1901 Iceless Refrigerator

Has anyone ever ran across one of these and know how they functioned? This one was gutted and was used as a cabinet but it still had a one large pipe (14") and two smaller pipes (3") connected to the bottom that extended down to the basement floor.

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Pretty cool find. I wonder if Carstens Heating & Cooling in Iowa Falls has any connection to them.

Nice find. My guess, and it’s purely speculation, is that it really wasn’t “iceless” at all. The ice was kept remotely from the cabinet.

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Years ago I lived in a three story turn of the century apartment building with similar units in every apartment. They were all hooked up to a single mechanical unit in the basement. They no longer functioned and were used as cabinets. We also had monster O’Keefe and Merritt ovens that were still there cause they were simply too heavy to warrant carrying down three flights of stairs.

Here’s a sketch of the McDonogh School icehouse (foreground) in the late 1800’s done by my father (probably from a photo). McDonogh was a farm school primarily for civil war orphans (founded 1873). Originally rather rural (now Owings Mills, MD) it had its own post office and zip code as well as train station. My father was hired in 1947 after the war and founded the art department for the school. The students did all the farm work including cutting the ice from the pond for the ice house. Fortunately by the time I attended less was required from students!


What a talented father you had, Bob…great sketch!