Segments in this Video

Introduction: Cold: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson (02:15)


This brief overview of cooling technology orients viewers with excerpts from the upcoming program.

Hotel de Glace (02:43)

Johnson visits the ice hotel in Quebec, Canada.

Frederic Tudor (03:35)

In 1805, Tudor makes his first attempt at transporting ice to the hot southern US. The ice melts on the way and he ends up in debtor's prison.

Sawdust (03:58)

Tudor discovers that he can pack the ice with sawdust and it will stay insulated without melting. Learn how the ice is stored underground.

Ice Revolution (02:18)

Learn how using ice to cool foods led to a revolution in the American diet.

Insulation (02:55)

Johnson visits Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort in the middle of a desert.

Refrigeration (01:43)

The system that keeps Ski Dubai cold is basically the same as a household refrigerator.

Dr. John Gorrie (02:24)

In 1854, Gorrie's patients were burning up with fever. He invents a way to use ice to cool his patients and prevent the spread of disease.

Making Ice (03:40)

Learn about the progression of ideas that led to Gorrie creating a mechanical refrigerator.

Natural vs. Artificial Ice (04:05)

The Civil War prevented ice from coming into the US. Ice making machines were smuggled in during this time. In the decades after the Civil War, refrigeration becomes a huge industry.

Clarence Birdseye (03:18)

Birdseye studied, and ate, a variety of animals. Longing for adventure, he moves his family to the subarctic north in Canada.

Ancient Practices (02:32)

Birdseye learns how to freeze fish from the Inuit.

Flash Freezing (03:10)

Birdseye begins experimenting with freezing foods other than fish. Back in the US, he helps the fish industry reduce loss by flash freezing.

Frederick McKinley Jones (02:18)

Jones revolutionized the world of frozen food trucking.

Transforming Food (02:45)

The frozen food industry takes off. Flash freezing extends to medical industries as well.

Willis Carrier (02:43)

Carrier uses refrigerator technology to dehumidify the air, which led to air conditioning.

Cooling Air (03:49)

Learn how the first air conditioning units worked. The American love of cinema skyrocketed.

The Sunbelt (03:06)

Air conditioning units for homes change the places where people are comfortable living.

Conclusion (01:04)

Some of the fastest growing cities are now in hot places. Johnson reflects on the technology of cold.

Credits: Cold: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson (00:28)

Credits: Cold: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson

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Cold: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson

Part of the Series : How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery the second biggest export business in the U.S. and visits the place where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment. He also travels to Dubai to see how mastery of cold has led to penguins in the desert. From IVF to food, politics and Hollywood to human migration, the unsung heroes of cold have led the way.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL60745

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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