Ice, ice baby

It’s been two months since we brought home our big blue beautiful 1950-something fridge, so it’s time for an official update. Not much else has been happening on the Spartan front through winter, just a few odds and ends and wrapping her up for safe-keeping.

Truth be told, we bought this fridge with very little knowledge of how it works and what the potential issues could be with her. We’ve gotten a bit of an education these past two months, and the main thing we’ve learned is that the people who are both capable and willing to work on them are few and far between.

We’ve had a couple close calls with local repairmen. The first, I was certain would do the work: a small mom & pop appliance shop that actually has a 1950s fridge on their shop floor! It seemed like destiny. The lady I spoke to when I scheduled an appointment was sweet, knowledgeable about vintage appliances and encouraging about their ability to do this work; the man who showed up at my house said (and I quote), “I’m not touching that.” Ouch – did you just hear my spirits crush? Despite that blow, I continued my search and spoke to a repairman the next county over who sounded maybe more excited than we are about our fridge!! I mean, his giddiness was palpable through the phone. I hung up more overjoyed than the day we bought her! When he came out, he confirmed suspicions that the cooling gas was our problem, but that it also isn’t in production any longer, which makes it hard to find and as valuable as gold when you do find it. He left with promises to track down a replacement/alternative gas (“Hot Shot”) and have our fridge running cold for a reasonable fee. Woohoo!! BUT – over the course of a month and a half he answered my calls, while never coming through on a single promise. Apparently his initial enthusiasm was for the $65 service fee we paid him to diagnose the problem. So disappointing.

But alas, it seems our fortune has changed. In a serendipitous course of events, I had a conversation with an acquaintance that revealed he had a forgotten stash of the elusive R12 gas in his garage. And not only that, he might have a contact to get us to a repairman with the long-lost skills we need. His contact didn’t pan out, but within 2 days The Mr & I found ourselves chatting with a local antique shop owner, Jim. Jim was our kinda guy, so he and The Mr talked quite a bit about our Spartan dreams, and I asked him (as I’ve gotten in the habit of doing at antique shops) if he knew anyone who could work on vintage fridges. Lo and behold, he pulled out his Rolladex and gave me two number, making sure I knew to call Dan first.

As luck would have it, Dan is the man. The man who is both able and willing to do the work, if only he had the R12 gas needed for the job. Remember our friend from earlier? The one with the forgotten stash of R12 gas? Yeah, he came through big time.

So with the knowledge that 3 cans of liquid (or gaseous??) gold were waiting for him, Dan showed up this morning ready to have some fun!

Dan started by removing the back panel to access the wiring and update the plug to a 3-pronged plug. SpartanKiddo offered his assistance free-of-charge.


Just a peek into the inner workings.
The fridge was originally a closed system, so Dan added 2 taps to clear out the lines and recharge with the R12. Very delicate work in a small space!


Of course, we were well-prepared for the potential of errant blow torch mishaps. Thankfully, his services weren’t necessary.
A think of beauty to me! Precious R12 being pumped into our fridge. That can got downright FRIGID as it breathed life into our fridge!
Yep, it’s looking good! One can should fill ‘er up.
SpartanKiddo snuck a few pics on my phone when I wasn’t looking…I thought this was a nice shot of Dan admiring a job well-done.
BOOM. That freezer is C.O.L.D.

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