The biggest problem you have with your fridge is that it doesn't automatically restock itself, amirite?
Well, in the early 1900s, there were MUCH bigger fish to fry with refrigerators (not literally, ew) — like how they, um, MURDERED PEOPLE.
Substances like sulfur dioxide and ammonia were used to cool refrigerators back in the day — and regularly poisoned food industry workers and people in their own homes.
If the substances stayed enclosed, you were fine — but if they seeped through eroding pipes (or if a repairman was super-lazy when he installed your fridge), your lungs would soon meet their match.
So, who tried to solve this problem? Albert Einstein, duh!
One day in the early 1920s, Einstein decided to put a stop to the madness after reading a newspaper article about an entire family that had been KILLED IN THEIR SLEEP by poison leaking from their fridge.
Einstein had recently introduced the theory of relativity and won the Nobel Prize, but why stop there? He had some free time, so he teamed up with fellow physicist Leo Szilard to invent a better refrigerator, as you do.
The pair went on to patent a new type of fridge that didn't use mechanical motion (moving parts = wear and tear = leaks) or kill people! It was loud AF, but at least families weren't being poisoned in bed, you know?
Ultimately, the project was dropped, however, because inventor Thomas Midgley discovered that — rather than design a whole new fridge — Freon gas could simply be used as a non-toxic refrigerant.
Though, we eventually stopped using Freon, too, because it was, uh, destroying the planet. Fridges are monsters!!!
And that, my friends, is the story of how the refrigerator changed its homicidal ways.
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