The Monitor Top Fridge is the most easily identified vintage refrigerator because of its unique top. It was named “Monitor Top” after the resemblance of its top to the turret on the ironclad Civil War warship, the USS Monitor. GE manufactured the Monitor Top Fridge from 1927 to 1936. It was finally replaced when GE released the “Flat Top” model fridge in 1937.
Priced at $300, these were considered the first affordable refrigerators for the typical American family. GE made it possible to make monthly payments of $10 a month, which was conveniently added on to the family’s utility bill. These were not the first household fridges, but they were the first to be sold in such great numbers.
Small changes were made through the years of its production, such as the condenser coils being enclosed and the addition of slide out shelves. But the basic design of the Monitor Top stayed pretty much the same for the nine years it was made. Cooling was accomplished with the use of either sulfur dioxide or methyl formate. It was the first fridge to come with an all-steel cabinet. The Monitor Top was available as a one-, two- or three-door fridge. The single-door fridge was the model most widely used in private homes, and provided 5 to 7 cubic feet of storage.
The Monitor Top is believed by many to be the best and most reliable fridge ever manufactured. As a matter of fact, many of them are still in use in homes today, like this model unit that we restored for a customer. This model is a 1929 or 1930 Monitor Top that was restored and finished with vintage ads for Frostie Root Beer, Squirt Soda and Kayo Chocolate Drink. (Please note we are no longer in the restoration business.)
Dimensions: 64”H x 24”W x 21½”D
This item is not for sale. We show restored items in this blog to encourage discussion, prompt questions and further the hobby of collecting and restoration. We also enjoy sharing the photos of the many items we have restored over the years.