By: Dinara Safiullina & Mengya Xu


In ancient times, Egyptians would boil water and place in jars on roofs so the cool air would chill it out. In places such as Greece and Ancient Rome people had the opportunity to gather and store snow.  This was common practice in the winter months and it allowed natives the ability to bury their groceries under snow or create an insulated area where they could place and preserve their items.  People also stored food in underground cellars where the temperature was lower than above ground.  More uncommon approaches involved placing food in containers and keeping them under water.  Although such methods would preserve the life of food, it still wouldn’t prevent food from going bad.  Once agriculture developed, the need for storing agricultural goods in chilled places without moisture became essential. People began using grain silos in 9000 B.C.E. within North America.

In the 11th century, Ibn Sina created a refrigerated coil that could condense vapors. This device pushed the invention of the refrigerator forward. The first person to demonstrate an artificial refrigerator was William Cullen in 1748.  The first refrigeration machine that did not use liquid to cool but instead vapor was invented by Oliver Evans.  Based on Oliver Evans’s invention, John Gorrie built a refrigerator where ice cooled the air for yellow fever patients. A more complex concept of refrigerators that utilized ammonia was developed by Ferdinand Carre in 1859.  Carl Von Linden used liquefying gas, which is the foundation of modern refrigeration technology. The first refrigerator was released by General Electric in 1927.  In the 1920s, Freon became more commonly used for its low toxicity qualities. This technology continued to serve as the refrigerant model for a long time. However, in 1994 the government issued a ban on the use of Freon but it can still be found in older versions of refrigerators.

General Electric “Monitor-Top” refrigerator, introduced in 1927.



The substitute for Freon is HFC-134a (1, 1, 1, 2-Tetrafluoroethane) which does no harm to the ozone layer. Before the A/C system was invented refrigerators were producing the biggest portion of electric bills.  In recent times, people have become more conscious in regards to sustainability.  In essence, this shift in mindset has facilitated the technology of refrigerators to become more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.  It has also helped consumers save money on electricity.  Current U.S. models that have energy star use almost 50% energy less than earlier models.  New technologies have helped deliver solutions toward both issues. Customers now inherit the ability to change the temperature and lighting according to their needs.  The oldest version of refrigerators had to be defrosted on a regular basis while new versions are frost-free.  Today, refrigerators are also becoming more digitalized.  Multi-touchable screens are installed into refrigerator doors that now allow one to control a multitude of settings.  Some units are equipped with weave-touch features where customers have the ability to change a setting to vacation, Sabbath, or fast freeze mode.  The sizes and configurations of refrigerators may vary depending on purposes, design and sizes.  Many configurations involve freezers being placed on the side, above or beyond. Some refrigerators contain ice making and water cooling systems. Modern refrigerators have even become customized with unique finishes and materials along with specialized hardware.  Finally, advanced technology is finding its way into the advancement of refrigerators.   People are now accustomed to controlling everything remotely including refrigerators with the touch of their smartphones.





The refrigerator of the future will be equipped with various helpful features. One of the features will be food tracking.  Each food type will be devoted a special niche in the refrigerator that will enable refrigerators to track the amount, expiration date, origins of the product and nutritional facts. Those niches will be helpful in processing food into ready-to-cook ingredients. It will do the dirty work for you such as washing, peeling, cutting, shredding and slicing the produce, which will make the process of food preparation much more enjoyable. It will have a panel where someone can pick the produce and the function that someone wants to do with it right from your smartphone via app, so your food will be ready while you are doing something else, for instance:

Ingredient: pineapple

Function: peel+cut

Shape: cubes

Add: cottage cheese

Your breakfast is ready, enjoy J

Another helpful feature for the seafood lovers will be a built-in fish tank in the refrigerator where someone can keep live lobsters, shrimps and fish alive until needed.  This feature will allow operators the ability to always have fresh seafood.  For those who do not have the time to do grocery shopping, the refrigerator of the future will store recipes from all over the world in its own data base and have the ability to automatically place an order of ingredients needed to a local store that had been manually set up.  Delivery agencies like this already exist through human interaction.  The refrigerator of the future will handle this action for you.                                                           





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4 “Refrigerator.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 May 2016.

5 Person, The Good Housekeeping Institute,, and “Electrolux Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator with Wave-Touch Controls #EW23BC85K Review.” Good Housekeeping. N.p., 18 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 May 2016.