This is a Glavarchiv story about production of the first domestic refrigerators in the Soviet Union

January 4

Development of initial samples of USSR refrigerators started in the mid-1930s. Production was launched by the end of the decade. However, its development was interrupted by the Great Patriotic War. The production of refrigerators was re-launched only in 1949 in the workshops of the Moscow Gazoapparat plant. Here they began to develop a sample for mass production. More details about creation of a new generation refrigerator are contained in the Mossovet foundation archival documents in Moscow Glavarchiv.

Initially, experts determined the type of the future device. By that time, the Soviet Union had experience in creating refrigerators of compression or absorption type. The Gazoapparat plant decided to manufacture an absorption-type refrigerator, because the main advantage of such a device is that it does not contain a compressor. It means that the refrigerator was virtually noiseless and rarely got inoperable. However, in case of a failure, it was impossible to repair it, unlike the compressor-type.

Later, a design and technological bureau for designing domestic refrigerators was organized. At the same time, in 1949, the number of Gazoapparat personnel was increased by 100 people and that of technician engineers — by 10 people. The plant needed to be expanded, as it was necessary not just to launch serial production of refrigerators, but accelerate production rate and increase the number of products manufactured. In addition, it was planned to construct a new production facility, add superstructures to the existing buildings of the plant and purchase equipment for domestic refrigerators manufacturing.

In order to motivate and encourage designers and employees, the project of the best sample was to be awarded a prize of 50 thousand rubles — a very large amount at the time. Money was supposed to be paid, once the sample was put into mass production. The award was shared by the whole team: 10 thousand rubles were intended for the chief designer, and 40 thousand — for technician engineers.

Moscow universities also took part in the development of the new refrigerator. For example, the Mendeleev Moscow Chemical Technology was developing methods of refrigerator pipes internal degreasing, wood impregnating and coloring.  The Bauman Moscow State Technical University was researching on theoretical calculations of absorption refrigerators.

After the sample of the new refrigerator was approved, the plant was supplied with resources required for its production. The State Committee for Material and Technical Supply allocated materials and equipment to the Ministry of Industry, and in 1950 the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry supplied high-quality seamless pipes and manufactured 125 cylinders for the Gazoapparat plant: 35 cylinders for oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and 20 — for ammonia. The electrical equipment was manufactured at the Elfa plant in Vilnius, and the Ministry of Electrical Industry was made responsible for its production.

Thus, 1950 saw a new sample of the refrigerator that was then launched into mass production. Gazoapparat single-chamber absorption type refrigerators named after the producer plant,were on sale in the early 1950s.


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