From keeping our veggies fresh, to storing our favorite ice creams and juices, refrigerators have become essential for modern day living.
The first refrigerators, so to say, were built as ice houses. These buildings consisted of man-made underground chambers, which were built close to natural sources of winter ice such as freshwater lakes. During winter, this ice and snow would be packed into the ice house along with straw or sawdust that was used for insulation. The ice house kept the ice intact for several months on end, even through summer.
Many countries claim to be the home of the refrigerator. Over the years, refrigerator technology has evolved in leaps and bounds. One of the first home refrigeration units was installed at Biltmore Estate in North Carolina in around 1895. That same year, the first commercial refrigeration unit was opened by the Vestey Brothers in London.
Modern day refrigerators primarily work on electric power, although some of the older models use gas as a source of energy. Today, a domestic refrigerator is present in 99.5% of American homes. It works using phase change heat pumps operating in a refrigeration cycle. An industrial refrigerator is simply a refrigerator used in an industrial setting, usually in a restaurant or supermarket where large quatities of food stocks are stored. They may consist of either a cooling compartment (a larger refrigerator), a freezing compartment (a freezer) or both. The dual compartment was introduced commercially by General Electric in 1939. Some refrigerators are now divided into four zones for the storage of different types of food at different temperatures.
Refrigerators have become an essential part of our daily life. They have taken their place in almost every space of life, from homes and restaurants to offices and airports. It is now considered a home support system, without which a daily visit to the grocery store would be unavoidable.