A fridges story
Mankind has been inventing ways to preserve the food for longer times ever since we where living inside Caves; only difference with nowadays is that we where using the help of Mother Nature (and probably a few chemistry) to achieve that. However, it was not until the mid 1700s that we got around having the first artificial fridge to boast about!
The first artificial refrigerator was built by William Cullen at the Glasgow University in the middle of the 1700s. It used the vapor compression refrigeration process (invented by Michael Faraday). In 1805, Oliver Evans introduced the first fridge to use vapor in place of liquid. A long period of small advancement in the field passed; in 1850-51 Dr.John Gorrie demonstrated the first ice maker and about 5 years after that James Harrison invented the vapor compression refrigeration intended to be used by the meat industries. In 1902 Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first air conditioning system.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, more than half the households of United States used iceboxes in order to preserve their food. They would buy pieces of ice (witch by the time where quite expensive) and use them in order to keep their foods cold for long periods of time. A small exception to this rule were a few, very wealthy families who would install mechanical refrigeration systems inside their homes.
By 1911, General Electric manufactured and made available to the market fridges based on Audiffren’s sulfur’s dioxide process. At the time, those fridges were quite expensive; 1000$, witch at the time was about twice the cost of an automotive.
As time passed, home refrigerators improved and became more affordable. Usually, those refrigerators required that the mechanical parts would be installed in the basement while the cold box could stay in the kitchen of the house.
In 1923, the first self-contained fridge made its appearance and 4 years later General Electric introduced the first widely used refrigerator, the “Monitor-Top”. An astounding number of more than 1.000.000 units was produced and this definitely marked “Monitor-Top” as the first widespread refrigerator of all times. In fact, you can still find functional Monitor-Top units today!
Approaching to the recent years, during the 1930s the Freon based refrigerators gained popularity. However, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that home fridges went into mass production. Nowadays, due to environmental issues, CFC(Freon) refrigerators are banned. Of course, this is not a problem at all because numerous exciting new refrigeration techniques have been invented along with other technologies such as defrosting and automated ice making.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of Fridge resources
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