When I wrote my trivia question about Mills Novelty Company I had
no idea that they made so many things. Hal Davis hit the one I was
thinking of: Mills made a very good 5-gallon ice cream batch freezer.
We had three of them and turned out thousands of gallons of excellent
ice cream with them.
One day I couldn't keep the refrigeration compressor on one machine
from shutting off after a few seconds of running. (I figured out later
that the reason was that I had forgotten to open the cold water line
that fed water to the compressor to cool it). So, using a plastic
ice cream spoon, I wedged closed the relay switch that kept opening and
cutting off the compressor motor, and I went about my work. Eventually
there was a noise like a bomb going off, the roar of escaping refriger-
ant, and clouds of vapor filled the room. How the people ran!
Of course, as I figured out later, the faithful old Mills kept trying
to condense the refrigerant from gas to liquid, which requires its
being cooled. The compressor couldn't condense the refrigerant, so it
simply packed the gas into the condenser until the pressure blew out
the safety plug. What an explosion! No permanent damage to the
machine or to the people. R-22 refrigerant isn't poisonous, though
there was enough of it to drive the oxygen from the room and (as we now
know) to do some damage to the ozone layer. But in the 1960's who knew
from ozone layers?
[ You're fortunate that it contained a Freon(tm) refrigerant. Well
[ into the 1930s it might have been sulfur dioxide (SO2), with
[ its sickening smell of rotten eggs! -- Robbie