Sunday, May 29, 2016

62. Brand Names That Became Everyday Pinoy Words #3: FRIGIDAIRE (Pridyider)

Almost all refrigerators have come to be called as "Pridyider" by folks growing up in the  60s,. thanks to "Frigidaire", a brand made by General Motors. The brand, introduced in 1958, also gave us the term "fridge", the diminutive of refrigerator. Print ad. 1961.

Like the television, the electric refrigerator was first introduced in the Philippines in the 1950s. Before that, housewives preserved their food in ice boxes, cooled by ice. One of the earliest refrigerator brands to reach the Philippines was called “FRIGIDAIRE”. It was such a very popular brand—despite the availability of other  refrigerator brands like Felda, Electrolux, Admiral (distributed by Yutivo Steel) and General Electric—that after while, Filipinos started to refer to any refrigerator as “FRIGIDAIRE” (or “pridyider”).


The “FRIGIDAIRE” brand had its beginnings in 1913 when the first electric refrigerator was offered in the market. . Alfred Mellowes redesigned it in 1915 and the next year,  the Guardian Frigerator Company was put up in Detroit, Michigan  to manufacture Mellowes' refrigerator. General Motors bought the company in 1918 and named its refrigerator “FRIGIDAIRE”, which they mass-produced and marketed. The new breakthrough home appliance provided much convenience in preserving and storing food like never before and families quickly began snapping them up.

By 1929 FRIGIDAIRE had sold one million units and business expanded exponentially. The product was further improved in  1931, when FRIGIDAIRE scientists developed Freon--a safe and revolutionary coolant. In 1958,  FRIGIDAIRE rolled out its  50 millionth product and became worldwide bestseller. That same year, FRIGIDAIRE was introduced in the Philippines, where it was manufactured by Refrigeration Industries Inc., with the full technical backing of General Motors Corp. Refrigeration Industries Inc. was a 100% Filipino-owned subsidiary of the Gregorio Araneta Inc, with an assembly and manufacturing plant in Quezon City.

1965 FRIGIDAIRE AD, expounds on the refrigerator's durability.

The early "Sheer Look" FRIGIDAIRE models had many modern features like instant internal lighting, easy-pull out shelves, hydrator bin, and egg and butter compartments. Initially, they were exclusively distributed by the American company, Erlanger and Galinger Inc., which had branches in Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao. Later, they could be seen at the showrooms of  United General Industries, Inc, and even Botica Boie.


Other outlets were quickly added nationwide—Pioneer Appliances, Inc., Cosmopolitan Jewelry, Merit Merchandising and DMC (Distributors and Marketing Corporation) and its provincial branches.

“First name you think in refrigeratorsFRIGIDAIRE” was bannered in early product ads—which apparently was true since the brand name became top-of-mind among many upper and middle class Filipino families. 

PRIDYIDER, horror movie poster
FRIGIDAIRE would go on and produce its first air cooled window air conditioners,  first compact electric range, and the first laundry center with washer and dryer—but Filipinos would always associate the name only with refrigerators.

Eventually, “pridyider” became an everyday word in our language, finding its way into our pop culture. There was even a top-notch MICAA basketball team in the late 70s called “FRIGIDAIRE" and at least two horror movies involving a “Pridyider” were produced.

In 1979, White Consolidated Industries (WCI) bought Frigidaire from General Motors, which, in turn was purchased by AB Electrolux of Sweden in 1986.

Electrolux continues to produce FRIGIDAIRE refrigerators today. One thing remained constant in this fast-changing world; then, as now, we call refrigerators--"Pridyider!"

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