A short history of fridges and freezers

There are many ways to preserve food, such as pickling, canning, dehydrating, smoking, chilling and freezing. In the home, two of the most common ways are refrigerating and freezing.

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Today, we have high-tech appliances with all sorts of fancy features to make it simple and straightforward to freeze and chill food, but it hasn’t always been this way.

How did we chill food before refrigerators?

For thousands of years, humans have inherently known that food stored at lower temperatures lasts longer. This goes back as far as the cavemen, who stored food in the shade, packed in ice or in a nearby stream or river where the water temperature kept things cool.

In slightly more recent times, a pantry was an integral part of a home. This was usually built on the north side of a house so that it wasn’t exposed to the sun. Food would be stored on slatted shelves to allow the air to flow and there would have been a vent in the outside wall that allowed the temperature to remain cool.

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When did fridges and freezers become commonplace?

This is not as long ago as you might think. According to the Telegraph, just 13 per cent of UK homes had a fridge in 1959.

Although there had been attempts to create refrigeration appliances previously, it wasn’t until the 1920s that inventors began to experiment with compressed gases. Even then, there were a few misstarts; for example, the gases they used proved too toxic for use in commercial appliances. It wasn’t until the 1970s that most homes owned these white goods.

Originally fridges and freezers were developed separately, with the first freezers being of the chest variety. Today, they are more likely to be combined into a single, space-saving appliance.

Fridges and freezers have come a long way in just 50 years and are not only used in the home but also commercially. Today, supermarkets and retail outlets often use a display freezer from a specialist such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/glass-door-refrigeration/single-glass-door-freezers to supply us with all manner of foods in frozen form.

In the home, there are all sorts of new-fangled features that had not even been thought of 50 years ago. These range from fast-freeze sections to ice cube makers, eco-efficient models, and models with smart controls.

 

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