Thomas Elkins designed a device that helped with the task of preserving perishable foods by way of refrigeration. At the time, the common way of accomplishing this was by placing items in a large container and surrounding them with large blocks of ice. Unfortunately, the ice generally melted very quickly and the food soon perished.
Elkins’ device utilized metal cooling coils which became very cold and would cool down items which they surrounded. The coils were enclosed within a container and perishable items were placed inside. The coils cooled the container to a temperature significantly lower than that inside of a room thereby keeping the perishable items cool and fresh for longer periods of time.