Before the invention of the refrigerator, in 1800, a fresh chicken would spoil in just four hours in the summertime. Milk would spoil even faster.
People knew that you could stop all this spoiling if food was kept cold, but ice was very expensive. It came in large pieces, and nobody had yet figured out how to use it in the home.
Then a man named Thomas Moore got an idea. He took the big wooden tub that was the family bathtub and put a metal box in the center of it. In the box was a chicken and some milk. He filled the tub with ice so that the tin box was completely covered.
Then he took a blanket of rabbit skins and covered the tub, ice, and tin box. The purpose of the blanket was to keep the ice from melting too fast. If the ice lasted several days, and the food didn’t spoil, he’d be on his way to solving the problem.
Several days later, the ice was still there, although some of it had melted, and the food was still fresh and unspoiled.
Three years later Thomas Moore was selling the first ice-box, which is just like a refrigerator except that instead of electricity, it used ice to do the cooling.
The term “refrigerator” was also coined by Thomas Moore.