The famous quote "Necessity is the mother of invention" has no better illustration than the invention of refrigeration. From the dawn of mankind, reducing exposure to heat and its ill effects has been a constant struggle. Yet methods always seemed to have been found to cope with this problem. As time marched on, refrigeration gained increasing degrees of sophistication. Commercial and noncommercial refrigerators have saturated everyday life, and their benefits are experienced by many.
History of Refrigeration
Refrigeration, the process of cooling or freezing for preservative or heat dissipation purposes, dates back to prehistory when people realized that packing meat and provisions in snow or storing it in cool caves prolonged the usable life of the food. In the millennia that have followed, this process has been revolutionized many times, culminating in the modern vapor-compression refrigeration systems used in the 21st century that are safer, more efficient and reliable than those that have come before.
Commercial refrigeration refers to the use of the refrigeration process in the course of profit-seeking businesses. These refrigerators vary in size and scope, from those found in kitchens of restaurants to those that are transported by train across the country and even those used in the brewing process. Commercial refrigeration, as a general rule, is done on a much larger scale than noncommercial, or consumer, refrigeration.
Noncommercial, or consumer, refrigeration is the use of refrigerators in either a small office or business where food service is not the industry or in the homes of families. The refrigeration needs of consumers center around keeping food and drinks cold while retarding the decomposition process. The scale of consumer refrigeration is, thus, vastly smaller than that of commercial refrigeration.
Differences Between Commercial and Noncommercial Refrigerators
A commercial refrigerator is often larger and more powerful than its domestic counterpart to account for the increased use and resulting strain on its machinery, as well as the size and scope of the operation. A consumer refrigerator, by contrast, will be sized to fit the needs of an individual or family, taking into account energy consumption for which the consumer must pay monthly and the relative refrigeration need. Furthermore, while consumer refrigerators are usually rectangular in shape and able to fit in a kitchen or garage, a commercial refrigerator can be as small as a consumer refrigerator, as large as a train box car and all sizes in between.
- Photo Credit ice cube image by sheldon gardner from Fotolia.com
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