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Refrigeration Nation

A History of Ice, Appliances, and Enterprise in America

Jonathan Rees

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How we keep food cold while the house stays warm.

Only when the power goes off and food spoils do we truly appreciate how much we rely on refrigerators and freezers. In Refrigeration Nation, Jonathan Rees explores the innovative methods and gadgets that Americans have invented to keep perishable food cold—from cutting river and lake ice and shipping it to consumers for use in their iceboxes to the development of electrically powered equipment that ushered in a new age of convenience and health.

As much a history of successful business practices as a history of technology, this book illustrates…

How we keep food cold while the house stays warm.

Only when the power goes off and food spoils do we truly appreciate how much we rely on refrigerators and freezers. In Refrigeration Nation, Jonathan Rees explores the innovative methods and gadgets that Americans have invented to keep perishable food cold—from cutting river and lake ice and shipping it to consumers for use in their iceboxes to the development of electrically powered equipment that ushered in a new age of convenience and health.

As much a history of successful business practices as a history of technology, this book illustrates how refrigeration has changed the everyday lives of Americans and why it remains so important today. Beginning with the natural ice industry in 1806, Rees considers a variety of factors that drove the industry, including the point and product of consumption, issues of transportation, and technological advances. Rees also shows that how we obtain and preserve perishable food is related to our changing relationship with the natural world.

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Refrigeration Nation

Jonathan Rees

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Reviews

Reviews

A smart and illuminating book that will be of great interest to anyone engaged with either the history of technology or the history of food.

Rees has written an entertaining, well-narrated, and well-researched book about building one root infrastructure of modern food systems. He brings this infrastructure to the foreground of U.S. history, and hopefully the book will reach a broad readership, both within history departments and a public with an interest in the intersections of the histories of food, business, and technology.

Refrigeration Nation is a well-written and useful book for both scholars and students... Rees presents a well-developed account of the importance of American enterprise and innovation in the national and global marketplace.

A fascinating book.

Refrigeration Nation is a valuable, well-researched study, but it also suggests the need for more work on a subject that at first seems mundane and taken for granted but, upon greater inspection, is really quite fascinating and compelling.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
248
ISBN
9781421419862
Illustration Description
12 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Inventing the Cold Chain
2. The Long Wait for Mechanical Refrigeration
3. The Decline of the Natural Ice Industry
4. Refrigerated Transport Near and Far
5. The Pleasures and

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Inventing the Cold Chain
2. The Long Wait for Mechanical Refrigeration
3. The Decline of the Natural Ice Industry
4. Refrigerated Transport Near and Far
5. The Pleasures and Perils of Cold Storage
6. "Who Ever Heard of an American without an Icebox?"
7. The Early Days of Electric Household Refrigeration
8. The Completion of the Modern Cold Chain
Conclusion
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Jonathan Rees
Featured Contributor

Jonathan Rees

Jonathan Rees is a professor of history at Colorado State University–Pueblo. He is the author of Industrialization and the Transformation of American Life: A Brief Introduction and Refrigerator.