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86/618 Domestic appliance, ice chest 'Polar', wood/metal, made in Australia, c. 1939. Click to enlarge.

Ice chest, 1920-1930

Made 1920-1930

An ice chest or ice box was an early, non-mechanical domestic appliance used to keep food cool before the advent of the kerosene or electric refrigerator. Ice chests comprised a free-standing wooden cabinet lined with galvanised-iron or more expensive seamless porcelain enamel. Inside, they were insulated with charcoal, cork or other materials. A hinged lid in the top compartment held a large block of ice and a door below this compartment provided access into the ice chest itself where the food ...


Object No.


Object Statement

Domestic appliance, ice chest 'Polar', wood/metal, made in Australia, c. 1939

Physical Description

Vanished oak wooden cabinet with recessed panels on either side, the ice storage compartment on top of the cabinet which opens upwards in two pieces with a metal strap handle, a single front opening door with two recessed panels secured with cast iron latch and adjacent hinges. A wooden flap located below the door provides access to a drip tray. The cabinet edges are curved with extended sides at the base leading to legs on metal castors. The interior of the ice chest is lined with galvanised iron covered with white enamel panels and features wire shelving and draining facilities for cold food storage.


Metal plaque on the door reads POLAR



1010 mm


590 mm


430 mm


48 kg





Credit Line

Gift of Maureen Townsden, 1986

Acquisition Date

19 May 1986

Cite this Object


Ice chest, 1920-1930 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 31 March 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Ice chest, 1920-1930 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=31 March 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Collection Gallery 5 at the Museums Discovery Centre.

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