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GM's founder had a hand in saving and naming which other American icon?


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What: The Guardian Refrigerator Company was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1916. But it was headed towards bankruptcy before William Durant personally invested in the company, renaming it “Frigidaire.”

Why: Passionate for acquiring new companies, Durant paid a little over $56,000 of his own money for the faltering company (which developed the first self-contained refrigerator). Eventually, Durant sold the business to GM, which owned Frigidaire from 1919 to 1979. During that time, Frigidaire expanded its product line and underwent several technological advancements, including a transformation from a wooden cabinet to porcelain-on-steel exterior.

Get this: The Guardian Refrigerator Company only sold only about 40 units in its first couple of years. By 1929 and under GM management, Frigidaire had sold a million units.

A little more: To celebrate its 85th anniversary, in 2003 the company listed common items found in “The Fridge” then and now:

1918: Bottles of milk (fresh), eggs, lard, cream, churned butter, homemade lemonade, homemade cottage cheese, apple butter, homemade jelly

2003: Gallons of homogenized milk, eggs, fat-free margarine, flavored, non-dairy creamer, sports drinks, squeezable yogurt, colored ketchup, salad in a bag

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