Making room for the "European" Fridge

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Appliances to measure: BBC Electrical appliances'

Throughout the 1960s, incomes rose and refrigerated foods became more common, as did refrigerators in individual houses. However, the large "American-style" refrigerator did not become commonplace.

European refrigerators remained quite small, and advertising for them emphasized their clever "fit" within the kitchen. Instead of stressing the size and "technological" nature of the device, refrigerator designs in much of Europe often attempted to hide or disguise refrigerators as another form of cupboard in the kitchen.

How to cite this page


Alexander Badenoch, 'Making room for the "European" Fridge', Inventing Europe,


  1. Bervoets, Liesbeth "'Consultation Required!' Women Co-producing the Modern Kitchen in the Netherlands." In Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, technology and European Users, edited by Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann, 210-232. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2011.

About this tour


Where to put the fridge that never came

Refrigerators are now common features of most households in Europe, but not all refrigerators are created equal. Unlike the US, where large fridges became the norm, finding a place for a refrigerator in European kitchens was a complex negotiation between the design of houses and the design of fridges.

What's like this?

Kitchen interiors over time

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