Let’s help the Carnegie Museum of Art find this 1960 Westinghouse center drawer refrigerator

Vintage-Westinghouse-Center-drawer-refrigeratorYup, Pam is talking to the Carnegie Museum of Art about whether they will accept her donation of her NOS Griswold Symbol cookware for an upcoming exhibition about its designer, Peter Muller-Munk. Meanwhile, the Museum tells us that the one item they still super eager to find is the 1960 Westinghouse Center Drawer Refrigerator — a hunka hunka also designed by Muller-Munk and his firm. So it’s a call to all Retro Renovation treasure hunters: Can we help find one of these beautiful 1960 refrigerators for the Carnegie Museum of Art?!  

Ooooh, get this: “The original Center Drawer Refrigerator was available in eight color schemes – including wood paneling, apple red, lemon yellow, and frosting pink.” YUM.

Catherine Walworth, Curatorial Research Assistant for the upcoming exhibit Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk at the Carnegie Museum of Art, wrote to us:

I have to tell you that we love what you do and your blog is fun and fascinating. One of the objects that we want for the exhibition—and which has continued to elude us—is a Westinghouse Center Drawer refrigerator c. 1960. These came in various decorator colors, and I have attached two different advertisements. If you find one or know where we can get one, please do let us know. It’s something of a “white whale” for us and we have tried several avenues.

Vintage-Westinghouse-Center-drawer-refrigerator

SEEKING WESTINGHOUSE CENTER DRAWER REFRIGERATOR

Carnegie Museum of Art is organizing an exhibition on Pittsburgh industrial designer Peter Muller-Munk (1904–1967), opening in November 2015. At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, Peter Muller-Munk Associates was one of the top ten industrial design firms in the United States, although history has all but forgotten it. This project will attribute dozens of designs to Muller-Munk for the first time: midcentury radios, tools, housewares, and appliances of all shapes and sizes.

Among the objects designed by Muller-Munk and his firm is the 1960 Westinghouse Center Drawer Refrigerator. CMOA is seeking an example in good cosmetic condition; it does not need to function. The original Center Drawer Refrigerator was available in eight color schemes – including wood paneling, apple red, lemon yellow, and frosting pink.

If you have a Westinghouse refrigerator like the one illustrated here, please contact Dawn Reid at reidd@cmoa.org or 412.622.6265.

Have one of these beauties in your basement?
Saw one at your local ReStore?
Let’s see if we can give the Carnegie Museum of Art some leads!

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Comments

  1. Janet in ME says

    Wow, what a fantastic fridge! And the color panels, especially the frosting pink, are really fabulous! But it has to be super rare. My father sold GE appliances for over forty years and we brought a lot of stoves and fridges back in trade or to scrap, and I never ever saw one of these come back. At one time in my last house, I had four stoves stashed away in the garage. At work I had two dryers from the fifties (one in pink), dozens of cooktops in all colors in the attic, and an old bottom drawer GE fridge that we used. These bottom drawer fridges were not well designed and did not last long, so most of them were scrapped long ago. The one we had had a working bottom freezer, but the fresh food sections tended to warm up as they got old. Ours was only good for beverages or to keep lunch for one day. This of course led to the sad fact that there are few survivors. My very favorite fridges had the front panel on the freezer just like the center drawer on this one; it is silver and has a kind of starburst pattern on it. Some 40″ stoves had the panel on the small oven and I think there is one shown here somewhere, maybe the kitchen with the pine paneling? Those panels were so elegant and were on top of the line GE appliances. I have always wanted to find one of those fridges and now more than ever for my kitchen here in my ’57 ranch. I always look in craigslist and have haunted many a dump, even to go so far as to tell my son who hauls dumpsters to keep an eye out for old appliances! Wish I had done this years ago and filled up a warehouse. I know I am weird, but vintage appliances so interest me. I love this fridge, but it will be nearly impossible to find one. This exhibition sounds great and good luck to them!

    • Penne says

      You are not weird. Appliances are just part of who you are. My Dad owned a grocery store for the first 47 years of my life. I grocery shop nearly every day and I love to see cool, old store fixtures and signs. Those old appliances are just classy. I have never seen one of these Westinghouse ‘fridges. I hope the museum is successful in finding one.

      • Ed says

        I totally agree. I used to go to a large grocery store that was basically like stepping back into the late 70s/early 80s (except for prices, of course). The freezer cases and pharmacy area took me right back to the larger grocery stores we’d go to when we visited my Grandparents on the other side of the state. So much bigger and more modern than the stores we had at home! Alas, not big or modern enough, it’s been torn down to make room for a warehouse style food outlet. At least it’s not one of those “members only” establishments.

    • Jacki says

      No, not weird. I have a Revco refrigerator /freezer set, a 59 GE Stratoliner stove, and a 1932 monitor top fridge in my one car garage. Plus a set of GE pink ovens, pink cooktop and a 1947 GE fridge painted pink in my kitchen. I recently sold a 1932 yellow and green Magic Chef stove. And a have bunch of fifties appliances in storage. Just think of them as oversized knick-knacks.

