Refrigeration History

The early history of the development of refrigeration has been reviewed and summarized (1-4). Table 1 presents some of the important milestones in the development of refrigeration.

The use of cool conditions for food storage dates back before the dawn of recorded history. Closer to modern times, in 1683, Robert Boyle reported the effects of refrigeration and freezing on foods and insects. Ice was reportedly used by a Massachusetts fisherman to preserve his catch until it could be brought to port and marketed (5). Natural ice, harvested in winter and stored in special facilities, was the primary source of refrigeration until the development of mechanical systems for ice making in the mid 1800s, based on the developing science of thermodynamics.

The early development of mechanical refrigeration was targeted to medical needs rather than to food preservation. John Gorrie developed a mechanical system, using air compression and expansion and the Joule-Thomson effect, to

3. D. Y. C. Fung et al., "Mixed Culture Interactions in Anaerobic Fermentations," in L. E. Erickson and D. Y. C. Fung, eds. Handbook on Anaerobic Fermentations, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1998, pp. 501-536.

4. G. Sauder, Cheese Varieties and Descriptions, USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 54, Washington, D.C., 1978.

5. F. V. Kosikowski, and V. V. Mistry, Cheese and Fermented Milk Foods, 3rd ed. Vols. 1 and 2, Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1997.

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