DiMola Bros scores in residential estate cleanout, finds GE Rex Cole refrigerator from 1930s
Is it cold in here, or is it just my Rex Cole refrigerator?
This General Electric refrigerator came from a typical residential estate cleanout job. It was at least 10 years ago, so the details are fuzzy, but I remember removing a ton of clutter from a house and stumbling across it. It was sitting in the basement corner, with an old sheet loosely hanging over top.
Just like the other junk I’ve found and fallen in love with, this refrigerator made it back to my “museum” and is displayed in my garage.
These Rex Cole refrigerators are extremely special, because back in the 1930s, Cole was the leading distributor of General Electric refrigerators in all of New York City.
Rex Cole, of Rex Cole Inc., was born in 1887 and started working as an electrician when he was 16 years old, according to an article from The New York Times. He did not become associated with General Electric until after World War I. In the 1920s, General Electric drafted Cole to market white enamel Monitor Top refrigerators. These types of fridges had a motor, compressor and condenser in a drumlike container on the top of the cabinet, according to the article.
After working just a short time with GE, his ability to sell refrigerators began to take off. Cole began in 1926 with just four employees. By 1931, he had nearly 1,000 people working for him who were selling more than $15 million a year in appliances for GE.
Meanwhile, Cole was deeply impressed with Raymond Hood, an architect who designed the American Radiator Building on West 40th Street and the former Daily News Building at 42nd Street — among others — according to the NY Times article.
Cole contacted Hood to build a network of showrooms for the refrigerators. By the time Cole died in 1967, Hood had constructed 15 showrooms to display Cole’s refrigerators.
This refrigerator came from a residential estate cleanout job that was nothing but typical, yet the job produced something that was far from it. Items like this will never make it to the dump!