By part number only
Browse by Manufacturer

When was the first refrigerator invented?
Above was the first refrigerator to go into manufacture for domestic by GE. Produced in 1925 then sold in 1927.

Refrigerators are an essential part of every modern kitchen. While just about every home makes use of a refrigerator, most consumers know nothing about the history of refrigeration and the invention of the refrigerator. The gradual creation of the modern refrigerator actually spans a process that began in the 18th century and culminated with the work of German engineer Carl von Linden in 1876.

The first efforts that eventually led to the modern refrigeration process that continues to form the basis for the fridges that grace kitchens all over the world today. William Cullen of the University of Glasgow first developed a process to create an artificial cooling medium in 1748. At the time, there did not appear to be much interest in applying the medium to use in commercial or home applications, so the process created little in the way of interest beyond the scientific community. It would take the better part of a century before someone would apply the basic principles discovered by Cullen and create a design for a refrigerating machine.

Created in 1804, the design was the work of an American inventor by the name of Oliver Evans. However, no working prototype appeared until 1834. At that time, Jacob Perkins built a refrigeration machine that is often thought to be the forerunner of the modern refrigerator. A decade later, John Gorrie designed what is thought to be the first practical refrigerator. In 1844, Gorrie, a physician in the United State, constructed a working unit based on the design of Oliver Evans. Gorrie created the unit as a means of cooling the air in facilities he set aside for patients who were diagnosed with yellow fever. Many people credit Gorrie as being the individual who for all practical intents and purposes invented the refrigerator.

Carl von Linden discovered and patented an improved method of liquefying gas in 1876, which made the process of manufacturing refrigerator models practical. Making use of such gases as ammonia, sulfur dioxide and methyl chloride, the new process formed the standard for cooling agents until the late 1920’s. By then, a number of accidents related to the use of these substances as cooling agents convinced manufacturers that a more stable element was needed. This effort led to the development of freon, which provided the standard for cooling agents for the bulk of the remainder of the 20th century, until the substance was leaked to damage to the ozone layer.