Weirdly we British call the fridge a fridge, short for ‘refrigerator', though others call it an icebox, because they ar...
Weirdly we British call the fridge a fridge, short for ‘refrigerator', though others call it an icebox, because they are traditionalists* whereas we tend to move with the times…
The history of artificial refrigeration began when Scottish professor William Cullen
designed a small refrigerating machine in 1755. Cullen used a pump to create a partial vacuum
over a container of diethyl ether
, which then boiled
, absorbing heat
from the surrounding air.
The experiment even created a small amount of ice, possibly for the first time other than adding salt to slush to create a ‘freezing mixture'.
* Prior to this ice was harvested, from mountains, and from frozen lakes, then stored in ice houses. That's been commonplace - for the absurdly wealthy - since the time of Christ, but it took an expatriate Brit, who moved to Australia, to finally make refridgeration a practical reality:
, a British journalist who had emigrated to Australia
. [Whose] 1856 patent was for a vapour-compression system using ether, alcohol, or ammonia. He built a mechanical ice-making machine in 1851 on the banks of the Barwon River at Rocky Point in Geelong
, and his first commercial ice-making machine followed in 1854. Harrison also introduced commercial vapour-compression refrigeration to breweries and meat-packing houses, and by 1861, a dozen of his systems were in operation.