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Posted: September 27, 2018

Iceless refrigerator shows MCD ingenuity beyond dams and levees

In August of 1918, MCD published its first issue of “The Miami Conservancy District Bulletin.” The monthly publication highlighted  some of the more important, significant and interesting aspects of the construction of the flood protection system as well as overall progress. The publication also featured stories about life at the construction camps, including this one about an iceless refrigerator, showing that ingenuity was not limited to the flood protection system, itself.

There may well be times at the various (construction) camps this summer when ice is not available, or when the expense of buying it will look too great. To meet such cases, H.H. Rupe, the Superintendent of Carpenters at Englewood, has devised an inexpensive and novel form of iceless refrigerator.

Briefly, it is a very small circular cellar, made by sinking three twelve-inch drain pipes, one above the other, to a total depth of six feet in the earth. At this depth the ground is as cool as the inside of the ordinary refrigerator. In the vertical well thus formed a cylindrical tin bucket plays, fitted with three shelves. The food or water to be kept cool is placed on these shelves and let down. A rope passing vertically from the bucket bale to a small pulley fixed to the shed roof or bracket above, and thence over a second pulley to a counterweight, facilitates the operation.

The bucket is formed from a tin pipe eleven inches in diameter and three feet high, the shelves being of inch board, cut to circular form and fitted inside it. A sector of the pipe is cut out and hinged to form a door, which swings open horizontally, giving access to the shelves. The affair is easily made, and ought to be useful to many of the cottagers at the various camps during the present summer.

If the demand proves sufficient, arrangement can be readily made with a local tinner to make the buckets in quantity, with accessories- rope. pulleys, etc. — complete. The householder can easily dig the well and sink the drain pipes himself.