DescriptionGrand Rapids, Michigan.
SEE ALSO Kelvinator-Leonard-A.B.C.
1883: Company founded.
ca. 1901: Some refrigerators are manufactured under the name Northern Refrigerator Co. of Grand Rapids.
1926: Company merges with Kelvinator (Detroit, Mich.); name changes to Kelvinator-Leonard Co.
1958: Kelvinator-Leonard Refrigerator acquires Altorfer Brothers Co. (A.B.C.) of Peoria, Illinois, and changes its name to Kelvinator-Leonard-A.B.C.
The founding members of the Grand Rapids Refrigerator Co. were Charles Leonard, president; Frank Leonard, vice-president; and Fred H. Leonard, secretary and treasurer.
Manufacturer of the Leonard Cleanable, Northern Light, and Challenge Refrigerators. In the 1890s the company also manufactured "catalogue cabinets", "shoe wardrobes", shaving cabinets, and folding boot racks. These featured porcelain-line steel inner compartments and solid ash exteriors. The company held patents for a number of other features, including removable interior walls which could be washed, air-tight locks, solid iron shelves, and an interior designed to preserve ice. In 1909 the company advertised combination refrigerators with a table surface on top, which could be substituted for a kitchen table in small kitchens, or combined with a "kitchen cabinet set" on top, to create a refrigerator/Hoosier cabinet. In 1910 the company innovated seamless inner compartments in its refrigerators.
In 1914 the company began an association with Kelvinator, which made electric, mechanical refrigeration systems, and introduced its own electric refrigerators. After the merger with Kelvinator, the company phased out ice box production. After the merger with A.B.C., the company diversified into production of electric ranges, washers, dryers, hoome freezers, and refrigerated cabinets for commercial use, in addition to refrigerators.