The History of Refrigeration

June 17, 2019

Refrigerator history began around 1700 BC, when it was recorded that ice houses were used near the Euphrates River (Mediterranean region). Ice pits were found in China dating back to 700 BC, and ice storage houses and warehouses were prominent until 1756. At this time, William Cullen invented the concept of artificial refrigeration. Soon after, from 1782-1892, vapor compression refrigeration systems, a gas absorption systems, and vacuum insulation refrigeration products were invented. In 1894, Marcel Audiffren patented the first hermetically sealed refrigeration unit. 

History of Refrigeration for Modern Use

In 1915, Alfred Mellowes began the shift of refrigeration for use inside homes, marking the first time that refrigerator storage was used for household groceries. In 1923, electric refrigeration came to fruition, and in 1926, the first hermetic compressor surfaces appeared on the market. In 1928, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants such as Freon were introduced with the use of compressor based refrigeration. All modern refrigerators use this technology to cool and store products. By 1955, 80% of American households owned a refrigerator. By 2016, almost 100% of homes had a refrigerator (and 23% of homes had two or more refrigerators).

The Future of Refrigeration

Phononic is an innovative company specializing in solid state cooling technology. Our solid state cooling technology is replacing the antiquated, 100-year-old compressor based refrigeration as a more efficient cooling method, with semiconductors at the core. Phononic, founded in 2009, introduced the Phononic Heat Pump (PHP) product in 2012. The PHPs allowed us to displace compressors as the core cooling element of a system, utilizing semiconductors in their place. In 2016 and 2017, our refrigeration solutions gained national acknowledgment on CNBC's Mad Money as a Top 50 Disruptor. Phononic continues to provide high-quality solid state cooling and innovation within life sciences & healthcare, commercial food & beverage and optoelectronics.