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The Refrigirator and Today's Technology

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The Refrigirator and Today's Technology

Technology is omnipresent in our world. People often equate this saturation of technology to an increase in the standard of living, rarely, however, do they dissect the effects of specific technologies on fundamental behavior, like eating, sleeping and interacting with others. To explore the direct and indirect effects of a specific "advancement" is to uncover how and why people, Americans more specifically, have been converted from their puritanical ways to consumers, and what careers have been sacrificed for the goal of a supposed increase in luxury and free time. The refrigerator, for example, is an item in use in over 80 million homes in America alone. (Krantzburg 187-189) once considered a luxury afforded only by the wealthy, today nearly all American homes are equipped with what is perceived a "necessity".


The concept of refrigeration is not a new one. Refrigeration by means of natural ice has been employed for thousands of years. Ice cellars were used in China as early as 1000 b. c. (Grolier 331-334). More recently, natural ice refrigeration became a large scale industry in the United States in the 19th century. Many New Englanders, for example, quarried natural ice from frozen lakes and ponds and stored it in insulated icehouses. In warm seasons the ice was shipped to markets in the south. Not only did people quarry the ice, but they also had to deliver it homes, thus resulting in the neighborhood iceman. Families developed relationships with the men who delivered the ice which they so depended upon. For the children especially, it was considered a treat for the iceman to shave them off a piece of ice, because it was an expensive specialty.

Just as the iceman p...

... middle of paper ... grows.

Works Cited

Anton, Charles. "Kooltron; Portable Refrigerator." Sports Afield. Mag.Coll.: 75
D4747 (Aug 1994) Online. Infotrac. 18 Oct 1997

Cardwell, D. Turning Points in Western Technology. New York: Science History
Publications, 1972

Jones, Joseph "American Ice Boxes." Encyclopedia Americana Vol 23. Grolier Inc.

Krafft, Susan "The Heart of the Home." American Demographics. v14 (Jun 1992)
Online. Proquest. 16 October 1997

Kranzberg, Melvin. Technology in Western Civilization. New York. Oxford
University Press, 1967

Meier, Alan. "News About Refrigerator Energy Savings." Consumers' Research
Magazine. v76n3 (Mar 1993) Online. Infotrac. 14 October 1997

Wandersee, Winifred. "The Economics of Middle-Income Family Life: Working
Women During the Depression." 16A-04039 (1978) Online. America:
History and Life. 18 October 1997

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