07 May 2010

Frozen in Time

Say what? This appliance oddity really piqued my cryogenic curiosity. Thanks to the Magic of the Interwebs, I am able to report that this freezer was available in 1948, and that it only required defrosting twice a year—a process that I imagine was more than a little messy. For such a hulking machine, it offered a mere nine cubic feet of capacity. Within the chilling cylinders, no foodstuff was ever more than nine inches away from 'the all-surrounding source of cold.' Such a fixation with the number nine apparently was meant to give empirical credence to the wonders promised by the Deepfreeze.


  1. If nothing in the Deepfreeze is ever farther than nine inches from a cooling element, and if the freezing chambers are cylindrical, then the diameter of the cylinders is eighteen inches. Oddly reminiscent of a junior high math problem. I considered a hollow core with circular, possibly semi-circular shelves surrounding it, but the copy below your crop line says, "more than 9 cubic feet—every inch for food". In other words, the cylinders are just that: empty cylinders.

    9 cubic feet equals 15,552 cubic inches. The volume of a cylinder is π r² h. Solving for h gives us two cylinders of 30.56 inches each. Since they emphasize that the capacity is more than 9 cubic feet, we can safely guess that that actual internal height was something closer to 30 ⅝ inches. And they said we'd never use this stuff.

    Long sleeve shirts for men in size large measure about 34 ½ inches from the back of the neck over the shoulder to the end of the cuff. It's hard to estimate, but the difference in length from the tip of the opposable thumb to the pocket of the armpit — the length of arm that would actually be plunged into the Deepfreeze — must be considerably less. Without turning your head and dipping your shoulder, that bottom layer of happily frozen food seems impossibly far away.

    The brand name Frigidaire, as almost everyone knows, was for a long time used as a generic term for refrigerator. Deepfreeze represents the reverse process. They merely co-opted the term deep-freeze or deep freeze, meaning quick freezing or long term storage at subfreezing temperatures, to produce a pre-generic generic sounding brand name. Deep, in the original, means profound, as in deep sleep where one seems beyond awakening. To put something in deep storage is to place it beyond immediate or easy retrieval, certainly a possibility for the twin bottom layers of the present freezer. Deepfreeze literalized the metaphorical deep of deep-freeze to produce twin caverns of actual depth. Somewhere in a polished 68° boardroom an industrious executive sat up straight in his cushioned chair and said, "Wait, I've got it..." The problem, of course, was (and is) that names prevail when the products do.

  2. I am beginning to suspect that you have been involved in product design, Evan Jones. Yes or no, your comments are always insightful. Thank you!