Thriftscore! vintage late 1800’s Ice Box

Vintage White Clad Ice Box

This is better than a thriftscore. This is another one of my favorite ways to procure neat antique items: picking them up from the side of the road for free.

Our neighbors just moved out. They were taking care of their elderly grandmother and sadly, I believe she passed away. What’s even more gloomy is that it looks like the lot of grandmother’s things were put in the front yard with a sign that said “FREE”. The kids in our neighborhood are particularly savage and within hours they were using this woman’s crutches like stilts, racing around in her wheelchair and were literally smashing the rest of the items with a hammer simply because the stuff said “FREE” and they felt they were free to destroy it. It’s true, we asked them and that was their response.

I love the past simply for it’s own sake and I treasure the stories behind old things so I was glad to have rescued at least one item laid out in the yard to be given away and good care will be given to at least one item that belonged to this elderly woman. A “vintage” White Clad ice box from the late 1800’s. I put quotations around vintage because it’s most certainly a reproduction. I don’t mind that. In researching it a bit, even the repros of this go for around Truth be told, I may’ve just glossed over it if it weren’t for it’s unique hardware. I love the latch and the manufacturer’s plate on the front. From what I can tell it’s real brass.

The door opens and there’s a small bit of storage inside. I thought perhaps to use it as a night stand or and end table. Uninspired reuses, I know. Do any of you have any more clever ideas on a possible use for this neat little thing?

PS – my readership has spiked alot in the last few days. Where are all you coming from?!

PPS – please notice my fantastic Queen poster in the background of the first pic.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hofftunes
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 12:08:38

    Your readership spiked courtesy of I imagine. That’s how I got here!

    I didn’t realize this was an ice chest when we bought a similar replica. My wife used it for a few years as a computer workstation. Actually, looking at your photos closer, ours is a lot taller but the emblem looks nearly the same. The door on what we have has a flip down desktop on the inside. It must be about 6′ tall. We get quite a few things from the curb ourselves. Nice find.


    • Daniel Jaocb
      Mar 03, 2011 @ 15:53:41

      Yeah! The thing about curb steals is that what they’re good they’re gooood. I’ll eventually post pics of a few 1920’s chairs and some dressers and bed frames I picked up from a “free” pile near my parents house over the summer. And as far as those ice boxes go, I guess they made a lot of repros of the White Clad brand in various shapes and sizes, like the one you have. I’m not a puritan when it comes to old things in the home. So many things from 100+ years ago are just splinters and rags. With the repros you get the look of the old-fashioned with alot more life & functionality if it’s a daily-use item.


  2. Jacob Morales
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 11:33:05

    Sweet find. I tend to be a purist but when you’re actually using these items, yeah, newer is better. BTW, speaking of curbside finds. I once found a fully functional Rhoades keyboard standing upright against a big trash bin inside of a storage place. I spotted it while driving!! I waited about 25 minutes outside in the hopes that someone would drive up and unlock the security gate. Sure enough someone did and I went in behind them and claimed my prized keyboard that I have to this day. You can’t beat a price like Free.99.


    • Daniel Jaocb
      Mar 04, 2011 @ 11:48:17

      Nice! I couldn’t beat that with a club! The closest I got this was seeing an ad in the paper for simply “Electric Piano $99”. I ignored if for a week then finally just called to see what make and model it was just to be sure.
      She: “ummm…it says “Rhodes Mark II, whatever that means
      Me: “I will be right over
      I eventually ended up selling that for almost a thousand dollars.

      Also, while we’re talking about vintage synths…I got a functioning Optigan from the Salvation Army for $35 a few years ago
      That’ll be on the auction block soon too.

      But that’ll never beat your trashbin steal, Jaco!


    • Daniel Jaocb
      Mar 04, 2011 @ 11:50:27

      PS – I’m a purist first but only when it’s practical. The lessons my wife has taught me. 🙂


  3. hofftunes
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 11:40:05

    A Rhoades keyboard?!! All the free sleds I got from the curb as a kid can’t top that. Must have been a rich neighborhood or someone who didn’t know what they had. Good for you.

    I used to live on a busy road and things we would put out were usually snapped up immediately. I almost got rid of my mother-in-law this way. 😉


  4. Trackback: Fishy Finds «
  5. Trackback: 1930′s European/German Haircut Redux «
  6. threegenerations
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 14:11:12

    How can you tell if it was an original? I saw a piece today that looked very interesting. Needed alittle cleaning. Any help would be greatly appreciated I can’t find anything online.


    • Daniel Jaocb
      Apr 07, 2011 @ 14:31:43

      Hey Threegenerations…
      I’m not an expert so I can’t speak with a great amount o authority on the matter but the giveaways that this was a reproduction was that it wasn’t solid wood all the way around. Three side were nice solid wood and the back panel was a thin particle board held to the unit with staples ~ something the manufacturer did to save a few dollars in making the piece. Secondly, the wood on the inside of the piece is finished. If it were to be used as an true ice box there’d likely be some kind of container within the piece to keep the ice cooler than the wood could or at the very least to protect the wood from melting ice. That part is just a guess on my part as I’ve not seen an original. The inside of the reproduction has no container that I’d expect and the wood is finished as it’s meant to be for storage inside.

      Hopefully some of that was helpful! Let me know if you get the item … I’d love to see it, especially if it’s an original.


  7. MidwestThriftster
    May 11, 2011 @ 13:21:17

    Luv the vintage restoration. Thinking of buying a vintage icebox, how practical are they if in good condition and from the early 1920s? In other words, should I be concerned with environmental issues?

    BTW – Your site is coming in high on Google, might be due to the algo change. You can always track your site stats/visitors through numerous online services.


  9. maggie
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 10:17:07

    The mother of a good friend had a pair of end tables in stored in her garage. I told her how much I admired the pair. When she passed, her allowed me to have them. I have them placed at either side of my bed. I decided to seek information on them today and I am pleased with the information I’m coming across! My guess that the furniture was of Amish craft was right! What I would like to know from you is how I can tell whether or not they are reproductions just by looking at them ? Thank you for your time.



  10. Beth Simpson
    Jul 19, 2015 @ 13:17:12

    Hi there. I picked one up similarly at a garage sale for $5. It is also a repro but I am using it as a bar which works great next to a wine fridge. Enjoy!!


Leave a Reply to Daniel Jacob Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: