Industrial Refrigeration Applications

Scientific discoveries in thermodynamics and the development of practical, mechanical compression refrigeration equipment using anhydrous ammonia refrigerant, made possible a new era for ice making and industrial food preservation in Canada, starting in the early years of the 20th century.

There was a rapid growth of large industrial, refrigerated food processing in Canada, following World War II, for use in food warehousing, fast freezing, and ice making, using “state-of-the-art” mechanical refrigeration equipment with anhydrous ammonia refrigerant.

Stands as a marker, too, of the rapid development in high pressure ammonia refrigeration technology, from the 1940’s, to the end of the 20th century and on into the 21st.
[On loan from HECO]

Piston from Frick heavy-duty compressor

Piston removed from Frick heavy duty, four cylinder, 11 x10 industrial refrigeration compressor using high pressure anhydrous ammonia as refrigerant.

System installed by J. H. Lock & Sons, Ltd. at Maple Leaf Foods Ltd Brantford Ontario, in 1946, for Canada Packers, Peterborough Ont. Removed from service in 2002, by HECO.

Stands as a marker of the engineering accomplishments of Canadian industrial refrigeration contractors, making possible the great strides made by the industry in the early post WWII years.

Commercial Refrigeration Applications

The development of low pressure refrigerants in the 1920’s, such as sulphur dioxide, made possible small, lighter weight mechanical cooling equipment for use in Canadian homes, as well as commercially in food stores and restaurants.

In the 1920’s and 30’s low pressure mechanical refrigeration equipment, although still crude, elemental, and unreliable by later standards, would create wide-spread consumer interest, raising public expectations for a less arduous, healthier, more convenient and pleasurable life-style for all Canadians.

This machine tells of a long life of service through vastly changing times. It was equipped with a modern capacitor start electric motor in 1948 following frequency standardization in Ontario.

Low Pressure Refrigeration Machine

Elemental, low pressure refrigeration machines [condensing units] made possible many commercial refrigeration, applications starting in the 1920’s.

Crude, elemental low pressure refrigeration machines from the 1920’s, with belt driven compressor, electric motor, air cooled condenser and noxious sulphur dioxide refrigerants would still be in service until well into the 1950’s.

Typically located in the basement of the food store or restaurant, they would bring with them the constant smell of sulphur dioxide refrigerant.

Air-cooled Refrigerant Condensor

An historic elemental, refrigerant condenser assembly, by Frigidaire, from the earliest years of the low pressure, commercial refrigeration industry in Canada.

Air cooled by natural convection, it is constructed of half inch, coiled copper tube on a simple three section frame.

Originally used on Frigidaire Model K, cabinet style, condensing unit, using sulphur dioxide refrigerant.

The company later produced a modernizations kit to convert these condensers to forced air, tube and fin, radiator style cooling.

Copper plate and tube refrigeration evaporator

Crude beginnings, emphasizing basic elements of cooling coil for mechanical refrigeration.

Early plate and tube refrigerant evaporator:

  • crudely fabricated in 3/8″ copper tube;
  • 2″x 16″ rolled copper header with soldered end plates and refrigerant access port;
  • 2″ tinned copper, brake formed fins, soldered to 16 x 24″ tinned copper backing plate.

Early Ice Cube Maker

Illustrates the form of the first commercial ice cube making machine.

Fresh new tastes of “iced” foods and drinks, as new pleasures were used to market refrigeration, for home owners and restaurateurs.

  • Six tray, ice maker evaporator with low-side float chamber, constructed of tinned copper and brass;
  • Polished tinned copper ice cube trays with gleaming polished chrome tray pulls;
  • Built for large, commercial, ice maker refrigerator, using an early form of modular construction.