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An often recited quip, both in my home and in popular culture, is "They don't make them like they used to." Most recently, the quote was brought up when our refrigerator stopped dispensing filtered water.

Is there data to back up the claim that quality (as measured by longevity) in refrigerators has decreased over time, from the 1960s to the 2010s?

  • Anecdotal evidence - my family had our washing machine repaired, and the repairman said our upright washer was sturdier than newer front-loading machines. However, it is also less efficient (water, power) than those front-loading machines. So there may be a trade-off between durability and efficiency. – Rob Watts Jan 15 '15 at 22:52
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    If the data exists, it's a good bet that Consumer Reports has collected it. – Mark Jan 15 '15 at 23:14
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    This question about car reliability is related (but OLD so don't see it as a precedent for loosely written questions.) – Oddthinking Jan 16 '15 at 1:05
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    The filtered water dispenser in my refrigerator as a kid never quit working--because it didn't have one because those weren't common in refrigerators at the time. So it's obvious, in at least one sense, that "They don't make 'em like they used to." – Flimzy Jan 16 '15 at 5:50

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