March 23, 1942 Life
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early
technology. See articles from Life,
published 1883-1972 . All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Servel is not a name that immediately comes to mind (and probably not at all)
when thinking of companies who manufactured refrigerators or any other household
appliances. However, they were rather prominent in the in the early 1940's when
this "Wartime Message" appeared in a 1942 issue of Life magazine. So, too,
was Crosley, a name which lives on today, and they still make refrigerators (at
one time manufactured
by Westinghouse). Unique about Servel refrigerators was that they operated off of
natural gas. It might seem strange that a cooling - even freezing - process can
be accomplished via a flame, but such is the case. In fact, Melanie's parents
had a gas−powered refrigerator and a
gas−powered chest freezer at their house on a mountaintop in West Virginia,
where they got free natural gas from a well a gas company operated from their
property. But I digress... The motivation for posting this piece is that Servel
was one of hundreds of American companies that spent some of their hard-earned
their advertising money to promote the sacrificial efforts of fellow
citizens (many of whom were former employees or relatives of current employees).
It was a time when major companies were owned and run entirely by patriotic
Servel, Inc. Wartime Message
Colonel William McCurdy Jr. was a businessman and the founder of the National
Electric Products Company, which later became known as the Servel Corporation. The
company was known for producing a variety of electrical appliances, including refrigerators.
The Servel refrigerator was one of the company's most successful products, and
it was known for its innovative use of natural gas as a coolant. This allowed the
refrigerator to operate without electricity, making it popular in areas where electrical
service was not yet available.
The slogan "Serving Electricity" was used by Servel as a way to promote its products
and highlight the company's commitment to providing reliable and efficient electrical
appliances. It was a clever play on words, as the Servel refrigerator was actually
powered by natural gas, not electricity.
Today, the Servel Corporation is part of the Dometic Group, a global manufacturer
of a wide range of products for the RV, marine, and hospitality industries. However,
the Servel refrigerator continues to be remembered as an important innovation in
the history of electrical appliances.
A Wartime Message to the 2,000,000 owners
of Servel Gas Refrigerators
On April 30th, the last refrigerator for normal civilian use will have rolled
off the lines at Servel - and at every other refrigerator plant in America.
From that day - and until victory is won - every resource and facility of this
industry not already devoted to war production will be geared to all-out manufacture
of these vital materials.
Because automatic refrigerators have come to play such an important part in the
lives of most families, it is natural that this change-over may raise some questions
in people's minds. "Will my present one last?" "Suppose it doesn't?" "Can I still
You, as a Servel owner, are familiar with the qualities of the Gas Refrigerator.
You remember your reasons for buying it. You can be assured, therefore, of this:
Your refrigerator is not likely to need repairs.
There are no moving parts in its freezing system. No moving parts means nothing
to wear or cause noise. It means long life.
Besides, the order stopping the manufacture of refrigerators will not reduce
or impair facilities for inspection and service. Servel will continue to cooperate
with Gas Utilities, Distributors and Dealers in servicing Servel Refrigerators.
You can feel confident that your refrigerator will continue to operate - will continue
to provide you and your family with safe food protection and ice cubes.
Today, Gas Companies are also serving you another way. Their home economists
are working hand-in-glove with the government on the National Nutrition Program.
They'll show you how to feed your family better and more economically. Give you
latest information on foods that keep you fit.
Looking beyond today, no one can say for sure what refrigerators are going to
be like when peace returns. No one knows. But this is certain - that there will
be refrigerators - that we'll be making them (and who knows what other modern appliances!)
- and that they'll be finer than ever.
Makers of the Refrigerator That '''Stays Silent ... Lasts Longer"
A gas-powered refrigerator, also known as an absorption refrigerator, works on
the principle of using heat to drive a cooling cycle. The basic components of a
gas-powered refrigerator are a heat source, a refrigerant, and an absorber.
The heat source is usually a propane flame or an electric heating element. The
heat from the source is used to boil a refrigerant, typically ammonia, which turns
into a gas and rises to the top of the system.
The refrigerant gas then enters the condenser, which is located outside the refrigerator
and dissipates the heat, causing the refrigerant to condense back into a liquid.
The liquid refrigerant then flows into an evaporator inside the refrigerator,
where it absorbs heat from the interior, causing it to evaporate back into a gas.
The refrigerant gas then flows into an absorber, which contains a solution of
water and another chemical, usually lithium bromide. The refrigerant is absorbed
into the solution, which generates heat that is removed through a radiator or cooling
Once the refrigerant is absorbed, the cycle starts again. The gas-powered refrigerator
operates continuously as long as there is heat applied to the system.
Gas-powered refrigerators are often used in recreational vehicles, cabins, and
other off-grid locations where there is no access to electricity. They are also
used in some industrial and commercial applications.
Crosley Corporation is a brand that has been licensed and manufactured by different
companies over the years. One of the companies that manufactured Crosley refrigerators
in the past was Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
Westinghouse was a major American manufacturer of home appliances, electronics,
and other products in the 20th century. In the 1930s, Westinghouse began manufacturing
refrigerators under the Crosley brand name, which had been purchased by the company.
The Crosley refrigerators manufactured by Westinghouse were known for their innovative
features, such as the "Hydrator," a compartment that maintained the right level
of humidity for storing fruits and vegetables. Westinghouse also introduced the
first frost-free refrigerator in the 1950s.
However, in the 1960s, Westinghouse began to focus more on its own brand of refrigerators
and phased out the Crosley brand. Today, Crosley refrigerators are manufactured
by other companies, such as the Turkish company Vestel. Nonetheless, the Crosley
brand still carries a legacy of vintage style and innovative design that continues
to be popular among consumers.
Crosley offers several styles of refrigerators, including French door, side-by-side,
and top freezer models. They come in various sizes and colors to suit different
kitchen spaces and styles.
Some of the features available on Crosley refrigerators include adjustable shelves,
spill-proof glass shelves, humidity-controlled crisper drawers, LED lighting, and
ice makers. Some models also come with a water dispenser.
Crosley refrigerators are designed to be energy-efficient, with many models having
received Energy Star certification. They also come with a warranty that covers parts
and labor for a certain period of time.
Posted February 27, 2023