My partner and I have recently purchased a refrigerator for our new house. The choice was overwhelming, but this one looks smart and has an impressive energy rating.

But is it as good as the post WWII, Australian made Rotofrig? I honestly don’t think it is.

In 1946, continuing world-wide steel shortages meant that there were no new refrigerators to be had. However, the following year a factory in Sydney’s inner-city Waterloo produced the Rotofrig, a masterpiece of ingenuity.

One store told householders they could choose between a Silent Knight fridge for around fifty quid, the higher priced, ‘family size’ Success, or the top-of-the-line Rotofrig model, at just under a hundred.


With our 2021 fridge we still have the problem of little bowls hiding away at the back of shelves until the contents become a health hazard and have to be thrown out. How wonderful it would be to have revolving shelves. Why on earth did someone decide to discontinue this feature? 😎 The theory is that it was not an efficient use of space.

It does look as though the housewife is removing Shakespeare’s head from the freezer compartment in the next ad. Maybe that was to demonstrate that the Rotofrig could maintain freshness forever, rather like the Bard’s works. 😎 Of course one downside of the fridge was that the compartment was only large enough to hold a single chicken….or one playwright’s head!

Look at the offer in the next advert. You could trade in your old model, or even an ice-chest.

Pictured below is the real thing. I’ll admit that being circular it would be hard to incorporate into fitted kitchens, which were becoming popular in the late 1950s. Perhaps this is the main reason it was discontinued. Mind you, some people still own a Rotofrig, and there are even examples in working order.

The image below is of a 1950s Japanese toy fridge, with lazy Susan shelves. I presume it was a reproduction of a full size model.

IMAGE FROM Museum of Applied Arts and Science


I was excited to spot this photo, posted on a few years ago. Unfortunately the brand is no longer available.


More information was supplied in the thread by the poster; ‘seraphim2703’.

Oh dear, if only EFS Hausgerate hadn’t gone bust.

One alternative is to buy a lazy Susan shelf. Hmm, just doesn’t do it for me!

A tiny echo of the Rotofrig.

My conclusion is that the cute, pink toy fridge made in Japan ticked the most boxes. 😍 The Japanese have long been frontrunners when it comes to clever household appliances.

1 Comment
  1. This post made me smile! Inventions, inventions, inventions… I rather like the thought of a rotary shelf – perhaps just one shelf though.

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