The good old mini fridge. They are very handy for dorm rooms, offices, and as we all know many hotel rooms use them. Have you ever wondered where the refrigeration technology came from?
The process of refrigeration involves removing heat from an enclosed area. This process is achieved by the use of refrigerant, which is compressed and evaporates. Refrigeration is based on Physics when the refrigerant is compressed it vaporizes. The vaporized refrigerant then rapidly expands causing the kinetic energy to draw energy from the enclosed area, which then causes the freezing temperatures.
The first know example of refrigeration was shown in 1748 by Mr. William Cullen while attending the University in Glasgow. Surprisingly Cullen did not see the value of his invention and it was not until 1805 that Oliver Evans officially designed the first machine that refrigerated.
It was not until 1834 that another inventor Jacob Perkins designed a practical refrigerator even then it was massive and very expensive. People continued to use Ice to cool their foods for the next sixty years until a number of companies tried in vain to make cost effective refrigeration for the home. Companies such as Frigidaire and Domelre produced refrigerators such as the Guardian Frigerator and the Domelre, but they were still very large and out of the financial reach of most consumers.
Although the wealthy families had refrigeration it was not until 1914 when the Kelvinator Company produced their first refrigerator under the corporate name Electro Automatic Refrigerating Company. Shortly after the company officially changed its name to Kelvinator. By 1923 the Kelvinator Company owned eighty percent of the market share for refrigerators in America and even today the company is still running strong.
The first apartment-sized refrigerator was built by Electrolux in the early 1930’s. The refrigerator was compact and a precursor of technology to come. As technology continues to develop refrigeration will become lighter and portable. Currently there are portable mini fridges for the beach. We can’t wait to see what the next twenty years holds.
|© 1990-2005 Donald J. Mabry / The Historical Text Archive|