Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Vintage Fridge Laws

vintage55restorations.com
You know those cool old handles on all these fridges that go "ka-chunk" when you open and close them? They're technically illegal! 


During the post war years a surprisingly high amount of young children were crawling into abandoned fridges and suffocating. They are self locking, air tight, and can only be opened from the outside. You can see how this would be a problem if a little boy found one while playing hide and seek.

It got to be such a common problem that in 1956 congress passed the "refrigerator safety act" which banned manufacturing the latching type handles. It went into effect Oct of 1958 and started the move to pressure latches and the modern magnetic latch. The actual law mandates that a refrigerator must be "able to be pushed open from the inside by a 10 year old boy." 

Though it solved any future problems, but there were still plenty of them being tossed into fields and junkyards every year. So many cities had posses that would roam around and find abandoned refrigerators and break the latches or otherwise make them safe. Also individual states made laws that made abandoning them without breaking the latches would be a crime. In Oklahoma is was actually a felony! 

All of these things put together drastically cut the accidental deaths to the point of non existence. Also there are so few latching refrigerators out there and they don't get abandoned now, the law is basically dead in the books. 

Surprisingly though, even as recently as 2013 in South Africa 3 kids got trapped in one! Word to the wise, don't abandon your fridge in a field and kill someone's kid!  

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