Frigidaire was founded as the Guardian Frigerator Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and developed the first self-contained refrigerator, invented by Nathanniel B. Wales and Alfred Mellowes in 1916. In 1918, William C. Durant, a founder of General Motors, personally invested in the company and in 1919, it adopted the name Frigidaire.
The brand was so well known in the refrigeration field in the early-to-mid-1900s, that many Americans called any refrigerator a Frigidaire regardless of brand. In France, Quebec and some other French-speaking countries or areas, the word Frigidaire is often in use as a synonym today. The name Frigidaire or its antecedent Frigerator may be the origin of the widely used English word fridge, although more likely simply an abbreviation of refrigerator which is a word known to have been used as early as 1611.
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