The Original Purpose Of Refrigeration May Surprise You

Who isn't grateful for refrigerators? These devices take care of nearly everything, helping you stow away leftover food, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and more without stressing over their longevity. Have to freeze chunks of ice for tonight's cocktail party? Your fridge has you covered. Or perhaps you baked a delicious cake that's meant to be had later. Refrigerating the dessert until you're ready to serve it is a no brainer, right? Refrigeration is such a crucial part of our everyday lives that we probably don't think twice about the process until something goes awry such as an unexpected power outage that leaves us scrambling to save all that food that's been stashed away inside the faithful fridge. 

As explained by Live Science, refrigeration is a relatively new invention. The idea behind the process is fairly straightforward – it removes heat by inducing colder temperatures, reducing the rate of growth of bacteria in perishable food items. Well, this essentially keeps us healthy and free of food-borne diseases. But guess what: The original purpose of refrigeration wasn't just about food.

It was meant to help patients battling yellow fever

As explained by Time, human beings have been trying to use leftovers for a very long time. Consider this: men in ancient Greece and Rome would use ice and snow from the mountains to keep their food fresh for a longer duration by storing them in cellars. Things changed by the end of the 19th century and ice delivery became commonplace in the U.S. Men would go to homes as milkmen and deliver massive iceboxes. But the big event that laid the foundation for refrigerators took place in the 1840s.

A doctor from Florida named John Gorrie was looking for ways to help his patients who were battling yellow fever. He needed to bring down the temperatures of the rooms where his patients were recuperating. Luckily, he discovered how to make ice through mechanical refrigeration. This led to the invention of home refrigerators that became a household staple in the 1920s and 1930s. In fact, refrigerators were incredibly helpful during the Great Depression as parents simply couldn't afford to throw out leftovers. Families could keep going for longer periods, thanks to refrigeration. So there you have it. Refrigeration was initially invented to help patients battle yellow fever.