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97/17/1 Refrigerator, electric, Hallstrom 'Silent Knight', metal/plastic, made by Hallstrom's Pty Ltd, Willoughby, New South Wales, Australia, 1958. Click to enlarge.

Hallstrom refrigerator

Designed by Hallstroms Pty Ltd in Willoughby, New South Wales

This is an example of the famous Hallstrom 'Silent Knight' electric refrigerator made in the Sydney suburb of Willoughby in 1958 by Hallstroms's Pty Ltd. Although artificial refrigerator was widespread in the food and beverages industries by the late nineteenth century, it was only the development of an affordable, self-contained electric refrigerator in the early twentieth century that the full benefits of refrigeration finally reached the home. Small domestic refrigerators had been available...


Object No.


Object Statement

Refrigerator, electric, Hallstrom 'Silent Knight', metal/plastic, made by Hallstrom's Pty Ltd, Willoughby, New South Wales, Australia, 1958

Physical Description

Cream painted sheet metal refigerator cabinet with right hinged door, curved sides and a horizontal chromed steel handle. The front of the door has a metal badge with the raised letters HALLSTROM above a stylised chevron. In the centre of the chevron is a stylised image of a Knight, in relief, holding one gloved hand to his mouth. The back of the cabinet is sealed, except for a small opening at the bottom which contains a black painted refrigeration compressor, pump and refrigerant reservoir, the latter stamped in yellow paint '8 Jan 1958'. Inside the refrigerator are four chromed wire shelves with silver and white aluminium front finishing strips. Below the bottom shelf are two plastic crisper trays. Above the top shelf is a white plastic meat tray and the freezer, which has a silver/blue metalised plastic door. The inside surface of the door has four white plastic shelves with metalised plastic finishing strips.


Marked on front of door with moulded piece, 'HALLSTROM'.



1495 mm


750 mm


690 mm


131 kg



This fridge was probably designed 'in-house' by Hallstrom's Pty Ltd at their Willoughby factory in Sydney. The date 1958 is based on the date stamp on the compressor and donor's family recollections.

After reading an early article on refrigeration, Edward Hallstrom studied every patent he could since Federation and experimented in a makeshift laboratory in his backyard in the Sydney suburb of Dee Why. He quickly saw the possibilities of kerosene-powered refrigeration for outback stations which relied on the primitive 'Coolgardie safe' to keep food cool.

In 1928 Edward Halmstrom had produced his first unit, the Icy Ball absorption refrigerator, a chest model run by kerosene, which he sold to country properties. At this time if electricity was available it was generated from small electric lighting plants on the property itself which only generated enough power for run a couple of electric lights with no electricity spare for a fridge as well.

Hallstrom moved production from Dee Why to a rambling site at Willoughby on the North Shore. Sir Edward then diversified into the famous 'Silent Knight' brand upright models introduced in 1935 which ran both on gas or electricity. They were so named because fridges at the time were very noisy. The 'Silent Night' was cheap to buy but very expensive to operate. Operating costs were so expensive that Sir Edward was said to have made an arrangement with the electricity suppliers to subsidise the electricity bills of purchasers of his refrigerator

By the mid-1940s Hallstroms Pty Ltd was turning out 1200 refrigerators per week and employed over seven hundred people, among them members of his family. By 1955 eighty-three percent of households in Sydney had a refrigerator. He subsequently invented a machine for refrigerating anaesthetics which he presented to Sydney Hospital.



Purchased about Christmas Eve 1958 by Frederick Miller (donor's father) when the family refrigerator broke down. Used by Miller up his death in September 1996 (interview with donor and her brother).


Credit Line

Gift of Frederick Charles Miller

Acquisition Date

22 January 1997

Cite this Object


Hallstrom refrigerator 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 31 March 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Hallstrom refrigerator |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=31 March 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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