When Saul Caplan’s refrigerator was made, it was the worst year of the Depression, unemployment hit 25% and a loaf of bread cost seven cents. Caplan is a regional winner of the statewide Ohio Oldest Fridge Contest.
At the statewide level, two 1930 refrigerators belonging to residents in Upper Arlington near Columbus and Middleburg Heights, a Cleveland suburb, tied for the title of Ohio’s Oldest Fridge.
Saul Caplan’s 1933 General Electric refrigerator was declared the oldest fridge in DP&L’s service area after he scheduled to have it picked up for recycling through DP&L’s refrigerator recycling program. In addition to the $250 prize for being the owner of the oldest refrigerator in DP&L’s service area, Caplan also received the guaranteed $35 incentive that every DP&L customer receives for participating in the program.
Saul and his wife, Tay, live in the house where he grew up. “We believe the refrigerator belonged to my husband, Saul’s great-grandmother,” Mrs. Caplan said. “It’s been in the family. It was an heirloom.”The cream-colored appliance, with the motor on top in a huge, round cylinder, also had a “nifty, little pedal” for your foot, according to Mrs. Caplan. “If you had your hands full, you could press it with your foot and it would magically open.” Mrs. Caplan called the contest “a blessing” because it helped get a little recognition for the family and great-grandma’s refrigerator. Caplan’s refrigerator was one of thousands of refrigerators and freezers picked up across the state during a joint effort between electric utilities to find the oldest working fridge in the state. In addition to uncovering the state’s oldest working refrigerators, the campaign succeeded in saving the state a significant amount of energy by removing these and many more less aged, but still outdated and inefficient devices from the electric grid. All DP&L customers can continue to save money by recycling older, inefficient appliances. To participate in the program, DP&L customers simply call 1-877-545-4112 or visit www.dpandl.com/save. Appliances to be recycled must be in working order and between 10 and 30 cubic feet — the standard size for most models. Recycling refrigerators and freezers creates many benefits for DP&L customers and the environment. Many people don’t realize older refrigerators and freezers can use up to three times more energy to run than newer models built to higher energy-efficiency standards. By recycling, program participants can save as much as $150 a year through lower electricity costs by not operating an older refrigerator or freezer.