1950's International Harvester Refridgerator


Mar 26, 2021
Model Number
Hello all,

I wanted to inquire about this IH Fridge that belonged to my grandfather. I always thought it was really cool, sitting in his 70's basement bar. It was working the last time it was plugged in and used (this photo was taken in 2014 and was working). I always remember the thing being really loud when it was running. I have ambitions of using this as a beverage fridge in my garage, so I'm not so worried about the noise. I am concerned about any potential safety concerns with using such an old appliance. Ie. the electrical or any gas/Freon concerns? Do these things use a tons of amperage? If so, has anyone retrofitted a new condenser in something like this?

Also any other general info about the fridge would be appreciated.. approximate age, value, etc..

(sorry photo is not great)


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Old Fridge Guy

Premium Member
May 5, 2021
Your International Harvester refrigerator appears to be from the early '50s. A 1950 thru '53 model would be my guess. There should be a metal plate on the back of the refrigerator that has the exact manufacture date. International Harvester refrigerators were popular in the Midwest region of the United States, especially with farmers who had International tractors and other farm equipment. The insert of the door handle is removable and different colors were available to match your kitchen decor. You could also buy kits to decorate the refrigerator, again to match your kitchen decor. Some models also featured a bottle opener in the door latch to open soda (pop) or beer bottles. In 1953 "Tri-Matic Defrosting" was introduced by International Harvester on their higher end models. There was a control panel on the right side of the interior of the refrigerator. It had a clock which was set to the proper time of day and a selector dial for automatic defrost, no defrost, or immediate defrost for cleaning. In automatic defrost the refrigerator would defrost every day at 3AM. Your refrigerator will not use excessive electricity provided the door gasket is in good condition and the door is properly aligned with the cabinet. As far as safety, as long as the wiring is in good condition and not stiff, brittle, or cracking, your refrigerator is perfectly safe. As for the noise, I'd check the compressor mounting bolts and rubber bushings, if equipped. If the bolts are tightened down too much and/or the rubber bushings, if equipped, are cracked, or missing, noise from the compressor will be amplified through the cabinet. Good luck with your refrigerator! I hope you get many years of enjoyment from it!