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Fascinating facts about the invention of the
refrigerator by Carl von Linde in 1876.

Carl von Linde, German engineer whose invention of a continuous process of liquefying gases in large quantities formed a basis for the modern technology of refrigeration.
Refrigeration is chiefly used to store foodstuffs at low temperatures, thus inhibiting the destructive action of bacteria, yeast, and mold.
Invention: refrigerator in 1876
GE 1927 Monitor Top Refrigerator courtesy
Function: noun / re·frig·er·a·tor
Definition: A refrigerator (often shortened to fridge) and/or freezer is an electrical appliance that uses refrigeration to help preserve food.
Patent(s): In 1877, Carl von Linde obtained a patent for his refrigerator from the German Imperial Patent Office
727,650 (US) issued May 12, 1903 for Linde oxygen process
728,173 (US) issued May 12, 1903 for Apparatus for process
Inventor: Carl Paul Gottfried von Linde
Carl von Linde photo courtesy
Criteria: Modern prototype. First practical. Entrepreneur.
Birth: June 11, 1842 in Berndorf, Germany
Death: November 16, 1934 in Munich, Germany
Nationality: German
1000 The Chinese cut and stored ice
500   Egyptians and Indians made ice on cold nights by setting water out in earthenware pots
1700 In England, servants collected ice in the winter and put it into icehouses for use in the summer
1720 Dr. William Cullen, a Scotsman, studied the evaporation of liquids in a vacuum
1805 Oliver Evans of Pennsylvania, compressed ether machine, the machine is never built
1820 Michael Faraday, a Londoner, liquified ammonia to cause cooling
1834 Jacob Perkins, ether vapour compression cycle, Ice Making Machine
1844 James Harrison of Australia invents compressed ether machine
1850 Edmond Carre of France, invents an absorption process machine
1852 William Thomson & James Prescott cooling increases in proportion to the pressure difference
1855 Dr. John Gorrie builds compression refrigeration system based on Faraday's experiments.
1856 James Harrison commissioned by a brewery to build a machine that cooled beer.
1859 Ferdinand Carre of France, developed the first ammonia/water refrigeration machine
1871 Carl von Linde of Germany published an essay on improved refrigeration techniques
1873 Carl von Linde first practical and portable compressor refrigeration machine was built in Munich
1874 Raoul Pictet of Switzerland, a compressor system using sulfur dioxide instead of ammonia
1876 Carl von Linde, early models he used methyl ether, but changed to an ammonia cycle
1878 von Linde starts Lindes Eismaschinen AG, (Society for Lindes Ice Machines), now Linde AG
1881 Edmund J. Copeland and Arnold H. Gross start Leonard Refrigerator Company
1894 Linde developed a new method (Linde technique) for the liquefaction of large quantities of air.
1894 Linde AG installs refrigerator at the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Ireland
1895 Carl von Linde produced large amounts of liquid air using the Thomson-Joule effect
1901 Patent # 665,814 issued January 10, for a Refridgeator (Ice Box) invented by Henry Trost.
1911 General Electric company unveiled a refrigerator invented by a French monk. Abbe Audiffren
1913 Fred W. Wolf Jr.of the Domelre Company (DOMestic ELectric REfrigerator)
1914 Leonard Refrigerator Company renamed Electro-Automatic Refrigerating Company
1915 Alfred Mellowes starts Guardian Frigerato to build first self-container refrigerator for home use
1916 Servel models compressors were generally driven by motors located in the basement
1916 Henry Joy of Packard Motor Car Co. purchased the Fred W. Wolf refrigerator rights
1918 Guardian Frigerato purchased by General Motors and renamed Frigidaire
1918 Electro-Automatic Refrigerating Company renamed Kelvinator
1920 there were some 200 different refrigerator models on the market.
1922 Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters introduce absorption process refrigerator
1923 Kelvinator held 80 percent of the market for electric refrigerators
1923 AB Arctic.begins production of refrigerators based on Platen-Munter's invention
1925 Electrolux purchases AB Arctic and launches the "D-fridge" on the world market
1925 Steel and porcelain cabinets began appearing in the mid-20s
1927 first refrigerator to see widespread use was the General Electric "Monitor-Top" refrigerator.
1930 first built-in refrigerator is launched by Electrolux
1931 Dupont produced commercial quantities of R-12, trademarked as Freon
1931 the first air-cooled refrigerator introduced by Electrolux
1932 Gibson, then owned by Frank Gibson, manufactured its own line of refrigerators.
1934 an innovation, the Shelvador refrigerator, was introduced by the Crosley Radio Corporation
1936 Albert Henne synthesizes refrigerant R-134a
1937 more than 2 million Americans owned refrigerators.
1939 refrigerator with one section for frozen food and a second for chilled food, introduced by G. E.
1946 Mass production of modern refrigerators didn't get started until after World War II.
1947 GE two-door refrigerator-freezer combination
1955 80% of American homes now have refrigerators
2005 A domestic refrigerator is present in 99.5% of American homes
refrigerator, fridge, fridgerator, refrigeration, Carl Linde, Carl von Linde, william cullen, oliver evans, fred wolf, linde ag, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, James Prescott Joule,  invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.


Carl von Linde Biography   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Household Items    from The Great Idea Finder

100 Inventions That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages (1983)
/ Bluewood Books 
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.

