If you’ve had some time on your hands, you may have wondered about your refrigerator. It’s a handy device, isn’t it? But when did humans decide to refrigerate food and how did we get to the refrigerator we have today? Wonder no more!

Early Uses of Ice

The earliest use of cold to store food was found in ancient Egypt and China. Before the refrigerator, humans used various means of storing food. The earliest method was using ice and snow. Cellars were often used because of the cool temperatures and the earliest ones were lined with things such as wood and straw. An ice house would often be built near a river or other body of water to help maximize colder temperatures. For most of mankind’s history, this was the way food was stored and kept cold.

The “Ice Box”

You may have an older relative who calls your fridge the “ice box”. That’s because, in the 1800s, the ice box is what was used to store food. These were typically wooden boxes with insulating interiors using straw, sawdust, tin, or cork and had a drip tray for when the ice melted. Early ice was harvested from local ponds or lakes and eventually, ice was produced by companies that would deliver blocks of ice to local households.

Artificial Refrigeration

The first known method of artificial refrigeration was invented at the University of Glasgow in 1748 but it never found any practical use. It was American inventor, Oliver Evans, who designed the first “refrigerating machine” and it finally found a practical use when Jacob Perkisin took Evans’ design and added a vapor compression cycle in order to cool air for yellow fever patients. It was the first “air conditioner”, if you will. Then, in 1876, the German engineer Carl von Linden patented the process to liquefy gas that is still part of refrigerator technology today.

An electric refrigerator was invented and sold for the first time in 1913. This was called the Domelre which was an air-cooled unit that was mounted on top of an ice box. But electric refrigerators were quite expensive and only owned by the wealthy.

In the 1940s, refrigerators became mass produced and most modern families could own one. And ever since, we see continual improvements in the style and performance of our household refrigerators.

Toxic Gases

The earliest refrigerators up until 1929 used toxic gases which caused a few fatalities when the refrigerators leaked. So there was a collaborative effort by some corporations to find a more safe refrigerant. That lead to the development of Freon that became our standard refrigerant until recently when it was discovered that Freon posed its own toxic risks and also contains chlorofluorocarbons which damage the ozone layer. Today, most modern refrigerators use the refrigerant called HFC-134a.

Now you can dazzle your friends and family with your amazing refrigerator knowledge. But you may still need a professional when you require a refrigerator repair. If so, call the Ajax appliance repair technicians at ES Appliance Repair. We are the real experts on refrigerators and any of your other household appliances.