Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Most Bizarre thing I Ever Bought

    Sometimes the road your life takes ends up with some surprising purchases.

    In 1978 I bought a recreation lot at a lake. The lot was solid native bush , just the way I wanted it. I had the romantic idea that I would build a rustic cabin. I would not have power...just the basics. 

    I started out by building  a small garage. My plan was to use the garage for a kitchen living room while I built my snug cabin. I wanted a stove and fridge. Of course, they had to be propane. Very few propane fridges were made in 1980 and they were expensive. I thought I'd look for a used propane fridge.

   One day I saw and add for a propane fridge. I made arrangements to look at the fridge. I took my utility trailer so that I could haul it back. The fridge I went to look at was really ancient. It had a wood frame. It was also from the time before freezers.  The old fellow said he knew an neighbor back on the farm who might have a propane fridge. He phoned his old neighbor. Sure enough, she had a fridge and wanted to sell it.

   Off we went. The lady took us to an open shed where the fridge had been stored. She bought it in 1948 before she had electricity. These were the days when refrigerators were like small boxcars. This thing was huge. She used the fridge until 1975. The fridge was covered with many layers of dust.  Drawers and racks were missing. The lady went around the yard looking for the parts of the fridge. Ever few minutes she came back with fridge parts. One of the drawers had obviously been used to feed the chickens. It was a mess with many layers of you know what. The other stuff was in similar condition.

   Well, we couldn't find another fridge so we bought this one! The lady assured me it would work. She explained that I had to use a propane torch to start the fridge.

   My wife worked hours to clean this wreck up. She used brushes and steel wool. She kept it in the sun for a week. She soaked it in javex. Finally, the fridge was proclaimed sterile.

   I took the fridge out to the lake and hooked up some copper tubing to a propane bottle. I used my torch and lit the fridge and away it went. I used the fridge for 25  years.

   Oh, I never did get my rustic cabin built. I did have a lot of fun in my garage turned kitchen living room.

  Last summer when I was selling the lot I put the old tank on Kijiji to see if someone would by it. I had bites right away. Two guys really wanted it. I sold it to the first guy for $75.00. The guy who wanted it was a refrigeration mechanic. He knew exactly what he was buying.
    Now before I lose all credibility, I have to tell you that this story was not made up. It really did happen as I described.

   So this fridge was a very bizarre thing to buy. It had a past.

    Have you ever bought anything this weird?
   

40 comments:

  1. i'm really surprised that it worked - and for 25 years! :)

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    1. If you total this thing up it was bought in 1948 I sold it in 2013 and it's still going. 66 years! Maybe I shouldn't have sold it.

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  2. It is odd but it turned out to be a bargain.

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    1. On a per year basis it was darn cheap.

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  3. Just a short answer - NO!
    Certainly an interesting story.

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    1. Ah c'mon. There must have been something wild that was purchased.

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  4. It is good we belong to a generation who keep their things and not throw them away while they still work.

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    1. You're right. many things today are built to quickly become obsolete

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  5. The refrigeration guy knew what a great deal he was getting. In our modern world with all the technology we have today, there are still the "Olde" things that work better and longer. Everything built or made today only lasts a short while and its cheaper to buy new than fix - what a waste. I cannot think of anything that weird that I bought, but when my feet stopped growing, as a young adult, my Mother bought me a pair of hand made shoes from our local shoe store(remember, I'm from a very small town) - well, my feet were measured and imprints made by the shoemaker and he made me a pair of "Oxfords" - which for many, many years later, even after his son took over the store, I had those shoes re-soled and repaired. How I miss being able to do something like this - gone - with the passage of time. I enjoyed your story very much Sir Red. Have a wonderful day :)

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    1. Today we need style! It's a complete waste and a con job to get our money.

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  6. It's amazing you were able to get it clean and it worked for so long! I can't think of anything I've bought that is quite like that.

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    1. Believe me , it was hard work but worth it.

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  7. Wow! That's quite a story, Red. I cannot imagine anything I've purchased through the years that holds a candle (or a propane torch) to this! :-)

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    1. You've lived a very sedate life!

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  8. Oh some story a propane Frig. Wow! . My Mom bought me Browns shoes but I think that is not a thing of weird. That was the shoe store back then I think. Was it Buster Brown shoes. You can tell I am living in the past but also going duh.Senior moment here. . Ha-ha.

    We have propane out int he country not frig but to heat homes. Now people have switched over to the fireplaces to heat homes or the electric heat. As Propane is highly expensive here to run.

    At our cottage dad had the box frig with the block of ice. He used those two handed prongs to throw in the frig to keep things cool.We used to have the frig round at the top white like a old Juke box looking shape. I don't know what that type was. I guess electric. Had that in our home till I got married.
    Now not sure if the box fridge was propane. I am not inclined to know back then as a kid . Maybe you know.

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    1. Both electric and propane fridges were the same shape. Believe me they were heavy. I worked on a delivery truck for two months. I know how heavy the old fridges were.

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    1. When I look back it's hard to believe.

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  10. We have a propane fridge. It is more modern than yours. It dates from around 2000 and was made in Brazil!! I am glad to read that yours worked for so long, hopefully ours will too. One of the best features of these fridges is that they do not make a sound. They do not come on and off, there is just a little flame that burns night and day.

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    1. We need more quiet appliances. I don't like furnaces and fridges running.

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  11. I cannot think of buying something for a use that needed so much work. I remember using my mom's peddle sewing machine which kept breaking down in the middle of every project that I started and that was enough antique work for me.

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    1. The work was part of the fun!

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  12. You sure got your money out of that old fridge. I wish my parents had bought property on a ake.

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    1. It was a good deal. I'm sorry my kids have moved away as I wanted to keep it in the family.

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  13. Love the story. I have never bought anything that unusual.

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    1. Well, you've probably never lived dangerously either!!!

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  14. There's so much truth to the overused line "they don't make things like they used to." I'm impressed with yours and your wife's dedication to get it in clean shape.

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    1. I don't take credit for the dedication. It was all my wife's work.

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  15. I can't imagine a fridge made today lasting anywhere near that long whatever powered it.

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  16. Another great story and adventure from your past. Not withstanding the amount of cleaning it sounds like you got your money's worth.

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    1. The fridge didn't owe me a cent. I'm sure the next guy will have it a long time. We gave him the story and I hope he keeps it.

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  17. I surely did buy some really dumb stuff. And some I never used. However, knowing I made some serious mistakes I have this delete button which erases the memory from such events..... "Those who do not remember history are doomed to......": :)

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    1. I think some weird things could be purchased at garage sales.

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  18. My goodness, you have wonderful stories!
    cheerio

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    1. ....and one day in school one of the kids said shut up, he's going to tell another story. I was bad.

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  19. It’s a marvellous story, not weird at all.
    Old gadgets last for ever and will be useful when new-fangled stuff has long gone to that dump called inbuilt obsolescence.

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    1. Rather sad that when we buy some stuff it is already obsolete.

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  20. I am just amazed that you managed to get all the chicken poop off it AND get it working again!! Great story.

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  21. I bought a wood cook stove, it sits in my garage. Well 75 dollars for your working fridge was probably a bargain! :)

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