On May 6, 1851 John Gorrie received a patent for an ice-making machine - This Day in Patent History

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On May 6, 1851 John Gorrie received a patent for an ice-making machine. He was an early pioneer in the invention of the artificial manufacture of ice, refrigeration, and air conditioning,

Image Credit - University of Florida
Image Credit – University of Florida

John was a physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian. His medical research involved the study of tropical diseases, for which he need to cool rooms with ice. However, at the time, it was necessary to transport ice by boat from the northern lakes, so Gorrie experimented with making artificial ice. Gorrie’s basic principle was cooling caused by the rapid expansion of gases. Using two double acting force pumps he first condensed and then rarified air. This is the one most often used in refrigeration even today.

Here is the model of the original ice-making machine in the Gorrie Museum. The ice collects in the wooden box near the top.

Image Credit - University of Florida
Image Credit – University of Florida

This is the base of the Gorrie’s ice machine. The larger cylinder contains the piston.

Image Credit - University of Florida
Image Credit – University of Florida

Another version of Gorrie’s “cooling system” was used when President James A. Garfield was dying in 1881.

Image Credit - Top 10 Best
Image Credit – Top 10 Best

Sources: University of Florida; Wikipedia 

Patent Information
Publication number: US8080 A
Patent Title: Improved process for the artificial production of ice
Publication type: Grant
Publication date: May 6, 1851
Inventors: John Gorrie

US8080

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