The Social Shaping of Technology
by Donald MacKenzie / Paperback: 462 pages / Open University Press; 2 edition (June 1, 1999)
The book argues that social scientists have devoted disproportionate attention to the effects of technology on society, and tended to ignore the more fundamental question of what shapes technology in the first place
Linde: History of a Technology Corporation, 1879-2004
by Hans-Liudger Dienel / Hardcover: 352 pages / Palgrave Macmillan (September 4, 2004)
Today, the Linde Group, headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, is a global technology company dedicated to gas and engineering, material handling and refrigeration. This book examines the history of this company in the context of the history of technology in industry.
More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave
by Ruth Schwartz Cowan / Paperback Reprint edition (February 1985) / Basic Books (Sd)
Inventions such as washing machines, cotton cloth, and even white flour acted as catalysts by giving the less well-off a chance at the comforts the prosperous already possessed, but in general it was men and children whose chores were relieved by these innovations.

Never Done: A History of American Housework
by Susan Strasser / Paperback - 361 pages / Owl Books; (November 2000)
It is truly an eye-opening perspective on housework, not to mention a history of the tools of the trade.
A Social History of American Technology
by Ruth Schwartz Cowan / Paperback: 352 pages / Oxford University Press; (December 1996)
This book surveys the history of American technology from the early 17th century to the present, focusing on the key individuals, ideas, and systems that have shaped the important technological developments throughout American history.

DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
See how the computing capacity of World-War II era room-sized computers is now surpassed by hand-held devices; visit Zenith to see a side-by-side comparison of regular television and HDTV; discover how a Cold War era NASA program is transforming personal photography, and get the inside story about MP3s.

Household Wonders  
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
HOUSEHOLD WONDERS tells the story of seven taken-for-granted inventions that make modern life comfy, fast and clean: the stove, sewing machine, refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, toaster and mixer.


The Linde Group History
At a sometimes staggering pace and with a great love of experimentation, Carl von Linde created a new industry within just a few decades: refrigeration.
G.E. History of Appliance Innovation

GE transforms imagination into exceptional products. Learn more about our tradition of innovation and the many appliance "firsts" GE has unveiled.

Birth of the Cool
All of a sudden, the middle class could have things that seemed high class a few years before. Article by Katy Kelly for US News & World Report.

Refrigerator-Great Achievments
Which of the appliances in your home would be the hardest to live without? The most frequent answer to that question in a recent survey was the refrigerator.


It's a Cool Story!
Fred Wolf Jr.,patented an electric refrigerator in 1913. Designed to drop in through a hole cut in the top of an icebox, the quarter-horsepower Domelre plugged into an electric light socket to power an air-cooled refrigeration machine that needed no water connections.
How the Refrigerator Got Its Hum
Article by Ruth Schwartz Cowan from The Social Shaping of Technology: How the Refrigerator Got its Hum, Donald MacKenzie, Judy Wajcman, eds. Open University Press, 1985
Refridgerator History
Brief description of the evolution of the refrigerator.
Brand History
From the Appliance magazine Web site.
National Museum of Science and Technology
The largest of its kind in Canada devoted to Science and Technology education.


Chemical Achievers
It was the achievement of Carl von Linde in 1902 to take oxygen from the air itself—and he was soon extracting it in quantities approaching one thousand cubic feet per hour
General Electric
The official GE appliance web site.
Everything Electolux including Vacuum cleaners and who owns the name.
The new Frigidaire Home Products was formed January 1, 1997 by uniting three sister companies in the White Consolidated Industries/AB Electrolux family—American Yard Products, Frigidaire Company and Poulan/Weed Eater.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers ("AHAM"); your best source of information about home appliances and the industry organization that represents the manufacturers of home appliances.
Cool New Technologies
There are always some scientists and engineers who think completely outside the box. In this case, the 'box' was the idea that you need to use pressure to change temperature. Article by Andrew Kantor for USA TODAY.
The Impact of Refrigeration
Barbara Krasner-Khait discusses the effect refrigeration had on industry and the home. Published by History magazine.
History of the General Electric Monitor Top Refrigerator
The first models available to the general public, for residential use, were introduced in 1927. 
The Social Shaping of Technology
G.E. had agreed to manufacture a commercial refrigerator for the Audiffren Company, which held the American rights to a patent owned by a French monk, the Abbe Audiffren.

Milestones of the Millennium at the History Channel Web site.

How Refrigerators Work by Marshall Brain at How Stuff Works. Lots of COOKIES.and POP UPS


  • A domestic refrigerator is present in 99.5% of American homes
  • The earliest units used toxic refrigerants, typically ammonia (R-717), sulfur dioxide (R-764), or methyl chloride (R-40) as their refrigerant.
  • In the 1930s R-12 was used to replace sulphur dioxide as the most commonly used refrigerant. Trademark name for the product was Freon.
  • The Montreal Protocol (1987) serves as an international agreement to begin phasing out CFC refrigerants, which are suspected of contributing to the thinning of the earth’s protective, high-altitude ozone shield.
  • A Monitor Top refrigerator was sent on a submarine voyage to the North Pole with Robert Ripley (the originator of 'Believe It or Not') in 1928, the year after its introduction..
  • The millionth Monitor Top refrigerator was presented to Henry Ford in a special radio broadcast in 1931
  • The Linde AG, founded by the German scientist-entrepreneur Carl von Linde in 1879 with the name of "Society for Lindes Ice machines" today is the oldest German engineering company still in operation.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised August 18, 2005.

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