"refrigerator" = "vessel", 1793 & 1803; antedates OED 1824-

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Fri Jul 31 13:54:46 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 09:45:35AM -0400, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> Thomas Moore obtained a U.S. patent in 1793 for a crude refrigerator
> he made to transport butter to his customers.  In 1803 he published a
> pamphlet titled "An Essay on the Most Eligible Construction of
> Ice-Houses and a Description of the Newly-Invented Machine called the
> Refrigerator".
> In Joseph C. Jones, Jr., _America's Icemen: An Illustrated History of
> the United States Natural Ice Industry, 1665-1925_ (Humble, Texas:
> Jobeco Books, 1984), p. 137.  Jones does not give his
> sources.  Presumably a patent can be recovered; and Moore's 1803
> "essay" is held by libraries and allegedly is in Early American
> Imprints, Second series.

I can't find any patent issued or assigned to a "Moore" in a search
of pre-1800 U.S. patents.

> OED 1989 has for "refrigerator" sense 2 "An apparatus, vessel, or
> chamber for producing or maintaining a low degree of temperature ...
> b. Any vessel, chamber, or apparatus in which the contents are
> preserved by maintaining a temperature near, at, or below freezing
> point, esp. in the cold storage of food.", it's earliest quotation
> for sense 2. being 1824.
> Surely Moore's chest fits sense 2.b?

OED's revised entry, which presents a somewhat different group
of senses, does cite Moore's 1803 text as its first example.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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