Invention of REFRIGERATOR (1922) (Von Platen and Munters develop a cooling cabinet for preserving food)

The refrigerator is one of the key inventors of the twentieth century.  Its use in food storage is vital, slowing the development of bacteria and keeping food edible for much much longer.  Before its invention, the only source of cold was blocks of ice, which could be bought in some placed and used with cool-box.  Most homes had no means of chilling food.

Baltzar Von Platen (1898-1984) and Carl Munters (1897-1989) were students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, when they collectively invented and developed the gas absorption refrigerator.  Unlike modern fridges, the invention did not require electricity driving a compressor, but relied instead upon an ingenious process whereby a refrigerant gas is put through a series of changes of state.  In Von Platen’s process, ammonia mixed with water is heated until the ammonia evaporates.  This gas is then passed through a condenser, which conducts heat away from the pure ammonia until it becomes liquid at much lower temperature than when mixed with water.  This liquid is then passed through brine and cools it, which in turn chills the unit.  The ammonia is then returned to a gas and reabsorbed into water so that the process can begin again.

The gas absorption refrigerator went into production in 1923 by AB Artic (later purchased by Electrolux), but it never truly caught on.  The electric refrigerator, developed at the same time gained much more investment and advertising and soon came to dominate the market.  By the 1930s, the gas absorption refrigerator had ceased to be produced.

A “Monitor Top” lectric compression domestic refrigerator made by Genral Electic in 1934.
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