The history of the refrigerator

Refrigerator Repair | Expert Viking Appliance Repair

No matter how you look at it, refrigerators are necessary for every home. They keep all of our food fresh and prevent them from spoiling over the next day. Even as a kid, have you ever lived in a home that didn’t have a fridge? The answer most likely is no. But refrigerators weren’t created out of thin air. And the earliest fridges were nothing like we see them now. Let’s take a trip through history and see the origin of refrigerators. We’ll also take a look at how they evolved throughout the ages.

Refrigerators, the beginning

Have you ever heard of an Icehouse? These were old buildings that were used to store ice throughout the year. They’re commonly referred to as the original refrigerator. Icehouses were man-made and were always constructed close to sources of ice like freshwater lakes. Ice would be cut in blocks from a water source during winter and taken into an icehouse. People would then insulate the ice with sawdust or straw to slow the melting process.

The first recorded icehouse shows it’s construction as early as 1780 BC. Preserving food is crucial for survival and although our ancestors didn’t have refrigerators, they created something that did exactly the same thing.

In 1913, the first refrigerators for home use were created by Fred W. Wolf. The models he created were designed to be placed above an icebox. Since then, refrigerator innovation has been constantly improving and by 1918, the first fridge with automatic controls was created. The first refrigerator that really blew up in popularity was the General Electric “Monitor Top” from 1927. It wasn’t very efficient however as the compressor above the storage cabinet became very hot over time. As we know now, heat has a negative correlation with efficiency. 

The groovier styles of refrigerators

As the years went on, new styles of fridges began production. Times had changed. People wanted more than just a simple white refrigerator in the corner of their kitchen. They wanted something fun and exciting. Here’s a quick timeline of how the popular style changed.

  • 1950s /1960s – pastel colors (turquoise, pink, chrome)
  • 1970s – earth tones (Almond, avocado green, harvest gold)
  • 1980s – black
  • 1990s – stainless steel

Refrigerators of today

Technology has been rapidly advancing in our society today. We not only made our units more efficient and stylish, we’ve equipped them with smart technology that allows them to adapt to our everyday needs. Some refrigerators come with dual compressors while others come with full 21.5” screens where you can customize it with your calendar, slideshow, and more. You can even have automatic food ordering so you will never run out of your favorite items. The biggest change in our refrigerator technology is the rise of convenience. Smart fridges make it easier for you.

Our society has constantly developed a new way to make our refrigerators better. If you compare our fridges from today to the first one ever created, you’ll see a huge difference. As technology evolves, what do you think the next refrigerator will be like?