Einstein patents a refrigerator design, November 11, 1930
In 1922, Swedish engineering students Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters invented the refrigerator that produced cold through heat using an absorption process, and was powered by electricity, gas, or kerosene.
After hearing about a family being poisoned by toxic fumes that leaked out of a broken refrigerator seal, Szilárd and Einstein set out to create an alternative design.
The new design had no moving parts, and operated at constant pressure using only a heat source. The heat source naturally pressurized the gas contained in a series of circuits to operate the appliance. No moving parts eliminated the wear and tear that could cause issues with the seal and meant it could last as long as 100 years, estimates said.
The patent was bought by Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux, which still sells refrigerators today, but wasn't commercially successful in the Depression era, and because less toxic chemical alternatives were introduced to make the original design safer.
Recently, similar designs have been explored as an environmentally friendly option and for use in areas without electricity.
- Camel Fridge: A truly novel, mobile solar-powered refrigerator
- Quantum refrigerator cools to extreme temps
- Albert Einstein is born, March 14, 1879
- Einstein wins 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, November 9, 1922
- Wise words from Einstein, Tesla, Spock, and others
- Alarm tells you to close the refrigerator door
For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on November 11, 2013, and edited on November 11, 2017.