Before Fridges Were Invented?

What Did People Do Before Fridges Were Invented

Refrigerators are a key part of our lives at the present moment. We cannot think about living a happy and peaceful life without our refrigerator working in a proper shape. But, one thing is true that is we don’t feel the gratitude we should feel towards the refrigerators.

We don’t value the blessings we have in our lives until they are gone. Similarly, when your refrigerator stops working, you realise how important the role of a refrigerator is in your life. Let’s see a scenario that will help you to understand the importance of refrigerators.

Imagine a life where you would have to go to the market every day to buy the groceries and food products that you would eat daily. Or, your life is dependent upon the takeaways and canned food products. Do you think you can live a healthy life in this way? It is next to impossible.

That is why refrigerators are so very important in the life of a modern human being. With the help of a refrigerator, you don’t have to go to the market daily and still have fresh food whenever you eat. However, preserving food wasn’t easy like this in the past.

The refrigerator was discovered by Fred W. Wolf in 1913 and the first-ever domestic refrigerator with a compressor was introduced by William C. Durant in 1918. Now, Homo sapiens emerged a long time back around 200,000 years back in Ethiopia.

There was no refrigerator back then and gathering food was a huge challenge. So, how did those early men survive without refrigerators? How did they preserve food? It is an intriguing question that you will have and we will look to answer it through this blog. So, let’s begin.

Lake Waters

The lake waters provided an amazing spot for the early men to preserve the meat they used to hunt. Yes, the water in those lakes contained bacteria called Lactobacilli. They produced lactic acids which were essential to preserve the muscle mass of the meat.

During autumn, the hunters used to hunt the animals and butchered them. They used to deposit the leftover meat in the lake waters and the meat would stay edible till the next summer. The low oxygen in the lake waters was used to help the preservation of the meat.


Humans are always very creative. We would always find a way to do things that might seem impossible. Now, can you imagine preserving food or even butter in bogs? Well, early men used to do that often and the traces of such happenings are there for everyone to see in Northern Europe.

It may sound impossible now but in the past, people used to do this often, especially, in Northern Europe. Humans of this region used to preserve butter in bogs. Researchers have identified such traces and from there, it got the name, bog butter.


Yes, jams are delicious and we all love them, don’t we? But, the invention of the jam didn’t happen because it tasted delicious. Jams were invented to preserve fruits. Sugar was the agent that was used to keep the fruits in proper condition and where sugarcane wasn’t available, honey became the agent. Sounds delicious, isn’t it?


Pickling food was another way of preserving and keeping foods edible for a long time in the past. That is why you will see many different types of pickles right now and the methods of pickling foods were invented thousands of years ago because they didn’t have refrigerators back then.

Many assume that the method of pickling was invented accidentally. The food item was kept in beer and the alcohol inside the beer became vinegar which is essential for pickling foods. Because of this, nowadays we can find so many different types of pickles and we should be grateful to our ancestors for creating such an amazing method of food preservation.


The pint of beer that we cherish nowadays was a technique to keep water safe in the past. It may shock you but that is the truth. It was all about fermentation in the past and not about creating an alcoholic drink. People understood about fermentation when barley and rainwater got mixed. The result was the beverage that we all love today, beer.

Location and Season

Nowadays, we live in a safe and secure environment. But, life wasn’t that easy always. In the past, humans had to fight against the environment to survive as well. But, as men were smart in those days too, they started using the environment to keep their food items safe.

During cold, men used the ice to preserve their food and when it was summer and the weather was hot, they used to dry the fruits and berries in the sun. Well, the custom of drying herbs, fruits, and vegetables began in those days as well.

Meat Preservation

One of the most important things for humans in the past was all about preserving meat. They invented various methods to keep the meat edible for a long time. Such methods were;

  • Smoking: The thin cuts of meat smoked in the fire increased the shelf-life of the meat. The smoky bacon that you buy now is the result of that preservation method.

  • Salting: Take a piece of meat and drown it completely in salt and leave it in cool weather. You can rest assured the meat will stay edible for many years and early men used to do this.

  • Drying: When it comes to preserving meats, our ancestors found drying to be an effective method. It eliminates the moisture and, as a result, microorganisms don’t grow in the meat, keeping it edible.

Final Thoughts

Finally, now you know how hard our ancestors used to work to preserve foods in the past. But, now you have refrigerators through which you can preserve the leftover foods for many days. So, be thankful for this amazing invention because, without it, the easy life that you live nowadays wouldn’t have been possible.

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