The Evolution of the Home Fridge

From frigid beginnings as a simple “icebox” to today’s fandangled features, here’s a snapshot of the refrigerator over the (ice) ages.


  • Way before refrigerators were around, people chilled their food using nature’s own cool rooms, like snow-covered caves and cold streams.
  • The first known demo of artificial refrigeration was by a dude named William Cullen at the Uni of Glasgow in 1748.
  • American inventor Oliver Evans is known as the “big daddy of refrigeration” but Jacob Perkins was the one who, in 1834, modified this design to build the world’s first fridge.Samsung fridge
  • In 1913, Fred W. Wolf — known as “The Wolfman” to his mates — invented refrigerators for homes.
  • Early home fridges were big, clunky ol’ things. They usually had their mechanical parts installed in another room — like the basement — while the cold box was in the kitchen.
  • Let’s put things into perspective – in 1922 a fridge cost approximately $715, compared to a Model-T Ford automobile, which set you back about $450.
  • The 1950s saw tech advancements like automatic defrosting, while in the late ‘60s magnets in the seals replaced large latching doors. Then, cool features such as in-built water and ice dispensers popped up in the 1970s.
  • Separate freezer compartments became common in the early 1960s. Before then, the freezer was inside the larger refrigerator, so you had to open the fridge door first, then the smaller freezer door.
  • These days, you can choose from a bunch of fridge configurations: top-mount; bottom-mount; French doors; side-by-side; and even full-size, standalone fridge and freezer units.
  • Internet-ready “smart fridges” have built-in WiFi and LCD screens. It’s like NASA headquarters in your kitchen, with apps that keep track of food stock, plan meals, store recipes and more.
  • With the funky door-in-door fridge design, the outside door allows quick access to popular food — like milk, butter etc — without affecting the temperature in the main part of the fridge.
  • With all these developments over the centuries, who knows just where the future of refrigeration is heading?


Visit your local Harvey Norman store or check online for the coolest deals on fridges and freezers.