The History of Commercial Refrigeration

When did people start refrigerating their goods? How did people in colonial days keep their food cold? When we sit and think about refrigeration, most people realize they don’t know much about it. The history of refrigeration technology goes as far back as ancient times, but the most recent refrigeration style is much closer than you think.

Refrigeration in the Ancient Times

In ancient times, people discovered creative ways to preserve beverages and food. And while their methods were time-consuming (like ice harvesting), they paved the way for us to develop productive artificial refrigeration methods.

The Greeks and Romans kept ice and snow in large in-ground pits to cool beverages. This method was helpful because the earth maintains a steady temperature once you’re 30ft down.

The Egyptians would put warm and boiling water in clay jars and leave them on their roofs overnight to let the cold wind cool the water.

Many historians consider the Persian method the best and more realistic for maintaining frozen foods.

refrigeration in ancient times

They would store ice in pits called Yakhchāl that preserved food for extended periods.

The Refrigerator Market in the 1800s

By the late 1700s to early 1800s, ice was a commodity for the rich and famous who could afford expensive transportation or house units. But even then, the meatpacking industry was the primary ice consumer during this time.

refrigerator market in 1800

That was until Frederic Tudor found a way to transport ice from New England and store it in refrigeration units in Havana and Charleston. Ice consumption increased once he refined his methods and other businesses learned about the lucrative ice business.

Self-Contained Refrigerators in the 1900s

In 1911, General Electric (GE) developed the first home refrigerator that didn’t use toxic gases or ice to cool and freeze food. And when Frigidaire developed freon in the 1930s, household and commercial refrigerators were everywhere.

Commercial Refrigeration Units in the 2000s

What started as a small refrigerating machine in the early 1900s turned into a multibillion-dollar industry. Today, many commercial refrigeration companies look for new ways to maximize a unit’s ability and save money. As new technologies develop, commercial properties benefit from improved modern refrigeration systems.

At PGS, we work hard every day to ensure high-quality service and products. We want every commercial property with modern refrigerators to benefit for years from their investment. That’s why we only use the best American-made products on the refrigerator market to repair and replace minor parts on your commercial refrigeration systems. We knew how important it is to keep food fresh. Contact us today to learn how we help you maintain your modern systems.