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Grapette Progress A1 Picnic Cooler

April 12th, 2010 · 2 Comments

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Grapette Soda Bottle Cooler

This 1950s picnic cooler was manufactured by the Progress Refrigerator Company of Louisville, Kentucky. It was produced for the Grapette Company, makers of Grapette Grape soda in Camden, Arkansas. Grapette Soda was first created in 1939 and is still being made today.

This picnic cooler has an enameled steel exterior and a galvanized liner. It would have had a sandwich tray originally, but it’s had to find one of these with the tray. Progress also manufactured the A1 cooler for the makers of Squirt, Canada Dry, Royal Crown, 7 Up, Dr. Pepper and Barq’s. The cooler has two handles that lock together for carrying and a bottle opener mounted on the side. A drainage spout is positioned on the front to drain off the water after the ice has melted. This cooler could hold up to 24 bottles, in addition to storing food on the sandwich tray above.

1950s Progress A1 Grapette Picnic Cooler

Dimensions: 19”L x 13”W x 19”H
Weight: 33 lbs.
Produced: Late 1940s to 1950s

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.

Tags: Soda Coolers

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marc DeBrey // Jul 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Hi, I have a couple of questions regarding restoration of the Progress A1 coolers. I have purchased two of the Progress Coca-Cola coolers and am currently restoring them. I would greatly appreciate any insights you could provide.

    1) During the restoration process, did you remove the inside liner? There are a few dents on mine and dealing with them would seem to be easiest from the inside of the sheet metal, which I can’t get to because the liner is in the way. I’m just nervous about removing the liner as I don’t know if I’ll be able to re-bend the lip over the body neatly when it is reinstalled.

    2) Given that the sheet metal is fairly thin, what is the best way to remove dents? I’m planning on using body hammers and dollies. Is there an easier, better way?

    3) Were the metal corner covers made of aluminum and did they usually fit snugly against the cooler body, or was there sometimes a gap between the cooler body and the corner cover. Mine appear to be aluminium and I just want to confirm that they are original. Also, they seem to ride about 1/8 inch higher than the cooler body.

    Thank you for your help!

  • 2 Matthew // Apr 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Hi, did the progress company make all of the picnic coolers steel or what type of metal?

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All Images are the Property of and Copyrighted to Vintage Vending Inc.