A Brief History of Refrigeration

A Brief History of Refrigeration

Believe it or not, refrigeration is a very ancient practice. Early on, people realized that storing food in cool environments actually preserved it. Thus, ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had techniques for storing food. One of the most common techniques shared between these groups was simply to put food in a cave or underground. The cool temperature of the cave or ground was just enough to lengthen the life of meats, fruits, and vegetables.


Another very common technique was to take snow and put it in a storehouse to keep the temperature cold. As far as ancient refrigerating techniques go, this was a very effective means. The problem with this technique, though, was twofold. First, snow would melt and would have to be constantly replaced. And second, snow was not readily available in all locations. The Sahara, anyone?

A Brief History of Refrigeration


A method that was the most popular in the world well into the 20th century was taking blocks of ice and placing them in storage facilities. If you’ve ever seen movies taking place in the late 19th or early 20th century, you might have seen men unloading a delivery wagon full of ice and carrying it into a meat locker or general store. But, as modern refrigerators gained popularity, this method declined in popularity, although to this day it is still used in special situations.

A Brief History of Refrigeration

Modern Refrigeration

Eventually, it was discovered that mixing certain chemicals together created a temperature-reducing reaction. Inventors would take this discovery and use it to create the first refrigerator around the middle of the 19th century. But like many new inventions, it would take some time before refrigerators became readily accepted. Matter of fact, it took nearly a hundred years before refrigerators started to be mass produced. Now, refrigerators are so common that it’s hard to imagine life without them.

Future of Refrigeration

Refrigeration technology has continued to improve over the years. Refrigerators are currently environmentally friendly by using CFC-free coolants and consume less energy than their predecessors by having more efficient cooling systems. Possibly in the near future, refrigerators will be completely free from chemicals and will, instead, utilize magnets for cooling. Refrigerator brands like True and Turbo Air are also contributing to the development of new refrigeration technology. True, for instance, pioneered the use of CFC-free insulation, as in their T-49 commercial refrigerator, thus making their refrigerators more environmentally friendly, and Turbo Air manufactures their refrigerators with an evaporator motor that delays whenever the door is opened to reduce energy consumption in their M3R47 commercial refrigerator.

As technology continues to evolve, it’s inevitable that refrigerators will evolve as well – just think about the difference between your fridge from, for instance, your grandma’s. So be on the look out for the latest refrigeration technology; it just might surprise you. Let us know if you found this article helpful or not, and don't forget to share it with your friends.