A Cool Classic


One of the most satisfying things I’ve done recently is repair our old fridge. I was particularly pleased afterwards when Dan told me he didn’t think I’d be able to fix it. He was delighted when I showed him it is working again.


The fridge is a General Electric ‘Combination’ dating from the 1950s.


It’s a classic and comes complete with freezer compartment,


automatic butter conditioner,


and rotating aluminium shelves…


that never fail to delight.


The fridge came from Dan’s parents’ garage. It was moved there from Dan’s grandparents’ house in 1959. It is the one item I told Dan I wished we could have when his parents house was sold. It now resides in our basement and is our backup fridge. We use it to store drinks, paint brushes and rollers…


and anything else that won’t fit in the kitchen fridge.


Sometime last year, amidst all The Destruction, the fridge stopped working. It was very disheartening — and one more thing to attend to.

I contacted a local repair company that repairs fridges of all ages. They sent a couple of guys around who soon diagnosed the problem — a broken thermostat.


One of the guys told me that parts for our model were no longer available. He took photos of the model number and thermostat, and said he would have someone in their office search for a compatible thermostat. He also cautioned that, if they did find an alternative thermostat, we probably wouldn’t be able to retain the original control knob. I was told to expect a call “next Wednesday,” but never heard from them again. I wasn’t too bothered. I sensed that these guys were not the right ones for the job, but I was happy to have their diagnosis.

Months passed and the Combination gathered a layer of construction dust. Then a few weeks ago, while cleaning the basement, I had to acknowledge that a non-working fridge is useless to have around — even if it is a classic. This realization spurred me into action and online research led me to AntiqueAppliances.com. I knew I was looking in the right place as soon as I saw this image on their homepage:


I soon found a generic thermostat with a description saying it can be used with different makes of refrigerator. And, here’s the best bit, it comes with “a variety of shaft adapters, so you can reuse your original thermostat knob.” Bingo! I thought. Even though I had no idea what a shaft adapter is, I suddenly felt sure that I needed one.


The replacement thermostat arrived a few days later and, with the help of an accompanying instruction sheet,


I rigged it up and was able to retain the original knob.


With fingers crossed I turned on the power and was delighted to hear the motor purr into action.


After a thorough clean the Combination is looking as cool as ever and once again is a source of delight every time we pull open the door.


live. enjoy. repeat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *