Have you ever been without power in your house and realized that keeping food and groceries cold in the refrigerator is necessary? Imagine living in a time before refrigerators, no ice-creams, and no fresh vegetables.
The first refrigerator was invented in 1927, and by the year 1944, 85% of American households owned the refrigerator. In the 1950s, a new wave of technological innovations and advancements would keep customers interested for decades to come.
Here are the different evolution stages for refrigerators from the 1920s to today.
The invention of the electric refrigerator
The first electric refrigerator was invented in 1927. This refrigerator was called the ‘Monitor Top’ because it resembled the gun turret on the ironclad warship USS monitor of the 1860s. It had a compressor assembly which emitted a great deal of heat and was placed above the cabinet, enclosed by a decorative ring. These refrigerators used either sulfur dioxide, corrosive to the eyes and painful skin burns, or methyl formate, which was highly flammable, toxic when ingested, and harmful to the eyes. It did cost around $520, which is over $7,000 in today’s money.
Introduction of the freezer
In the 1930s, the freezer concept was introduced to consumers. In this decade, Sulphur dioxide was replaced with Freon 12 as the most commonly used refrigerant since it was safer and less toxic than previous refrigerants. In the 1940s, deep freeze became popular; however, these appliances did not go into mass production until World War 2 came to an end.
The rise of the Household refrigerator
In the 1950s, there were fancy enhancements on refrigerators. At that time, refrigerators were a prideful addition to any home. Game-changing innovations like automatic icemakers and automatic defrost were made on the refrigerators during this decade.
Futuristic designs and big freezers
In the 1960s, refrigerators reflected a simple yet futuristic look with soft edges and design curves. Freezer sizes were increased, giving more space to stock up and frozen family dinners.
A turn towards boxy and energy and a focus on energy efficiency
In the 1970s, refrigerators had a boxier look in the 1940s, and there was a market rise for compact and miniature fridges. The environment also became a top priority as energy-efficient refrigerators were introduced. The refrigerators now used about 2200kWh/year energy.
Sturdy and utilitarian
In the 1980s, new appliances were built featuring sturdy and utilitarian influenced designs. Chlorofluorocarbons were eliminated in refrigerators, making them more safe and sensible in the manufacturers’ and consumers’ eyes. In 1985 a fridge used about 1700kWh of energy.
French doors and stainless facades
The 1990s appliance designs were sleek and modern since introducing French-style doors and stainless steel to refrigerator facades. The bulky white refrigerators were gradually getting out of style as consumers favored more contemporary and glamorous designs. The energy consumption during this decade had fallen to just 850kWh/year.
Timeless aesthetics with modern-day efficiency
In the present day refrigerator market, we have futuristic and classic designs which offer homeowners a broad range of choices. Today’s refrigerators maintain the aesthetics of the best modern designs, coupled with energy efficiency advantages.
As of 2013, a typical refrigerator only uses one half of the energy that a comparable size model in 1970 used. Currently, the modern size fridge consumes only 448kWh a year.