Home Journal)

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GE stuf

"Sealed in steel."

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GE price

Only $205 in 1929. Pretty amazing price for such a modern piece of equipment!

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In 1911, you could buy a new refrigerator for $1,000 or you could buy this house for $1,079

In 1911, you could buy a new refrigerator for $1,000 or you could buy this Sears kit house for $1,079. If you waited 16 years, you could afford the house *and* the fridge.

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The refrigeator must have seemed like the ultimate modern appliance after years of dealing with ice boxes.

The refrigerator must have seemed like the ultimate modern appliance after years of dealing with ice boxes. The "no poison" facet was a reference to the fact that "modern refrigerators" used ammonia or gas as a cooing agent and sometimes, those stories had real bad endings.

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