There are many things we take for granted. We don’t even think about them until something goes awry. Let’s take refrigerators as an example. They work 24/7, 365 days a year without break. They could survive many years and can even be passed on to the next generation. Their sole purpose? To keep our drinks cold and food fresh or frozen – ultimately resulting in less trips to the grocery store and helping us save for the rainy days, literally. Nowadays, we rely too much on refrigerators! I myself wonder what I’d do without them.

What did people do before refrigerators were invented?

Let’s wind back the clock to the ages of hunter-gatherers. The notion of storing food wasn’t even a though back then. Food was immediately consumed upon gathering. As times changed, hunting has declined and agriculture became the main source of food, people had to start finding ways to store food. That’s when people invented method of preserving food like pickling, smoking and curing. All of these methods alter the texture and flavour of the food. Often to the extent that is desirable, or even necessary to make the food edible.

How did people keep their food and drinks cool?

Natural sources such as streams and caves were great cooling options. The deeper the cave in the earth, the cooler the air would be. Streams offered a way to cool things faster due to the flowing water moving around the object.

As the ages progressed, other solutions developed. From holes in the ground, nooks in wooden walls, storing foods in cooler locations such as cellars to wooden or clay containers. Community cooling houses were an integral part of many villages for storing different kinds of meat, fruits and vegetables. Underground or insulated ice houses were built. These were used to store ice and snow sourced during winter. You may remember the beginning sequence of the Disney hit FROZEN, when young Kristoff learns the skills of ice harvesting. That scene is grounded in reality. Ice blocks would be cut out from frozen waters and be removed for storage. This was neither cheap nor very practical. Refrigerating food with ice was a luxury outside winter and naturally in cold areas.

There was also the ice box, made of wooden insulated crate filled with ice. In some countries households used ice chests, three insulated boxes. Ice was placed in the top box, food in the middle and a tray in the bottom. The tray caught the water which inevitably dripped down as the ice melted.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to tropical countries. Before refrigerators came along, people couldn’t necessarily keep things from perishing with the available technology or natural resources they gathered as needed.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that the idea of the modern refrigerator began to take form. Fridges became indispensable household items in the mid-20th century. As fridge-freezers became affordable, frozen food lost its status as luxury items.

How did Liebherr enter the refrigerator market?

Liebherr refrigeration began its story out of a production facility in Ochsenhausen, Germany, established by Hans Liebherr in 1949. During a time when only 10% of German households owned a refrigerator. Today, Liebherr manufacture and distribute a vast array of refrigerators and wine cellars to all corners of the globe. With superior German engineering, Liebherr is leading the world in design, innovation and energy efficiency.

Liebherr old school poster

The main question now is, how did we live without refrigerators? You can learn more about the Liebherr refrigerator history in this article.