Posted 3 years ago
A friend of mine gave me a working Frigidaire refrigerator from 1957. Model #FI-121-57
FI = Frigidaire Imperial
121 = Size, 12.1 Cubic Feet
57 = Year, 1957
When I got it, it was very dirty and the entire front was covered in poorly applied and mildewed white latex paint! I tried stripping with pure ammonia which softened the paint but still very difficult to remove. Then I tried denatured alcohol which does a great job of eating the paint but still a lot of rags and rubbing. And that method is messy since it just smears around the softened white paint. I finally tried a high pressure steamer and a steam driven wallpaper remover. This worked the best. Once the latex paint was softened by the steam, a plastic scraper and a plastic bristle brush was able to get the two layers of paint down to the original white enamel finish which cannot be damaged by the above methods. The high pressure steamer also blasted the paint from all the cracks, corners and crevices.
The door seals are original and in less than ideal condition. On the freezer door, I applied a thin bead of clear silicon to the old seal and closed the door onto waxed paper. Once the silicon was dry, I trimmed it and now there is a perfectly tight seal on the freezer. On the refrigerator door, the seal was in slightly better condition, so for neatness sake, I applied a very thin closed-cell self-adhesive polyurethane gasket/weatherstrip material from Ace hardware. This causes the door to close tighter but you also have to push harder to get it to latch. When I have more time, I may replace this weatherstrip with a bead of clear silicone sealant same as I applied on the freezer.
The thermostat dial goes from B, A, 1, 2, to 3. I have it set to "1" while the ambient temperature is in the 90's, and the refrigerator maintains about 34 F degrees. The freezer is ridiculously super-cold -30 F and very little frost now that the door is sealed well.
The inside of the freezer is aluminum and the inside of the refrigerator is pink (salmon) porcelainized metal. The interior facing parts of both doors are metal and pink plastic. The shelves are polished aluminum racks and the drawers are porcelainized metal. There are slides available on the top two shelf positions which allow the top two shelves to slide out like drawers.
There are THREE interior lights with 25 Watt tube-style incandescent bulbs under thick lenses made from glass.
There are also three food drawers. The two pink drawers are labeled "Hydrator" and the white drawer is labeled "Meat Tender". I guess they didn't invent the words, "crisper" and "lunchmeat" yet. I'm missing most of the hardware for properly mounting these.
On the interior freezer door, there is a handle for twisting/dumping the ice tray into the ice bin. I have the bracket and handle but I'm missing the bin and tray. There are also two compartments for storing rectangular frozen vegetable boxes as well as round frozen juice concentrates.
On the interior refrigerator door, there is a butter compartment with its own thermostat. It controls the metal bottom which contains a heater to keep your butter warmer than everything else. I'm missing the door for the butter compartment. There are also two flip down drawers labeled for "eggs".
This unit is missing the bottom grill/cover (see 1957 ad). I recently obtained the original three drawers as pictured in the ad, but none of the required brackets or hardware. It's also missing one full width shelf, the bottom sliding basket, two door shelves, the butter door, the ice tray, the ice bin, and something else from inside the freezer.
I also installed 4" swivel casters so I can easily roll this unit around my garage, as needed, for parties and such.
Any information on where I can obtain parts and/or an owner's manual would be greatly appreciated.