by Ramona K. Cecil
As we drift further into the dog days of summer and the temperature rises, I discover a deeper appreciation for my refrigerator. It’s hard to imagine having to plan meals around food that requires little or no refrigeration. I remember my grandmother using the expression “summer complaint” for any number of intestinal problems one might suffer during the summer months. A primary cause of these ailments was bacterial contamination of food due to a lack of refrigeration.
Before modern refrigeration, ice houses, spring houses, and cold cellars proved only marginally successful in preserving foods like meats and dairy during hot weather.
Enter Hiram and Elmer E. McCray, a father and son team of refrigeration pioneers in
|Elmer E. McCray|
At his McCray Refrigeration factory in Kendallville, Elmer produced a wide array of iceboxes and cold storage units. In advertisements, the McCray company touted their icebox units lined with porcelain tile, opal glass, and odorless wood to be far safer and superior to other brands of iceboxes lined with zinc, which they warned could corrode, poisoning milk and food. Indeed, in his book Indiana: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Development, Charles Roll wrote that Elmer E. McCray had developed his and his father’s refrigeration patents “to such a point that he may rightfully be called the founder of modern sanitary refrigeration.”
|McCray Icebox Circa 1890s|
McCray refrigerator ad Cira 1900
The McCray Company remained in
Ramona K. Cecil is a poet and award-winning author of historical fiction for the Christian market. A proud Hoosier, she often sets her stories in her home state of
Check out her website at www.ramonakcecil.com