Refrigerator Essay

This essay has a total of 1510 words and 8 pages.


Refrigerator





History of the Refrigerator


Back in time a long time ago, around 500 B.C. the Egyptians and Indians made ice on cold
nights by setting water out in earthenware pots and keeping the pots wet. In the 18th
century England, servants collected ice in the winter and put it into icehouses, where the
sheets of ice were packed in salt, wrapped in strips of flannel and stored underground to
keep them frozen until summer. Before the refrigerator or “ice box” was
introduced people used snow and ice to keep their food cool, which was either found
locally or brought down from the mountains. Cellars and caves were also used to
refrigerate food. Meat and fish were preserved in warm weather by salting or smoking.
The first cellars were holes dug into the ground and lined with wood or straw and packed
with refrigeration for most of history.

At the beginning of the 19th century, ice boxes were used in England. These ice boxes
were typically made of wood, lined with tin or zinc and insulated with various materials
including cork, sawdust or seaweed. They were used to hold blocks of ice and refrigerate
food. Ice was delivered as needed (people simply hung the “Ice Today” sign in
their window for the delivery man) and a drip pan collected the melted water which then
had to be emptied daily.

Natural ice was harvested, distributed and used in both commercial and home applications
in the mid-1800s. The ice trade between Boston and the South was one of the first
casualties of the Civil War. Warm winters in 1898 and 1890 created severe shortages of
natural ice in the U.S. This stimulated the use of mechanical refrigeration for the
freezing and storage of fish and in the brewing, dairy and meat packing industries.
During the nineteenth century, numerous experimental devices were developed in an effort
to achieve practical artificial refrigeration. Compressed ether machines were built in
Pennsylvania by Oliver Evans in 1805 and in Australia by James Harrison in 1855, and Dr.
John Gorrie in Florida built an expanding air-cooling machine in 1844. In 1851 Dr. John
Gorrie created the first commercial ice making machine to cool the air for his yellow
fever patients. Soon thereafter, refrigeration and freezing became popular methods of
preserving foods for transport or storage, and in place where natural ice was not
available.

Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from an enclosed space, or from a substance,
to lower its temperature. A refrigerator uses the evaporation of a liquid to absorb heat.
The liquid, or refrigerant used in a refrigerator evaporates at an extremely low
temperature creating freezing temperatures inside the refrigerator.

William Cullen at the University of Glasgow demonstrated the first known artificial
refrigeration in 1748. However, he did not use his discovery for any practical purpose.
In 1805, an American inventor, Oliver Evans, designed the first refrigerator machine.

The development of mechanical refrigeration systems began in the early19th century and
arose mainly from the needs of meat producers in the USA, South America, Australia and New
Zealand, who were facing many difficulties in shipping their produce to their export
markers in Europe. Many experimental systems were built in the 1830s, utilizing the
cooling effect produced by the expansion of compressed air or carbon dioxide or by the
evaporation of volatile fluids such as ammonia. The first meat freezing plant was built
in Australia in 1861. This company had its own slaughterhouse, freezing plant and cold
store and used ammonia compression freezing system.

By 1870, ships were successfully transporting chilled beef (cooled to one or two degrees
below freezing point) in insulated holds cooled by ice mixed with salt (a technique which
lowers the freezing point of ice and hence the temperature) but this method could only be
used on the relatively short trips from the USA to Europe.

In 1925 American inventor and industrialist Clarence Birdseye came up with a method of
freezing that did not rob food of its flavor. His method, called quick freezing operated
on the premise that the faster the freezing, the less danger there was that ice crystals
would rupture the cell walls of the food item. Some of the foods that Clarence Birdseye
subjected to quick freezing were peas, spinach, rasberries, cherries, fish and meat.

The development of refrigeration systems was greatly assisted by the introduction of
reliable electric motors and public electricity supplies and the first domestic machines
came on the market shortly after World War I, deep freeze units for home use being
introduced in the mid 1930’s.

The first refrigerator, as opposed to the simple ice box, designed for home use was the
Domelre, which was manufactured in Chicago in 1913. A number of other competing machines
quickly appeared, but in 1918 Kelvinator marketed a much more practical home refrigerator.
Frigidaire followed with their model in 1919. In 1927, General Electric introduced a
refrigerator with a “monitor top” containing a hermetically sealed compressor.
U.S. electric refrigerator sales top 800,000 and the average price of a refrigerator
falls to $292 in 1929.

The first built-in refrigerator was launched by Electrolux in 1930. A compact product for
the kitchenette in the small, modern apartments of the time. The next year they produced
the first air-cooled refrigerator. The familiar dual temperature refrigerator is in use
today, with one section for frozen food and a second for chilled food, was introduced into
mass production by General Electric in 1939.
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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