is a major US appliance
company owned by Electrolux
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. From 1919 to 1980, 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. In 1979, it was acquired by White Consolidated Industries which also owned Westinghouse appliances. Since 1986, it has been a unit of Electrolux.
While the company was owned by General Motors, its logo featured the phrase "Product of General Motors."
The company claims firsts including:
Brands now operated by Frigidaire include Kelvinator, White-Westinghouse, Tappan and Gibson.
Some older Americans refer to the refrigerator as "the Frigidaire" regardless of the brand-name (while others use the phrase "icebox
") . Still others use the term "fridge" which is generally thought to be short for "refrigerator". This usage is also seen elsewhere, for example in the Philippines
and in Quebec
(and other French
-speaking areas of Canada
, Bosnia and Herzegovina
(as "frigider") and Israel
: "פריג'ידר"). However, in the Portuguese language
, the word " frigideira
" (similar pronunciation) refers to a frying pan
During the years that Frigidaire was owned by General Motors, they were very competitive in the automatic clothes washing machine business. Frigidaire engineer Kenneth O'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 1947-1958. The Pulsamatic mechanism, unique in that it pulsated 630 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 in 1979, they abandoned the General Motors design in favor of the Westinghouse produced top loading design, as White-Westinghouse was already among their house brands by this time. In 1986, after equipping lower-end models with this mechanism for approximately three years and following the acquisition by Electrolux, the entire line was changed to the similar but not identical Franklin mechanism, as it was found to be less expensive to produce. The Franklin mechanism is what is seen on the current design of Electrolux-produced machines.