There were more than a few inventors that filed patents for the invention of the refrigerator.
In fact, by the year 1880 there were over 3000 patents for refrigerators.
People used boxes filled with ice (iceboxes) to keep their food cool and keep it from spoiling. Iceboxes were lined with metal and insulated with straw, sawdust or cork.
Blocks of ice were stored in the top of the icebox so cold air would circulated downwards to keep the food cool. A drip pan or tap would be used to drain the melting water.
The ice industry was big business.
In the winter ice-harvesting companies would remove ice from frozen lakes and store it in ice-houses. Ice companies would ship ice around the country and throughout the world.
Horse drawn ice-wagons would deliver ice to homes and businesses. There were icebox manufacturing companies, icebox retailers, icebox agents.
You could get an inexpensive icebox or a deluxe hand-carved oak cabinet icebox.
The invention threatened the profitable ice industry and they reacted by engaging in a strategy that questioned the safety of refrigerators. Allegations were made that refrigeration poisoned food because it used ammonia gas.
The public was reluctant to change.
It wasn't until the mid-19th century when ice was contaminated from industrial pollution, that people began using refrigerators.
Refrigerators also changed from using ammonia to using chloroflurorocarbons.
Refrigeration completely wiped out the ice-box industry.
Did you know that Albert Einstein patented an invention of the refrigerator. In 1903, Einstein invented an eco-friendly refrigerator that had no moving parts and didn't use electricity.