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This refrigerator has been been in continuous use for 76 years — and among one family!

Do they make things like they used to? I don’t think so. Case in point: Amy’s vintage Westinghouse refrigerator been in continuous operation since 1941 — that’s 76 years — among three generations in one family.

The refrigerator has changed locations three times. It’s now back with Amy in the 1959 time capsule house that she bought from her grandparents.

She told us:

The refrigerator also has a story. This was my grandparents’ fridge (a Westinghouse from 1941, I believe) that is even older than the house! They had this at their farm house, moved with it (I think) to this house, and then when my parents were married in 1969, they took it. After my parents established a household, they used the old fridge as a “second” fridge in the laundry room for extra milk, food, etc. When I bought this house, I got rid of the 1970s avocado green fridge (if only I knew they would come back in style!) and asked my parents for the 1941 fridge for the house. I only needed to buy them a budget new fridge for them to use as their “second.” It was a bargain! My new old fridge only needed a coat of appliance paint as it had gotten a little scratched up over the years. But it has been IN CONSTANT USE SINCE 1941!

Story: Our circa 2006 dishwasher recently broke down. We threw about $200 at it, trying to get it repaired. The repairs did diddly. I went on to Consumer Reports looking for something new. As I recall, they said that if your dishwasher is more than six years old and it breaks down, get rid of it and get a new one. This is so wasteful. Shame on manufacturers and their “planned obsolescence.” For the past four or five months, we’ve been living without a dishwasher.

No, they don’t make things like they used to. Kitchen appliances, at least.

Thank you, Amy. You rock.

  1. Marcia says:

    I have the original Florence stove in the home I purchased in 1978. I would never replace it.
    Appliances were made to last although it could use some cosmetic work it does the job.

  2. John C. says:

    Modern appliances really do seem to possess short life spans. We have fridges now for 5 or 6 yrs. My uncle’s fridge is a 50 yr. old GE.

    The stainless goods can leave the stage any time. Yuk!

  3. Ela says:

    Agree Pam. Cars protect us better, because the various parts (bumper, fender, door, etc.) absorb energy when they’re hit, rather than transmitting it through the car body to passengers. They’re definitely more expensive to fix, but they’re also a lot better at keeping us safe. 🙂

  4. Felicia Alexander says:

    Joe, your words are golden nuggets of wisdom. If only home buyers would pay heed!

    I have to say, though, that so far, after a year and a half, I’m very happy with my Maytag Bravo high-efficiency washing machine–so much so that I bought one for my new house as well. I find it’s gentler on my clothes but still washes them better than the Whirlpool it replaced (which gave out after only eleven years) and the Maytag I left behind after seventeen years in my previous city. We’ll see how long this one holds up, though, especially since they’re not making them in Newton, Iowa anymore (sigh).

  5. Kat says:

    This thread is making me sad! I want to buy a small dishwasher because after living with my tiny kitchen for a year I’ve realized it would actually be a spacesaver. After reading this, I hate the idea of buying a new one that will just poop out after a few years. But I’m not seeing any vintage smaller models (like those fabulous toploaders) for sale online. Feeling cranky and old…

  6. Jamie D. says:

    My parents still use a Westinghouse fridge that had belonged to my grandparents, which they bought when they first got married sometime in the 1940s. It’s been in my parents’ basement for as long as I can remember, and houses all the soda and beer because it’s way colder than their regular newer fridge.

    The extra fridge always comes in handy this time of year for leftovers, too.

  7. la573 says:

    Maytag, as you may know, was bought out by Whirlpool a decade ago. Many of the old Maytag plants were closed, and though Whirlpool continues to use the well-known Maytag brand, the appliances themselves are now mostly Whirlpool designs with the controls panels and some parts changed to make them look different.

  8. Jayne says:

    I replaced a GE washer from the Seventies with a new Whirlpool. It would not spin the water out of an extra large load. The repair guy came twice and then refused. Whirlpool would not repair or replace it. Four years later, I still have the thing but cannot fill it more than two thirds full. Bad customer service. N
    ot what I expected. On the other hand, my cheapo, store brand, dryer is plugging along great. Moral of the story: Go cheap.

  9. Alma says:

    To Amy: I absolutely *love* that knotty pine kitchen!! AND the fridge. Curiosity question: is the door hinged in the middle or is that stripe just a design feature? I drooled over your formica table and chairs; I’d love to find one as nice. As for that pink bathroom, I wouldn’t change a thing. Previous owners of my ’64 MC house did make a lot of changes (they loved wallpaper!) and I wish I knew what the bathrooms looked like originally. Love your house!

  10. G. Davis says:

    We have a Maytag that still runs like a clock after 15 years. We have petty much stayed with Maytag. And, it is white. It’s interesting to see other people hate stainless like I do. We are in the process of building a much smaller home and all appliances and cabinets are white. With the Vintage Fiesta that I will be using and the blues, reds, etc. it will be lovely. Oh, and our children found a Vintage chrome dinette set, with four chairs and an extension for the table; the chairs were “orange” from no protection from the sun, but we were able to have them recovered exactly like original in red. The 50’s take us back to when we were first married. Pick up a Consumer’s Guide and it will tell you the best one to purchase.

  11. G. Davis says:

    This table and chairs are extremely hard to find, but they are out there. Read my comments above to Kat.

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