They engineered this, it seems perfectly reasonable (all that squatting for the crisper?), so why does it seem so bizarre!

I postulate that one reason that the cabinet refrigerator never caught on was because of standardization.  Most new homes are built to accommodate a stand-up fridge.  Home builders would have to choose: stand-up or cabinet level?  Whatever home builders chose is what most home buyers would go with, unless they re-modeled their kitchens.  Standardization, while quite useful, can also kill innovation.

NEW (Apr. ’10)!  Another example (bottom left):

(Both images from Vintage ads: here and here.)

ALSO NEW (Apr. ’10)! In the comments, ckilgore linked to a photograph of her grandma’s kitchen… that totally had, and still has, one of these fridges! People in the comments had lots of good reasons for why it was impractical… but I still think it’s cool:

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.