Here is classic mid-century illustration showing a couple and a refrigerator. The happy couple are giving us a glimpse of their stocked refrigerator. They are ready for quite a feast. Their refrigerator is the gas kind. It was manufactured by Servel.
Although not as common as the electric kind, Servel boasted of their superior design.
The ad continued to make a case for gas vs electric.
As someone living in in an area where the power grid is not always reliable, I was intrigued by the idea of a refrigerator that did not stop working when the electricity was off. After a bit of research, I found that Servel was in fact a popular option in the mid-century and beyond for cabins and other rural locations where electricity was not available. There was one big problem: carbon monoxide leakage. In fact, the US Government went so far as to issue the following warning.
The government stated that there had been 22 carbon monoxide-related deaths involving old Servel gas refrigerators in the US and 60 in Canada.
The notice also gave information about how someone who still had a Servel Gas refrigerator could get $100 for disposing it.
What replaced gas refrigerators for folks living off the grid? Propane.
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