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A Brief History of Freezing

ice from refrigerated freezer or mobile fridge cold room

From the Chinese harvesting ice from rivers as far back as 1000 BC to the vast commercial refrigerated buildings and the modern day domestic mobile fridge/freezers we see today, the process of storing and preserving food using the cold has come a fairly long way.

Before electricity and safe refrigeration gases such as R452A (which our cold rooms run off) were widely available, we used a fairly archaic process known as cellaring. Using a walk in root cellar to store foods such as meat and dairy products to persevere them for as long as possible over the winter periods. A room below ground level was constructed into the bedrock or dirt and walled with stone, the idea was to hold food in an optimum condition for an extended period by controlling the temperature, humidity, and light.

The process of cellaring was a natural progression of the food storage and preservation technologies of the time, evolving from the more expensive and less pedestrian process of harvesting ice and holding it in ice houses. These were buildings where the caches of ice were packed in salt, covered in cloth, and stored underground to keep them frozen until summer.

With natural refrigeration proving a fairly dangerous and expensive task some people turned their heads towards artificial refrigeration. Pioneering Scottish professor William Cullen designed a small refrigerating machine as far back as 1755. Cullen used a pump to create a partial vacuum over a container of diethyl ether, which then boiled, absorbing heat from the surrounding air. The experiment even created a small amount of ice, but had no practical application at that time.

Many scientists and notable people such as Benjamin Franklin tried myriad ways to create artificial refrigeration that was both practical and safe. One such way was the use of Synthetic gases, one of which was Freon. Developed in the 1920’s It had a low boiling point, surface tension, and viscosity which makes it an ideal refrigerant. However In the 1970s, it was found that Freon poses a problem for the environment.

Luckily over time, gas refrigerants were created that no longer posed heath risks and allowed food to last much longer. Which is why today we are able to store our products in a variety of fridge/freezer combinations, including the mobile cold rooms we use to provide our fast and on demand service.

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