In 2012, the Royal Society named Refrigeration as the most significant invention in the history of food and drink.
It is difficult to put a date on the first ever use of a cold environment to preserve food, but there is evidence to suggest that the practice is many thousands of years old. Caves appear to have been used to store food in primitive times, and people in warmer climates were aware that by climbing high hills or mountains the air would be cooler, making it a suitable place for food storage. In the 5th Century BC the Greek Protagoras reported that the Egyptians were capable of producing ice by placing water on their roofs when there was a clear night. Several hundreds of years later the Roman Emperor Nero Claudius is reported to have sent slaves to the mountains to fetch snow to be used specifically for cooling fruit drinks.
However, the real leap forward in terms of refrigeration technology came with the development of mechanical refrigeration during the 18th and 19th Centuries, which occurred largely as part of the movement to understand heat engines and the wider science of thermodynamics. The 20th Century saw an explosion in the use of mechanical refrigeration, thanks to mass production and the progress in technology. The result is that refrigeration systems of all types are common features in homes, shops, restaurants, offices, hotels and other buildings all around the world.
Because of refrigeration, in the UK, we each eat 18kg of bananas and drink more than our body weight in fresh milk a year, ensuring a diet which has made us bigger, stronger and healthier than our ancestors.
But the importance of refrigeration is not limited to food. Think of a typical hospital: many vaccines, anaesthetics, blood plasma and other forms of medication need to be kept refrigerated; some at temperatures significantly lower than that at which most food is stored. Regarding vaccines, a particularly striking example is the role of refrigeration in the eradication of poliomyelitis. In 2013, the number of cases of poliomyelitis occurring worldwide was 416, i.e. almost a thousand times fewer than the 350,00 cases registered in 1988.
At Dancold Ltd. we understand the importance of reliable refrigeration for all applications. Our team has many years of experience in the design, sale, installation and maintenance of an extensive range of systems, including walk-in cold rooms in both commercial and industrial contexts. Our portfolio covers a broad spectrum, from minor installations for small businesses, up to large complete factory fit-outs.
Please take a quick look at some of our recent work – click here.