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Crosley Icyball

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Tools and Hardware1780 of 9007Vintage metal laundry cartHemingray 42
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (9 items)

    I recently purchased this Crosley Icyball at an antique store in St. Paul, MN. It is an early example of gas absorption refrigeration. Patent applied for in 1927. The balls were charged with a mixture of water and ammonia. The unit came with a kerosene heater, a pail for cold water and a chest type cooler. Heating the hot ball for 90 minutes at low heat would vaporize the ammonia but not the water. The ammonia would pass as a vapor to the cold ball which was immersed in cold water. There it would condense to a liquid again. Aftcr charging it was placed with the cold ball in the cooler and the hot ball hanging on the outside. As the ammonia vaporizes and returns to the hot ball where it is absorbed by the water it freezes the cold ball in the cooler. Ammonia boiling point is -28 degrees farenheit. The hole in the cold ball is for an icecube tray. It would need to be charged once a day. Now I get to try to find the cooler, pail and icecube tray. icontent://

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    1. srarman, 2 years ago
      I'm sorry the link above doesn't work. Try this one.
    2. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 2 years ago
      Very COOL find! :^D Good luck finding the rest of it! Have a Great New Year! :^)
    3. Johnsmith Johnsmith, 2 years ago
      An interesting device and very good post!
    4. Brunswick Brunswick, 2 years ago
      I find this interesting indeed with the History of Crosley. A very diversified company..makers of automobiles and a large maker of radios.

    5. Toyrebel Toyrebel, 2 years ago
      The same principle that RV refrigerators work on with the propane flame as the heat.
    6. srarman, 2 years ago
      Thank you all for your comments. The first years of production there were about 20,000 sold per year. In the early to mid 1930's there were about 100,000 sold per year. By the 1940's most people had electricity so then electric refrigerators were taking over. During World War II they were used in isolated areas for refrigeration units. Especially in medical units that had medicines that they wanted to keep cold. A friend of mine that works in the refrigeration industry says not to try to recharge it because it would be quite dangerous. It's hard to tell how thin the balls might be because of corrosion and there are ports inside that might be plugged. Pressure levels might reach 250 psi while heating. The cold ball is 2.5 gallon capacity and the hot ball is 2.75 gallon including the steam dome.

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