|Division of Electrolux|
|Industry||Major appliances, Small appliances|
|Products||Clothes washers and dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, ranges, room air conditioners, dehumidifiers, microwaves ovens.|
Frigidaire is an American brand of consumer and commercial appliances. Frigidaire was founded as the Guardian Frigerator Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and developed the first self-contained refrigerator (invented by Nathaniel B. Wales and Alfred Mellowes) in 1916. In 1918, William C. Durant, a founder of General Motors, personally invested in the company and in 1919, it adopted the name Frigidaire. The brand was so well known in the refrigeration field in the early-to-mid-1900s that many Americans called any refrigerator (of whatever brand) a Frigidaire. The name Frigidaire or its antecedent Frigerator may be the origin of the widely-used U.S.-slang term fridge.
From 1919 to 1979, the company was owned by General Motors. During that period, it was first a subsidiary of Delco-Light and was later an independent division based in Dayton, Ohio. Frigidaire was sold to the White Sewing Machine Company in 1979, which in 1986 was purchased by Electrolux, its current parent.
While the company was owned by General Motors, its logo featured the phrase "Product of General Motors", and later renamed to "Home Environment Division of General Motors".
The company claims firsts including:
- Electric self-contained refrigerator (September, 1918 in Detroit)
- Home food freezer
- Room air conditioner
- 30" electric range
- Coordinated colors for home appliances
During the years that Frigidaire was owned by General Motors, it was very competitive in the automatic clothes-washing-machine business. Frigidaire engineer Kenneth Sisson, also credited with the design of the incrementing timer used on clothes washers and dishwashers for years to come, designed the Frigidaire automatic washer with the Unimatic mechanism in the late 1930s. Production of the first Frigidaire automatic clothes washers was halted due to World War II and therefore the machine was not formally introduced until 1947. The washing action of a Frigidaire automatic was unique in that the agitator pulsated up and down, a unique departure from the traditional oscillating type. The Frigidaire washers were commonly named for their mechanisms, which, in true General Motors fashion, underwent frequent changes over the years. The Unimatic was in production the longest, for any single Frigidaire mechanism, from 1947 to 1958. The Pulsamatic mechanism, unique in that it pulsated 330 times per minute, was introduced in 1955 for the lower-end models. This became the foundation for the Multimatic, introduced for the 1959 model year. The Multimatic lasted through 1964, as the Rollermatic was brought out for the 1965 lineup. The Rollermatic was unique in that instead of using an oil-filled gearcase, metal and urethane rollers transferred the power within the mechanism. This underwent a slight revision in 1970 for the new eighteen-pound capacity 1-18, which kept the same basic mechanism but differed in that it was belt-driven off of the motor and added a recirculating pump. Besides the unique action, another notable feature of these older washers was the high final spin speed (nicknamed "Rapidry"), 1140 revolutions per minute in the Unimatic, 850 in the Multimatic, and 1010 in the high-end Rollermatic models.
When Frigidaire was acquired by White Consolidated Industries in 1979, it abandoned the General Motors design in favor of the Westinghouse-produced top-loading design, as White-Westinghouse was already among its house brands by this time.
Frigidaire also produces a wide variety of refrigerators and freezers for the consumer market. Their model line-up includes fridge freezer units of several different types. The selection they offer includes traditional Top Freezer models, as well as more modern Side-By-Side and French Door styles.
In addition to manufacturing room air conditioners, Frigidaire also provided the factory air conditioning systems for General Motors automobiles. In the 1950s and 1960s, these units developed a reputation for providing powerful air conditioning systems on virtually all GM cars from the largest Cadillacs to the small Chevrolet Corvair.
A new cooktop manufacturing facility will be located in the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial park, southwest of Memphis. The facility will be built to LEED certification standards. Workers will manufacture the company's Electrolux ICON, Electrolux and Frigidaire product lines, including drop-in/slide-in ranges, wall ovens, specialty free standing ranges and cook tops. Construction is expected to begin in early 2011 with production to begin in mid-2012.[needs update]
Electrolux/Frigidaire also operates a manufacturing facility for free standing gas and electric ranges in Springfield, Tennessee. The Springfield facility currently employs about 2,900 people.
It also operates a large manufacturing facility in Northern Mexico since 2005.
In popular culture
"Well if your ancestors could see you standing there They would gaze in wonder at your Frigidaire They had to fight just to survive So can't you do something with your life?"
The word Frigidaire is sung to have the double meaning of expensive fridge and "frigid hair".
The popular blues song "I'm gonna move to the outskirts of town", sung by Ray Charles, mentions the brand:
"Let me tell you, honey
We gonna move away from here
I don't need no iceman
I'm gonna get you a Fridgidaire"
In the 1953 Spanish movie Welcome Mr. Marshall!, the main song features:
"Los yanquis han venido, ole el salero, con mil regalos
y a las niñas bonitas van a obsequiarlas con aeroplanos.
Con aeroplanos de chorro libre,
que corta el aire
y también rascacielos bien conservados en Frigidaire."
Poet Shel Silverstein's poem "Bear in There" from the children's book A Light in the Attic refers to a refrigerator by the brand name:
"There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire–
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there–
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire."
In Australia and the US, the term "fridge" is used to identify a generic refrigerator.
In the Philippines, the term "pridyider", used to identify a refrigerator, was derived from the word Frigidaire.
In Tunisia, the colloquial term "Frigidaire" is used to identify a generic refrigerator.
In Quebec, French-speaking regions of Belgium and Switzerland, and France, the term "frigidaire" is often used verbally and in writing to identify a generic refrigerator.
In Hungary, the spoken form of "Frigidaire" (fridzsider in Hungarian) is often used to identify a generic refrigerator.
In Romania, the word "frigidaire" is used to identify a generic refrigerator.
In the United Kingdom, there there exists the urban lexicon phrase "Frigi-goddammn", a parody on the brand "Frigidaire".
- Frigidaire Building, a historic structure in Portland, Oregon