August 22, 2014

Subscriber Login

On the banks of yesteryear ... The Monitor -Top PDF Print E-mail
Monday, March 11, 2013 10:26 AM


General Electric did for the refrigerator what Ford did for the automobile. Believe it or not, in 1922, a Model-T Ford cost about $450 while an electric refrigerator cost $714, putting it out of the reach of most people. In 1927, General Electric changed that with a refrigerator which sold for $215.


GE believed so much in its new product that it committed $18 million to the mass production of those refrigerators and another million dollars to advertising them to the public. Over a million of those first GE Monitor-Top refrigerator models were produced. It was a good investment because by the 1930s, 60 percent of households in the US owned a refrigerator. The ice box era was gone.


This refrigerator was called a “Monitor-Top” because the compressor on top of the unit looked much like the gun turret on the Civil War battleship USS Monitor. That basic design of the GE Monitor-Top refrigerator remained the same from 1927 until 1936 although a 1935 ad showed a new flat top model as well. Also interesting was that models in that ad were advertised as beginning at $77.50. The Great Depression was being felt by everyone.

The Canal Commission Museum has a Monitor-Top which was used by the Pioneer Drug Store to store medical supplies. Pioneer Drugs was owned for many years by the Wahmhoff family and was located at 309 N. Main St. It was in business until the middle 1970s.

The museum is open from 1-3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays. Visit us to see the Monitor-Top as well as other items from the Pioneer Drug Store.




Last Updated on Monday, March 11, 2013 11:01 AM

Add comment

Security code