Many of the conveniences we use in our homes are the result of years of innovation by various inventors. We take many of the household appliances for granted without knowing how hugely they have affected the way we live our lives. Refrigerators are something we use for Staying Cool on an everyday basis as well as other household appliances such as showers, sinks and toilets. We put our food in fridges to keep it cooled and refrigerated to keep it from spoiling. We are able to store food for prolonged periods of time because of our refrigerators. Image life without ice cream, fresh fruit. Imagine having to go to the grocery store every day to make sure your food was fresh or not being able to store medicine.
Have you ever imagined if we didnâ€™t have fridges or how people back in the day stored their food? It is something we donâ€™t often think about how people did things Staying Cool back then without the technological advancements of today. Who exactly invented the refrigerator and how has it evolved over time?
Before mechanical refrigeration systems were introduced, preserving food has not always been easy. People cooled down their food with ice and snow. The ice and snow was either found locally or brought down from the mountains. If you wanted a cool drink, youâ€™d have to mix it with snow. In different times and areas of the world, people had to use what they could to keep food cooled. In 1,000 B.C., the Chinese cut and stored ice. In regions where there was no snow, in 500 B.C., the Egyptians and Indians made ice on cold nights by setting water out in wet earthenware pots. In the 18th century in England, when it was winter, servants collected ice and put it into ice houses. The sheets of ice were packed in salt, wrapped in strips of flannel and stored underground to keep them frozen until the summer time. However, even with ice, people were often limited to eating locally grown foods that Staying Cool had to be purchased fresh and used the day it was bought.
Apart from snow and ice, cools streams, springs, caves and cellars were also used the refrigerate food. The first ice cellars were holes that were dug into the ground and lined with wood or straw and packed with snow and ice. Back then, this was the only way of refrigeration for most of history. Milk and butter were most commonly stored in cellars, outdoor window boxes or even underwater in nearby lakes. However, even these methods couldnâ€™t prevent rapid spoilage since pasteurisation was not yet discovered and bacterial infestation was an increasing problem.
Before 1830, food preservation used time-tested methods such as salting, spicing, smoking, pickling and drying. At the time, there was little use for refrigeration since the foods it primarily preserved such as meat, fish, milk, fruits and vegetables, did not play an important role in the North American diet. The North American diet consisted mainly of bread and salted meats.
The ice revolution and iceboxes
In the early 19th century, iceboxes were used in England. An icebox is an insulated box that is cooled by ice. Itâ€™s a non-mechanical refrigerator that is lined with zinc or tin and used various materials such as seaweed, cork and sawdust to hold the blocks of ice. Iceboxes had to be emptied daily as a drip pan collected the melted water. It was commonly used before the discovery of a safe way to deliver electricity to homes.
Since ice was heavily relied upon, there were a lot of companies that entered the business of supplying ice. As more businesses were in the industry, the prices decreased and refrigeration using ice became more accessible. Refrigeration technology provided the solution: ice mechanically manufactured, which started the development of the mechanical refrigerator.
Development of the refrigerator
The first known artificial refrigeration was demonstrated by William Cullen at the University of Glasgow in 1748. He was a Scotsman who studied in the evaporation of liquids in a vacuum. He, however, did not use his discovery for any practical purpose. In 1805, an American inventor, Oliver Evans, designed the first ever refrigeration machine. The chemical refrigerator was then developed and brought to the commercial market in 1834 by Jacob Perkins and it used ether in a vapour compression cycle. Then in 1859, Ferdinand CarrÃ© made further refinements, however, refrigerators werenâ€™t a standard feature in private homes. Refrigerators were once a luxury and people still relied on blocks of ice for cooling food and storing food in wooden crates with pieces of wood and insulation materials. It wasnâ€™t until 1876 that households were revolutionised by Carl von Linde, who played a major role in the development of the refrigerator. By the 1930s, refrigerators became a standard feature in American private households due to chemical and technical advances.
Refrigerators save people time
In Germany, refrigerators remained a luxury item because they were very expensive and bulky for the average household. Furthermore, a lot of houses didnâ€™t even have electricity at the time which is why refrigerators were not common in households. Many villages and communities relied heavily on communal cooling houses where food such as vegetables, fruit and meat could be stored. This was a much cheaper option than purchasing a refrigerator. It wasnâ€™t until the 1950s that refrigerators started to become popular. As you can imagine, refrigerators saved heaps of time as it eliminated the need of hours of pre-cooking and regular trips to the grocery store.
The household refrigerator
By the late 1920s, the household refrigerator was an essential piece in the kitchen. Less and less people relied on the use of ice to cool down their food and by 1950, more than 80% of American farms and more than 90% of urban homes had a refrigerator. The household refrigerator changed the way people ate and it socially affected the household. People were no longer dependent on ice delivery and they didnâ€™t have to go to the grocery store on a daily basis.
How the refrigerator works
Refrigeration is a mechanical process that removes heat from an enclosed space in order to lower the temperature. The machine uses liquid evaporation for absorbing heat. The liquid known as the refrigerant evaporates at very low temperatures which produce a freezing temperature inside the machine. A modern refrigerator maintains a temperature a few degrees above the freezing point of water. A freezer maintains a lower temperature below the freezing point of water.
Refrigerators have replaced iceboxes and play a very important role in kitchens as well as offices and pharmacies. Refrigerators, just like any other appliance, need to be maintained in order for optimal working condition.
Here at Blue Innovation, we are committed to servicing and repairing machinery to benefit our customers in the long run. We provide second to none commercial refrigeration repairs in Melbourne at cost-effective prices. We employ a team of highly qualified technicians that have a diverse range of experience repairing and maintaining refrigerators. Apart from repairing, servicing and maintaining refrigerators, we also service commercial air conditioners, cool rooms and freezers. If you in need of Melbourne refrigeration services, call us at Blue Innovation to find out how we can best help you!