Date: Sun, 1 Oct 1995 12:22:39 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: icebox

Here's my kitchen appliances rundown. (Louisville, 1940's)

In my early experience, 'stoves' were wood (and coal) burning affairs. We

distinguished them from other heat-producing affairs in the house by

calling them 'kitchen stoves' or 'cook stoves' (the latter, the more

traditional term).

When electricity (especially) but gas, as well, became more popular for

cooking, we called the implements 'ranges' (or, if the distinction was

necessary, 'electric ranges' and 'gas ranges'). This lasted for the

relatively short period in my life while the two were co-existent. When the

old wood-burners disappeared (except in 'quaint' places), we reverted to

'stove' for the new-fangled items. I never used any of those words to

distinguish 'oven' in any way. If I wanted to refer to the 'oven' in

either, it was always 'oven.' If I wanted to distinguish the other useful

part, I used 'range top' or 'stove top' (distributed as above) for the

general area or 'burner' for a single area in the new items and 'stove lid'

for the older ones.

My cold-storage terminology is less abrupt. 'Icebox' faded into

'Kelvinator,' 'Frigidaire,' and 'refrigerator' (although the less formal

'fridge' also developed early. (In fact, I suspect this was very early,

because I remember a family term 'fridgy-didgy' pronounced 'friddy'diddy'

by my parents, apparently as a baby-talk allowence for children's later

developing affricates, and I'm sure my affricates were well in place by

1943, although adults, of course, may continue to use baby-talk

pronunciations long after children aquire adult norms, as I remember to my

horror when my mother once referred to a 'faboo' [my baby-talk for

'flower'] when an older, and obviously cooler child was around). Oddly

enough, I later felt the brand terms to be more old-fashioned than the use

of 'icebox' for the modern appliance, and I still often say 'icebox' when I

refer to the starship piece of equipment I have today, but I wouldn't think

of using the old brand terms.

Dennis Preston


Faboo pickin' time is over in Michigan

Kate Catmull's observation on icebox is a useful one for me, one I've

thought about. I was born in 1943 and certainly remember granddad and

mom and dad using it. I've a sister four years my senior who doesn't

use icebox in her now Detroit suburban speech, unless of course I've

been modeling it.


John J Staczek * Phone: 202.687.5741

Dept of Linguistics * Fax: 301.469.9196

Georgetown University * Internet: camjon[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Washington DC 20057 * Home: 301.469.9196