The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has recently been celebrating 125 years as a Society. Locally, the Northeast Chapter of ASHRAE celebrates 70 years as a chapter of the Society this year.
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning touches many aspects of modern life today. It would be hard to live without them. Refrigeration is at the core of advancing life as we know it. Schenectady, NY and General Electric are big in the early days of Refrigerators.
In the home early days of refrigeration consisted of a decorative wooden box with doors, a liner and a condensate pan which caught the water from a block of ice that was placed in the box. The iceman delivered the ice to homes to replace it as it melted.
In 1910 GE Schenectady built an early refrigerator which was called the “Dumbbell”. It looked like the decorative wooden ice box with doors. A big problem was that it cost about $1000 which made it very expensive for the average consumer.
In 1927 GE came out with a refrigerator with the compressor on the top of a porcelain box. The top looked like a gun turret that could have been on the civil war iron clad ship USS Monitor. So, people started calling it the “Monitor Top”. The price tag was $525, but shortly after dropped to $200.
It’s good to look back at history and consider how far we have come and how life must have been with an ice box. Forget frozen foods like frozen meals, ice cream, etc. Refrigeration has made life very convenient. Think about the problems that might be involved with trying to distribute a vaccine for COVID-19 that requires extreme low temperatures until time of use. Without the refrigeration engineer, none of these things would be possible.
Celebrate with us the members of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as we celebrate our Society and 125 years as well as 70 years of our Albany based Northeast Chapter of ASHRAE.
Stan Westhoff – Northeast Chapter Historian (April 5, 2021)