    • says

      Janet,
      You are not weird (and not alone). Check out http://www.automaticwasher.org.

      It’s a site dedicated to the preservation of vintage appliances. They also deal with newer appliances, but many of the folks there own and operate entire homes filled with vintage appliances. Quite a few have awesome collections of washers and dryers as well!

    • Jay says

      Not to worry Janet; in retrospect, all us faithfull RR fans are weird for the apreciation of the MC industrial design, architecture and decor design styles- appliances included. I think it’s neat that the exhibit wants to include the fridge, Westinghouse was based in Pittsburgh.
      I wonder how many were produced. Interesting concept but it cuts down on the interior space of the fridge. Where are the old Westinghouse employees to answer these questions?

    • Justin says

      I’m with you on the vintage appliances. I have 3 refrigerators (1949 Hotpoint, 1961 Hotpoint, and 1965 G. E. Americana.), 2 stoves(1941 O’Keefe and Merritt gas and 1965 G.E. Americana.), 9 washing machines(1927 Maytag wringer, 1947 Thor, 1948 Bendix, 1950 Kenmore, 1952 Easy Spindryer, 1954 Frigidaire, 1959 Kenmore, 1963 Lady Kenmore, and 1965 Lady Kenmore.), and 7 dryers(1954 Kenmore, 1954 Frigidaire, 1957 Lady Kenmore, 1958 Frigidaire, 1963 Lady Kenmore, 1965 Lady Kenmore, and a 1970 Kenmore.)

    • Lisa says

      Call me weird also then! In my garage I currently have three of the flat electric cooktops in brown, silver and avocado green “just in case” I ever need them! I feel that we are saving little unappreciated (except by us) pieces of history!!

    • says

      Janet,
      I think your story is fantastic & very informative for those of us with MCM homes who may be looking for the original appliances that went in them, I know I am!
      I also think it’s not even remotely strange, our garage currently has pink & yellow crane toilets, crane sinks & a cinderella bathtub!

  2. Bluejay says

    This fridge is EXTREMELY rare; there are folks on automaticwasher that have never seen them and have been hunting for quite some time.

  3. tammyCA says

    Hope the museum finds one.
    Mcm appliances were/are so cool, I certainly don’t think it’s weird to collect these awesome & pretty designs..do vacuums fall into this category ‘cuz I’ve seen some real beauties on some collectors forum I checked out after I picked up a pretty blue vintage Royal canister & I swear it makes me want a collection of vintage vacuums!! 🙂

    • LuAnn says

      Tammy, I sure wish I had my mom’s Hoover vacuum cleaner. I so should have kept it. The “wonderful” bagless vacuum I have now drives me crazy! And I’ll just bet that it won’t keep working for 50+ years. Every time I have to clean it out, I practically have an asthma attack. What they don’t tell you is that you have to keep changing the filter, which costs ten times what the bags cost. *Sigh*

  4. says

    My mother bought a new Amana fridge about this time with the freezer on the bottom. I remember that we looked at a fridge that had a pullout drawer but my mother didn’t like the concept. So, they were sold in Fresno.

  5. Mark says

    I have this refrigerator but a later model. I want to say about a 1965-66 model coppertone version. How funny when I got it we all marveled how today’s refrigerators have copied that middle door! I use it as my every day refrigerator and belive it or not my appliance repair guy said it runs on a heat pump!

  6. JKM says

    An era when appliances could be EXCITING to look at. Just marvelous! I’m so tired of generic appliance boxes … but I do think the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. I’ve seen some very cool new appliance design recently that gives me hope for a new wave of exciting and marvelous design. Why not have fun?

  7. Marilyn says

    Wow.. I love, love, love it… Wish they would make an updated version… So glad to know there are so many people who’ve retro as much as I do!!!!!

  8. Jana Bernhardt (berniecat) says

    Wowsa! That fridge is the bomb! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I never knew they made such a cool model of refrigerator. Kudos to the Carnegie MOA for their public recognition of MCM design as a true art form and props to Pam for her assistance in their treasure hunt for a fridge to display.

  9. Ringlet says

    The center drawer concept is GREAT! We bought a Samsung fridge a few years ago, and the big selling point for us was its center drawer. Everyone who comes into our kitchen is all “Whoa…check THAT out!” and you can’t beat the convenience of the drawer. We use it to hold sodas; that way we don’t have to open the whole fridge when we want a drink.

  10. Richard says

    Double wow on this Westinghouse center drawer refrigerator! I do not collect MCM, as my kitchen is being done circa 1940-41 style. A 1935 GE fridge is in the kitchen right now, with a more modern 1939 art deco model on the way. But this fridge is so cool, if I ever found one it would be almost impossible to turn down. It is not hard to understand how one can fall in love with MCM kitchens. I hope one is found for the museum exhibit.

  11. BabsbytheBeach says

    Holy moly Batman! My mother’s friend used to have one of these! Even as children, my sibs and I knew we were gazing upon a gem. Unfortunately my mother would not be swayed by a 7, 6 and 4 year old. I am going to see if she still has it. Crossing my fingers and toes she still does.

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