Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Impact of Refrigeration

Refrigeration in the home lagged behind industrial applications. But by 1884, one writer noted that refrigerators were as common as stoves or sewing machines in all but the poorest tenements. The use of ice in the home was growing to keep food longer and to cool drinks.

Refrigeration had a great impact on the the world, and this is a great little article on it. It is amazing just what leverage comes from technology.

Today we took our daughter and my in-laws to the local petting zoo/historical farm. They had a bunch of old farming machines in the North 40 and they had really good explanations of how they worked. They were piles of wood and cheap metal, it would be entirely possible to tear apart and old car and turn it in a major farm productivity machine.

We were talking about how helpful these old, obsolete technologies would be a great boon to developing nations. They can't afford the GPS computer controlled Combines that can do the work of a thousand men and horses, but they may be able to find the materials to make a farm implement that just doubles his productivity, which would make a huge impact on his family. If he can then leverage that productivity into better technology he can double his productivity again and again and again, very soon they are no longer poor dirt scratchers, but prosperous and healthy.


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