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History of Dry Ice

French chemist Thilorier is accepted to be the first person who recorded the solidification of carbon dioxide, which is dry ice. In 1835, the chemist opened a cylinder which had a huge amount of liquid carbon dioxide; however, once enough of it evaporated, it left behind a solid dry block at the bottom of the cylinder.

After that various experiments have been conducted and the use of dry ice has been commercialized. In 1897, Herbert Samuel Elworthy was granted a patent for the solidification of carbon dioxide. He worked as a doctor in the British Army medical Corps and his purpose was to make soda water mix with his whisky! Although liquid carbon dioxide worked fine but carrying them in excursions in metal cylinders was very heavy. 100 pounds of liquid carbon dioxide cylinder could carry on the 50 pounds of the gas. This is when the commercialization of solid carbon dioxide or dry ice was popularized. From then after, many doctors have used dry ice to remove warts.


The first commercial use of dry ice started in 1925 in the United States by Prest Air devices which was a company in the Long Island city, New York. Prest Air devices was the first company to make a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. They also tried for many uses for compressed carbon dioxide such as powering grease gun, tire pump and making soda water at home. However, it was only the fire extinguisher that was well received in the market.

In 1924, the company tried selling dry ice to various railroad companies for the purpose of cooling in place of regular ice. Dry ice has about twice the cooling power as that of regular ice and based on this potential the railroad businesses constructed the dry ice production plant in 1925. Soon after, Prest  Air Devices was incorporated as Dry Ice Corporation Of America who trademarked the name dry ice.

The first testing of dry ice for railroad cars by the newly formed dry ice Corporation was a successful venture. In 1932, twelve cars were insulated to handle dry ice. Also, about 80 cars were built with mechanical refrigeration and 180000 railroad cars with designs to use regular ice. However, the mechanical refrigeration won the situation and became more popular single handedly. Although interestingly, you can find some railroad cars that use the water ice to cool carrots that are transported from California.

In the beginning of 1925, Dry Ice Corporation Of America did not have any customers. Schraff’s  stores was the first customer in 1926 which was a confectionery store that dealt with Eskimo Pie ice cream. They were experimenting with the packaging to keep their products cold so the customers could take it home instead of eating at the store. The solution became dry ice.

If you are wondering what they did before it was invented, the store used salt in water and then froze it. It formed brine ice and kept the ice cream frozen till it was distributed to the retail stores. however when this brine ice used to melt, it was heavy, wet and corrosive. The solution was dry ice and by 1927 many ice cream manufacturers started using the product from dry ice Corporation Of America.

In 1929,  they teamed up with liquid carbonic to build 17 dry ice manufacturing plants all across the United States. Unfortunately, before these plants were finished, liquid carbonic and dry ice Corporation dissolved their agreement. In 1931, Birdseye frozen foods started as a big name in dry ice supply.

Today, you can find hundreds of dry ice producers and suppliers all across the globe. Foot Hill dry ice is one of the reputed names that offer premium high quality dry ice for all sorts of commercial and recreational purposes.

Information provided with permission by DryIceInfo.com

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