Future on Ice

Defrosting the History of the Fridge

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2000  GE launches the Profile Arctica refrigerator with CustomCool technology, the first model with areas kept warmer or cooler independently. Forgot to chill the Pinot Grigio but don’t want to risk it freezing? Stick it in a special drawer inside the fridge.

2002  Whirlpool unveils the Polara, an oven that doubles as a fridge. Before leaving work in the morning, you just throw a par-cooked meal into the unit, which is chilled in default mode. When activated via timer or cell phone, the refrigerator shuts off and turns the oven on to finish cooking the meal.

2003  LG Electronics releases the first TV on a refrigerator. The combo appliance continues to improve and in 2007, the high-definition TV is released along with weather center, photo slideshow, digital recipe card, and calendar functions.

2005  Sub-Zero releases the 600 series, a line of refrigerators with glass doors. The models save energy and provide a feeling of openness in a room. However, the fridges must be tidied up whenever guests arrive. But not nearly as much as the Japanese invisible refrigerator.

2006  Electrolux unleashes the Cyber Fridge, a wireless-Internet-surfing, email-checking, MP3-playing, touch-screen-computer fridge. The screen is located above the doors, so one person can scour the Internet while another forages for food.

2007  The Thermador Freedom Collection introduces the motorized Liberty Shelf, which moves up and down, making it easier to reach and reorganize food.

2007  Vintage-style refrigerators (with modern engineering) return with the renewed interest in midcentury modern design. Notable companies are Gorenje, Big Chill, Robeys, and Smeg.

2007  Designers show off a modular refrigerator at the annual Electrolux Design Lab. Split into transparent, stackable compartments, it uses an ecofriendly technology called magnetic refrigeration. It’s more practical than a concept fridge that looks like a tree.

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