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Fun Furniture Fact #29: Rival Ice-O-Matic

Though they’re rarely the first thing that comes to mind on hearing the word “furniture,” home appliances can make just as much of an aesthetic impact as a bold chair or ornate table. Kitchen appliances, in particular, have long been designed with a keen eye for style. We frequently get beautifully designed vintage kitchen appliances in stock at Furnish Green, like this art deco Breakfaster, this Osterizer beehive blender, and this Maid of Honor ice cream freezer. But rarely has one caused such a stir of excitement as when the Rival Ice-O-Matic electric ice crusher arrived.


“It’s so cool-looking!”

“We HAVE to try it out.”

And we did. It crushes up ice cubes into little ice shards so deftly that it seems to deserve a round of applause afterward. It could be a faithful friend through cocktail parties and hot days alike, and look good while doing it.

A little history: you’ve probably heard of Rival, and there’s a good chance there’s at least one item in your kitchen with their name on it. The Rival Company dates back to 1932 when, in Kansas City, Russian immigrant Henry J. Talge started a small die-casting business that soon began to produce their own products. Rival’s first product was the Juice-O-Mat manual juicer. The “O-Mat” and later “O-Matic” trademark landed on most of Rival’s kitchen and home products for decades, like the Shred-O-Mat, the Grind-O-Mat, the Steam-O-Matic, and the Protect-O-Matic.

The Rival Company produced many colors and styles of manual ice crushers and, in the 1950s, expanded into electric ice crushers. These sleek boxes of chrome, enamel, and plastic encapsulate the image of the perfect mid century Donna Reed kitchen, highly color coordinated and filled with tools and gadgets for every need.

Though this is the end of the story for our friendly Ice-O-Matic, the biggest chapter of the Rival story doesn’t come until 1971, when they introduce the Crock Pot. This innovative slow cooker changed home cooking for countless individuals and made the Rival brand a true household name. The company still exists today, though their product line is not as “O-Matic” centered as it once was.

So whether you’re building up your vintage bar or just prefer your ice to be very small, consider the noble Ice-O-Matic.

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