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The history of refrigerated railcars

The History of Refrigerated Railcars

First Refrigerated Rail Car by Gustavus Swift

The history of refrigerated railcars dates back to the mid-19th century, when the transportation of perishable goods over long distances was a significant challenge. In the 1840s, a number of inventors and entrepreneurs began experimenting with ways to keep food and other temperature-sensitive goods fresh during transportation.

One of the earliest refrigerated railcars was developed by a man named Thomas Moore in 1867. His design used ice as a cooling agent and was able to transport meat over a distance of 1,500 miles from the Midwest to the East Coast.

However, the first successful refrigerated railcar was developed by Gustavus Swift in the 1870s. Swift was a meatpacking magnate who recognized the need for a better way to transport his products over long distances. His design used a combination of ice and salt to create a low-temperature environment inside the railcar. Swift’s invention revolutionized the meatpacking industry and paved the way for the modern refrigerated transport industry.

Over the next several decades, refrigerated railcars continued to evolve and improve. In the 1920s and 1930s, mechanical refrigeration systems were introduced, which used compressors and electric motors to cool the air inside the car. This made refrigerated railcars more efficient and reliable, and it allowed for the transportation of a wider range of temperature-sensitive goods.

Today, refrigerated railcars are an important component of the global supply chain for perishable goods. They are used to transport a wide variety of products, including meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and pharmaceuticals, among others. The technology has continued to improve, with advanced refrigeration systems that can maintain precise temperature control and monitor the conditions inside the car in real-time.

Learn more about Miles refrigerated railcars products 

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