ice, cool streams, springs, caves and cellars were long ago used to
refrigerate food. Meat and fish were preserved in warm weather by
salting or smoking.
cut and stored ice in 1,000 B.C.
B.C. the Egyptians and Indians made ice on cold nights by setting water
out in earthenware pots and keeping the pots wet.
century England, servants collected ice in the winter and put it into
icehouses, where the sheets of ice were packed in salt, wrapped in
strips of flannel, and stored underground to keep them frozen until
beginning of the 19th century, ice boxes were used in England
was harvested, distributed and used in both commercial and home
applications in the mid-1800s. The ice trade between Boston and the
South was one of the first casualties of the Civil War.
boxes lined with tin or zinc and insulated with various materials
including cork, sawdust, and seaweed were used to hold blocks of ice
and "refrigerate" food. A drip pan collected the melt water - and had
to be emptied daily.
refrigeration included Dr. William Cullen, a Scotsman whose studies in
the early 1700s dealt with the evaporation of liquids in a vacuum.
Michael Farady, a Londoner who in the early 1800s liquified ammonia to
cause cooling, and Dr. John Goorie of Apalachicola, Florida, who built
a machine to make ice to cool the air for yellow fever patients in
1834. Today's compression refrigeration system operates on a concept
adapted from Farady's experiments. It involves compressing gas into a
liquid which will then absorb heat. In so doing it returns to gas. This
is a simplified description of what happens in a home refrigerator,
freezer, air conditioner or dehumidifier.
winters in 1889 and 1890 created severe shortages of natural ice in the
U.S. This stimulated the use of mechanical refrigeration for the
freezing and storage of fish and in the brewing, dairy and meat packing
industries. Commercial refrigeration techniques were also applied to
railroad cars, were used in "coolers" in grocery stores and in various
ways in manufacturing industries.
Two of the
first home refrigerators both appeared in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where,
in 1911, General Electric company unveiled a unit invented by a French
monk. In 1915 the first "Guardian" refrigerator - a predecessor of the
Frigidaire - was assembled in a wash house in a Fort Wayne backyard.
and Servel models were among some two dozen home refrigerators
introduced to the U.S. market in 1916. In 1920 the number had increased
to more than 200. Compressors were generally driven by belts attached
to motors located in the basement or in an adjoining room.
Kelvinator introduced the first refrigerator with any type of automatic
control. One manufacturer's 1922 model had a wooden cabinet, a
water-cooled compressor, two ice cube trays and nine cubic feet of
storage space. It cost $714. In 1923 Frigidaire introduced the first
self-contained unit. Steel and porcelain cabinets began appearing in
1920s and '30s, consumers were introduced to freezers when the first
electric refrigerators with ice cube compartments came on the market.
Mass production of modern refrigerators didn't get started until after
World War II.
1930s freon 12 was used to replace sulphur dioxide as the most commonly
1940s frozen food storage became widely used by consumers
technology began hopping in the 1950s and '60s when innovations like
automatic defrost and automatic ice makers first appeared.
environment became a top priority in the 1970s and '80s, which lead to
more energy-efficient refrigerators and elimination of
chlorofluorocarbons in refrigeration sealed systems.
refrigerator is America's most used appliance, found in more than 99.5%
of American homes