Out of the Icebox, into the Refrigerator

Early model electric refrigerator (ca. 1920)

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The 20th century is remembered fondly for the invention of radio, cinema, and television. However, it was also the era of environmentally toxic household appliances. As modern technology developed, so too did unintended environmental consequences, from the depletion of the ozone layer to the pollution of air in our cities.

How did early refrigerators, air conditioners, automobiles, and factories run—and how have they been adapted as our understanding of human influence on the environment has improved over time?

For a better understanding of these environmental issues within their historical context, check out this article describing the environmental impacts of some popular early 20th century inventions:

This article is part of ABC-CLIO’s Daily Life through History database, an exploration of the daily lives of ordinary people through time and across the globe, examining aspects of family life, work, food, clothing, sports, language, literature, education, gender roles, and more! Click here to activate your free preview of this database and gain access to:

  • Broad coverage of historical eras and geographic contexts, from ancient Egypt to medieval Europe to modern China
  • More than 9,000 primary and secondary sources including newspapers, magazines, narratives, and letters of correspondence
  • Investigate activities designed to build student inquiry and critical thinking skills around a central historical question

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