The Timeline: Fridges
Tuesday 09 November 2010
1748 False start
William Cullen, professor of chemistry and medicine at Edinburgh University, demonstrates artificial refrigeration for the first time. His "vapour compression system" only meets interest among experimental scientists.
1834 Cool idea
American inventor Jacob Perkins reveals the first refrigeration unit to an admiring crowd in London's Fleet Street. Using fellow inventor Oliver Evans' unpatented ideas, Perkins' wooden box succeeds in "cooling fluids and producing ice". Perkins patents his idea, but high costs and unreliability make it slow to catch on.
1890s A dangerous chill
To improve the cooling process, toxic methyl chloride gas is used as a refrigerant but several people die when a faulty unit leaks in a Chicago factory. It is 30 years before boffins create the compound Freon so that fridge ownership no longer means dicing with death.
1930 Beginning of the boom
Electrolux begins selling the first widely available domestic refrigerator, marketed to Americans as "a compact product for the modern kitchenette". By 1939 two million US homes boast an Electrolux fridge.
1959 Fridges get hot
It took the summer of 1959, the second hottest on record, for fridges to take over from the cold slab in British kitchens. With temperatures hitting 34C, huge amounts of food are spoiled – good news for Electrolux's buzzing box.
1980s Magnetic attraction
A boon for time-pressed couples everywhere, alphabet fridge magnets go on sale in the UK. The fridge door briefly supplants notepaper as the way to tell your partner you've "gon2shops".
2002 White goods mountain
Britain gains its first "fridge mountain" after the EU bans burying old fridges and freezers. With no British companies able to process them, a hill of 15,000 appliances rises on Chelson Meadow, Plymouth. It's a year before the council sends the fridges for recycling in Germany.
2010 Old and cold
An English Electric fridge from 1947 makes headlines as the oldest refrigerator in use in the UK. Despite admitting it makes a noise "like a traction engine", its 89-year-old owner Ivy Ashley tells reporters she was happy with the appliance and plans to keep using it.
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...