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The Physician Who Made Ice


The Physician

Who Made Ice

(A factual account)

From the time he was a small boy residing along with his Spanish mom in Charleston, South Carolina, John Gorrie had dreamed of turning into a chief medical physician in a hospital.

Now at age 32 by the help of a good friend, the eminent United States senator John C. Calhoun, Gorrie had acquired an appointment as doctor in control of the brand new Marine Hospital in Apalachicola, Florida, a busy seaport on the northeast coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The 12 months was 1833.

The tall grave-mannered bachelor medical physician arrange his new duties with quiet, optimistic reverence, and with abilities and data particularly suited to his new tasks. As a toddler he had witnessed the distress of individuals with yellow fever and malaria. In Charleston he had familiarized himself with the circumstances believed on the time to trigger the ailments.

Dr. Gorrie additionally realized the useful properties of ice from his frequent visits to the ice homes. Ice firms such because the well-known Tudor's lower pure ice within the north and shipped it packed in sawdust to the hotter climates, such because the West Indies, Florida, and India.

When cash to assist his mom and himself stopped coming from his absent, unknown father, the dark-complexioned Gorrie supported each of them. An industrious particular person, he realized shortly. He mastered a number of languages, together with Spanish and Latin, and have become well-versed in arithmetic and physics-subjects that may later be of nice profit to him, his neighborhood, and his sufferers.

His likeable persona and entrepreneur nature assisted him get hold of monetary support to attend Fairfield Medical School in New York, the place he excelled in his research and developed an excellent deal with on nerve ailments.

Shortly after receiving his medical diploma, Dr. Gorrie and his mom moved to Abbeville, SC, the place he practiced medication briefly and realized extra concerning the prevention and treatment of yellow fever, malaria, and therapy of nerve issues.

It was at this level in his profession that Dr. Gorrie's good friend, Senator Calhoun, obtained him the appointment at Marine Hospital. Dr. Gorrie and his mom shortly packed their possessions and headed overland by stagecoach by Georgia clay nation to a small city named Sneads, Florida, close to the commercially busy Apalachicola River. Leaving his mom in Sneads, the younger physician traveled by boat to his new project.

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There within the bustling cotton seaport of Apalachicola, Dr. Gorrie started a life that may deliver him rising fame, fortune, and occasional bitter disappointment. Working lengthy, arduous hours, the rangy doctor used his data, coaching, and abilities to treatment and ease the struggling of his patients-sailors and civilians, slaves and freemen.

The younger physician urged the townspeople to undertake strategies utilized in Charleston to eradicate circumstances believed chargeable for the unfold of yellow fever and malaria. These steps included fill-in or drainage of low-lying swampy areas; fires; tree groves; and gauze curtains round beds at night time.

For individuals who contact the fever, he prescribed mattress relaxation, treatment, trigger nets, and reducing of physique temperature by use of chilly compresses and by lowering warmth and humidity within the sickrooms.

An inventor. Dr. Gorrie had developed a crude however workable cooling system. He hung urns crammed with ice obtained from a New England delivery firm from the ceilings of his sickrooms and ran pipes by the ceilings. Because the air was drawn by the pipes, it handed over the ice within the urns. Because the air handed over the ice, it was cooled and circulated by out the rooms, displacing the recent, humid air that brought on the sufferers a lot discomfort.

Dr. Gorrie was happy with the outcomes, however crucial merchandise in his air-cooling apparatus-ice-was costly and never at all times accessible in adequate portions. As a result of the ice needed to be shipped in by the ice firms from locations like faraway Boston, Massachusetts, the value generally rose to as a lot as a greenback and fifty cents a pound-a steep value at the moment. Typically the ships arrived late.

Lastly, within the sizzling local weather ice melted shortly, despite strategies used to gradual the method, similar to packing the ice in pine sawdust or hay, wrapping it in blankets, and conserving it specifically constructed storage areas.

Nonetheless looking for a greater technique to cool his sickbays, Dr. Gorrie determined to make use of his data of physics to construct a mechanically powered machine to decrease the temperature and humidity for his sufferers. Working nights in an outdated shed behind the hospital, he designed a crude however workable machine which harnessed heat air, compressed it, and adjusted it to refreshing cool air thatrought a lot aid to his fever-ridden sufferers.

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The physician-inventor had solved two issues: He had made the necessity for ice obsolese in cooling the sickrooms, and he had diminished the expense of cooling them. Nonetheless, he thought, what if somebody may mechanically produce ice? Not solely on a small scale but additionally commercially.

Wanting forward, he noticed the benefits of such an invention: Perishable meals could possibly be transported in heat climates; ice cream and different frozen meals could possibly be manufactured on a extra widespread scale and for much less price; different meals could possibly be frozen, saved for indefinite intervals of time, then thawed and ateen; and medicines requiring a lot cooler temperatures for storage could possibly be preserved.

Dr. Gorrie retired from most of his medical apply to dedicate time to his ice-maker venture. He closeted himself as soon as once more within the outdated shed behind the hospital and commenced secretly to experiment. He selected to work in secret as a result of if he failed, he wouldn’t be uncovered to scorn and mock. And there was one more reason for being clandestine about his invention: There can be much less likelihood of somebody stealing his thought if he succeeded in his enterprise.

Nevertheless, he discovered that inventing an ice-making machine grew to become harder than inventing its mechanical air-cooling system. Like with Thomas Edison and the electrical gentle bulb later within the century, he failed many occasions. When he lastly found the important thing, it got here accidentally.

One night time throughout an unusually extreme warmth wave, Dr. Gorrie's assistants left the mechanical air-cooling machine working all night time to offer steady consolation for a number of the doctor's extra severely ailing sufferers. The subsequent morning when an assistant got here to show off the machine, he discovered its pipes clogged with ice. Excited over the breakthrough, Dr. Gorrie plunged with renewed zeal into his venture. Inside a year-by 1845-he had constructed a crude however workable system that would manufacture brick-size ice blocks.

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Briefly, Dr. Gorrie's ice machine used mechanical pressure to compress and develop air, step by step eradicating warmth from the water within the freezing vessel. The warmth was then absorbed in an liquid just like brine, circulating throughout the freezing vat. As the warmth was eliminated, the water contained in the vessel was cooled and froze.

Dr. Gorrie's invention first grew to become public data when he promised some Episcopal ladies that he would provide them with ice for his or her ice cream pageant if the ship bringing ice didn’t arrive on time. The ship was delayed and the physician fulfilled his promise.

Though fame didn’t come to Dr. Gorrie in his life time, he earned the respect and love of his fellow Apalachicolans-not just for theventions of his air-cooling system and the mechanical ice maker but additionally for his therapy and treatment of the sick and for contributions to his neighborhood as a mayor, councilman, and deacon of the Episcopal Church.

His efforts to construct business ice-making machines to provide his frozen product in a lot bigger portions failed. He was relentlessly opposed by the large ice firms which feared the financial results such a profitable business endeavor would have on their enterprise pursuits. Others opposed his efforts on ethical and spiritual grounds. Lastly, there was the idea that the demand for ice wouldn’t assist giant, business crops.

Sick and dissatisfied over the failure of his efforts, Dr. Gorrie ultimately collapsed and died in l855 on the age of fifty-two.

Right now, John Gorrie continues to obtain tributes as the daddy of recent air-conditioning and refrigeration. A statue of the resourceful physician stands in Statuary Corridor in Washington, DC; a museum, a monument, and a bridge named after him honor his reminiscence; and the unique ice-making machine sits on exhibit within the Smithsonian Establishment – a long-lasting tribute to the physician who made ice .


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