Home » Movember » Einstein’s Fridge

Einstein’s Fridge

Keltie LLP

K2 IP Limited

About IPcopy

IPcopy is an intellectual property related news site covering a wide variety of IP related news and issues. We will also take the odd lighthearted look at IP. Feel free to contact us via the details on the About Us page.

Disclaimer: Unless stated otherwise, the contributors to IPcopy (the "IPcopy writers") are patent and trade mark attorneys or patent and trade mark assistants at Keltie LLP or are network attorneys at K2 IP Limited. Guest contributors will be identified.

This news site is the personal site of the contributors and is not edited by the authors' employer in any way. From time to time however IPcopy may publish practice notes, legal updates and marketing news from Keltie LLP or K2 IP Limited. Any such posts will be clearly marked.

This news site is for information purposes only. Information posted to this news site is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you require IP related legal advice please contact your legal representative.

For the avoidance of doubt Keltie LLP and K2 IP Limited have no liability as to the content of IPcopy and any related tweets or social media posts.

Privacy Policy

IPcopy’s Privacy Policy can be viewed here.

We all know a bit about Albert Einstein – genius, Patent Office examiner, purveyor of a noteworthy moustache and also ….inventor of a fridge.

In the 1920s newspapers reported that a Berlin family had been killed when a seal on their refrigerator broke and toxic fumes from the refrigerant leaked into their home. This motivated Einstein and his former student Leo Szilárd to work on an improved refrigerator.

The fruits of their labour can be found in US Patent 1781541 which proposed an absorption based refrigerator which is a refrigerator that uses a heat source to provide the energy needed to drive the cooling system. The Einstein/Szilárd fridge had no moving parts and operated at constant pressure.

More than 45 patent applications were filed in six different countries relating to the fridge but Einstein and Szilard’s invention never became a commercial product because Freon, a non-toxic refrigerant (to humans at least) was introduced in the 1930s which was more easily compatible with existing fridge designs.

The technology was licensed however which provided a nice little earner for the scientists.

More on this story can be found here and here. More on Einstein’s moustache can be found here.

Incidentally, the development of Freon involved the American mechanical engineer and chemist Thomas Midgley Jr. who had an interesting way of demonstrating that products were safe. Is Freon safe? Try inhaling a lung-full and breathing it out onto a candle. Is lead petrol safe? Try inhaling a lung-full daily for 60 seconds.

Thomas Midgley – a man for who Health & Safety clearly only meant ensuring his tie was held out of harm’s way when bending over the gas rings to light a cigarette!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: