1950s aluminum ice cube tray with lever.

Aluminum ice cube tray with lever, circa 1950s.

I was excited when I found this 1950s aluminum ice cube tray. I couldn’t help but imagine a wealthy Palm Springs divorcee lounging poolside, brightly colored fingernails on her sun-leathered hands, levering ice cubes for a Tom Collins. The best thing about using aluminum is that it makes ice much faster. Plastic and rubber trays are quite inadequate, as they act as insulators between the freezing cold and the water.

And aluminum doesn’t just conduct the cold air in the freezer faster, it also makes the cubes melt faster so they’re easier to remove. Unfortunately, things become a little more complex when taking a closer look. For decades there has been a discussion about the possible link between Alzheimer’s and the use of aluminum kitchen utensils. The discussion came up in the 1960s when autopsies found unusually high amounts of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer patients. But most scientist believe that the high aluminum concentrations are a result of the Alzheimer’s and not the other way around. To this date, no proof has been found for a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s. (More at our article devoted to the subject of aluminum and health concerns.)

Vintage ice cube tray

Redi-Cube ice cube tray

Lever of an aluminum ice cube tray

The lever from an aluminum ice cube tray.

Aluminum ice cube tray

Detail of the bottom of a pink aluminum ice cube tray.

Vintage ice cube tray

General Electric ice cube tray.

Aluminum ice cube tray

Ice cube tray made with aluminum.


  1. a.r.h.
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    such a cool find. i love the silvery pink color of the aluminum. reminds me of the first gen ipod mini.

  2. Posted February 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful photos. How did you take them?

  3. Posted February 1, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    Thanks. I actually didn't take them. A friend of mine did. This is his website – steviemada.com

  4. Nins
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

    that reminds me of Indian thali which needs to be made out of bronze for the taste and health according to indian cuisine. there is some kind of chemical reaction. very interesting. so the new style of producing the platter of silver should not be followed.

  5. EC
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    Those brought me back.
    My grandparents had those trays in use in their house when I was a kid.
    I remember the crunching sound made by pulling up the lever and how the frozen metal would always stick to my fingers.
    Thanks for that.

  6. Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    ok my dad dragged around this old fridge from his college days and would never let my mom get a new one…when i got my first apt after college he gave it to me as a gift. i was like…."ummm, thanks dad". but the best thing about it was these ice trays. they consistently supplied the never ending need for beautiful ice cubes in my seemingly bottomless cups o booze.

  7. ALSE
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    I also remember, my grandparents used them. Haven't seen them for a long time. Now you get the flexible silicone trays for easy removal of ice shapes. Revolutionary heat resistant non stick material…….. Have to look on fleamarkets for the old ones!

  8. Shayne
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    I have fond memories of my Grandmother having some of these. That was in the mid 70s in South Alabama.

  9. Charles
    Posted March 6, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Even if there is a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's, I don't think it's from ice cubes, but more likely from cooking food – particularly acidic foods – in aluminum pans. Aluminum won't react with water, as such, so I think the ice cubes are safe.

    I love these things, by the way, and have been picking them up on eBay. They beat the cheap plastic ones all to hell in terms of functionality.

  10. Posted March 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the great photos, and the memories. We had these when I was a kid and I think they worked better than some of today's plastic trays to break out the cubes. Of course, if you handled them with wet hands, the result was kind of like touching your tongue to a frozen pole. :)

  11. Russ
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Here is the new ice tray that is taking over homes, http://youtu.be/iP6cBHIFnys

  12. Posted July 8, 2015 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    ice cuba so good nice info..

  13. Jerry
    Posted April 7, 2016 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    My mother had a Frigidaire refrigerator for almost 50 years. It had the aluminum ice trays. It had an ice receptacle with the lever to release the cubes. Those trays would freeze quick. Thanks for the nostalgic trek.

  14. josue ramos
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Hi could you please quote the Aluminum Ice Cube Tray, thanks

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