The humble refrigerator has become such a mainstay of our lives that we barely stop to think of a time before its existence. This post will offer a brief history of refrigeration, asking questions such as what happened before refrigeration, when was refrigeration invented, when did it become mainstream and what does the future hold?
What happened before refrigeration?
Prior to the invention of mechanical refrigeration, people found many different ways of preserving their food. Cooling systems were created from thing as basic as lining a hole in the ground with ice or snow. In Victorian times, iceboxes were made as a means of cooling food. Iceboxes were similar in appearance to large wardrobes with shelves that were full of ice. These methods were not perfect so tactics to preserve foods such as smoking, pickling, salting were very common. What was clear was that people were more than ready for a better way of keeping fresh foods.
When was refrigeration invented?
It was between 1830-1920 that refrigeration, as we know it came about. 1834 saw the invention of the first vapour-compression refrigeration system and 1885 saw the first commercial ice-making machine. By the time the 1920s came about these early inventions had been fine tuned to become refrigeration techniques akin to what we are used to today.
When did refrigeration become mainstream?
Whereas domestic refrigeration as we recognise it today became popular by the 1940s, commercial refrigeration had been in use for over 40 years prior. The reason for this delay was that refrigeration at that point had relied upon chemical that were considered dangerous for use in the home.
What are the future developments in refrigeration?
The key developments we can expect to see in commercial refrigeration include:
- Vastly improved refrigeration in terms of energy saving capabilities
- New technologies that will revolutionise the industry such as thermo elastic cooling and magnetic refrigeration.
- Refrigeration being more linked to modern technology such as the Internet of things.
Cooling systems have come a long way from early methods such as digging a hole in the ground and will soon be including advanced technology so as linking cooling systems to the internet. We hope you have enjoyed this brief history of refrigeration.