When you imagine how the United States conquered the frontier, what’s the first innovation you think about? Is it the railroad? Some people think of the telegraph, while others might envision the wagon train.
It’s not something that comes to mind immediately, but one of the biggest advances in 19th Century technology helped the cities of the Midwest flourish, brought untold millions in wealth to thousands of Americans, and made the true settlement of the Southwest and West possible. It also helped kick off a health spurt previously unheard of in human history, with millions of people getting the right dietary intake for the first time in their lives.
This innovation was refrigeration, today known by its more precise term: cold storage. A huge part of order fulfillment and a crucial component of modern gift and logistics fulfillment operation practices, cold storage also helped build the giant American economy of the late Victorian Era.
Fresh Food For the First Time
Until the late 19th Century, food – especially meat – was highly susceptible to spoilage, and could only be transported as far as a day or so away from its place of origin. The coming of refrigeration in the 1850s meant food could be transported greater distances. Then, with the coming of refrigerated railway cars, cattle could be moved across great inland distances, allowing people to eat protein-rich meat for the first time. Such innovations drastically changed the American diet, literally prompting a growth spurt of several inches over the next few generations!
Refrigeration and Cold Storage Developed Quickly
Besides used in commercial transportation, cold storage devices like the refrigerator and freezer became available for the home in the 1920s, as a growing American middle class sought to store more food in their own home for preparation at their leisure. Cold storage, by the mid-1950s, had become an indispensible part of modern society, used not just in the home but in commercial restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores, and pretty much wherever food and drink is sold or used.
Cold Storage in Modern Shipping Logistics
Providing cold storage for modern order fulfillment can sometimes be an expensive proposition, requiring outlay of funds for equipment, storage space, maintenance, and a healthy utility charge. Modern third party fulfillment providers are often able to provide such services, as well as packing and shipping refrigerated items, to their clients as part of their order fulfillment capabilities.