Fun Fact: Did You Know that the Inventor of the Refrigerator Resided in Montgomery County?

Question: Did you know that the inventor of the refrigerator resided in Montgomery County?

Thomas Moore’s patent for the refrigerator

It’s true! An 1803 patent for a refrigerator (ice box) was granted to Thomas Moore and signed by President Thomas Jefferson. He was invited to the Moore home in Montgomery County, Md to see the new Refrigeratory.  A year later, in 1804, Jefferson paid “Isaac Briggs [Moore’s brother in law] for Thos. Moore 13.D for a refrigerator.” Thomas Moore coined the term “refrigerator” and patented it, which single-handedly put a huge twist on the agricultural business. Thomas Moore lived about twenty miles outside the city of Washington, for which the village of Georgetown was the market center. On his farm were dairy cows whose milk was churned into butter and taken to market to be sold. Moore devised an icebox out of a cedar tub which was insulated with rabbit fur, filled with ice, and wrapped in a piece of sheet metal so he could transport his butter at a cooler temperature. He was on the right track, for in the warmer months of the year, Moore noticed that people would pass up his competitors butter, which had softened up and often times melted, for his butter which was wrapped up and came in individual bricks.

What also made this stand out is that customers were willing to pay a premium for his product. Moore saw his invention as an improvement for farmers because now they didn’t have to rely on traveling at nighttime to keep their goods cool.

montgomerySource: Researching Food History blog and Waterfordhistory.org

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Kaley Schultze to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.