Poetic tribute to the first fridge

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
13 July 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

When was the last time a household appliance moved you to poetry?

refrigerator pamphlet Flyer advertising Electrolux Refrigerators, circa 1960. (TL 011888)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Discovery Centre recently received an unusual inquiry from Sherryn Danaher who was seeking more information about the Harrison Refrigerator model at Scienceworks. Accompanying her request was a poem dedicated to the tale of the first commercial-scale refrigerator - invented in the 1850s by a Geelong man called James Harrison. Sherryn explained: 

Some years ago I read the fascinating story of James Harrison and his fridge. It wasn't until the 1930's that Kelvinator (if my memory serves me right) seriously started producing refrigerators for the mass market. It struck me that, as so many times since, Australia dipped out on being the forerunner in the development of this appliance. Being a poet, I was inspired to put the story to rhyme and A.A Milne popped up from the dark recesses.

She gave us permission to publish her poem here. Enjoy!

 

Mr. Harrison's Invention
(apologies to A.A.Milne)

James James Harrison Harrison
Inventor of cooling our beer
Never had heard of whitegoods
Though he's their pioneer.
James James
Said to his country
'Australia' he said, said he
'You must never let meat rot in the heat
Without first consulting me.'

James James
Harrison's invention
(commonly known as fridge)
Was the talk of our town
With its compressor renowned
Cooling lamb and our national swig.

James James Harrison's fridge
Finally wreathed in gold
James James Harrison spoke
When officially told
'So the Melbourne Exhibition
Lauds my invention'
Said to the crowd said he
'I'm proud to receive
though hard to believe in 1873.'

The very next century
We put up a notice
'LOST, STOLEN OR STRAYED !
JAMES JAMES
HARRISON'S FRIDGE
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID
LAST SEEN DEPARTING GEELONG
SUCH A LAMENTABLE LOSS.'
He tried for his country, like many a discovery.
No one had given a toss.

 

Three generations of Harrisons with the Harrison Refrigerator Model. Three generations of Harrisons with the Harrison Refrigerator Model on display at Scienceworks. Left to right: Christopher, James and Mark Harrison.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Harrison Refrigerator Model is on display at Scienceworks

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Adrienne 14 July, 2012 09:08
Wonderful poem and a great story. I'm sure AA Milne would enjoy the twist. Geelong must have been a good place for inventors. Gilbert Toyne, born near Geelong, invented and patented the first metal hydraulic hoist way before Hills took full production to the Australian masses.
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