Civilisation has depended on ways to store their goods throughout history. Before refrigeration there were few methods to keep foods fresh for a long time. Often meats would be salted or dried in order to save them. Most consumables had to be used almost immediately or they would spoil. Refrigeration has been a mainstream technology for the past years, but there were many attempts to do so before the age of compressed gasses.
Before freezers and refrigeration people found ways to keep food wares cool by using the earth’s natural thermal properties, but this process was only cool and not cold. Food could be kept in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. If a group lived in the right region, then often ice was packed in from the mountains and packed into rooms or small storage areas to keep it frozen. This process was time consuming and costly and often ineffective.
In the 18th century research began on the process of compressing gasses, which suck heat from the surrounding air causing it cool and freeze. Some work was even done by Ben Franklin himself. Strangely enough, the thing that drove the industry was beer and breweries around the world. Simply put, the brewers of beer needed an effective way to brew and store their product. One of the first rooms ever to be continuously refrigerated was in fact on the merchant sailing ship, The Dunlin in 1881.
In 1911 General Electric came out with the first refrigerator which was powered by gas, but it was large and expensive. In the 1930’s Frigidaire came up with the system that used Freon, a dangerous gas which depletes the Ozone layer. Until this time the main way to keep things frozen was still the archaic and not very sanitary ice box. Issues with iceboxes included problems with health concerns as they would become mouldy and tainted easily.
In the 1950’s it became relatively common and easy to create and make ice, and in this path, it became common to be able to make refrigerated areas or cool rooms. Freon (made by the DuPont company) gave rise to these wonders of the modern age. Due to this great achievement, we can live anywhere, ship frozen foods anywhere and have the ability to have a variety of foods at a fraction of the cost it would have been to ship them using old methods.
As technology and wisdom grows, cool storage rooms get better and more efficient.