Science and technology exposed
The Einstein Szilard Patents
Who Invented the Einstein Refrigerator?
The basic story tells of Albert Einstein, disturbed by reports of exploding refrigerators and toxic gas, decided to apply his superior mind to the invention of a safer and more efficient machine as an act of humanitarian charity. As a piece of factual history, the evidence places it somewhere below that of Santa Clause. It was not Einstein’s or Szilard’s original idea and it used ammonia gas, every bit as toxic as those on the market at the time. There are those who nurture such fabrications because there is a need to attach things more tactile to a name who’s achievements do nothing to influence their daily lives. They seem to have a desperate need for a saviour, albeit one who’s only genuine claim to fame is that he provided endless jobs for mathematicians and physicists.
The Einstein-Szilard refrigerator patent of 1930
“(Einstein’s patent) US1781541,GB282428 of 1926) was an absorption refrigerator as shown below. It was derived from the absorption refrigeration system devised by the Swedes Baltazar Carl von Platen and Carl George Munters (US1685764, GB250983) and was manufactured by AB Arctic who were taken-over by Electrolux in 1926. The important innovations in their refrigerators were non-moving parts by elimination of the pump, silent operation and reliability. However, the Einstein-Szilard refrigerator used ammonia gas as a medium in the refrigerating process and it was noisy.”
If we now go to the Scribd link above we find the document ‘Albert Einstein’s Patents’ has now been deleted for whatever reason!
This one is also now unavailable:
See also Scientific American
Wiki: “An absorption refrigerator is a refrigerator that uses a heat source, e.g., solar, kerosene-fueled flame, waste heat from factories or district heating systems, (not an electromagnetic pump as the story goes) to provide the energy needed to drive the cooling system.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator
dannen.com: At a talk delivered at the Leo Szilard Centenary Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary 9 February 1998, Gene Dannen explains that Albert Korodi aka (Albert Kornfeld) was the primary engineer for the Einstein-Szilard refrigerators, and his knowledge of their development was unique. As a result of information that Korodi provided me, I was able to publish the story of the Einstein-Szilard refrigerators last year in Scientific American magazine.”
The Dannen article is no longer on the Scientific American link. I get a distinct feeling that there are those who don’t want us to read about Einstein’s refrigerator?
It’s quite obvious that neither Einstein nor Szilard invented the absorption refrigerator as we can also see below. We are told that they made improvements, some kind of electromagnetic pump – or did they?
aps.org, confidently but wrongly tells us that: “One of the components they designed for their refrigerator was the Einstein-Szilard electromagnetic pump, which had no moving parts, relying instead on generating an electromagnetic field by running alternating current through coils. The field moved a liquid metal, and the metal, in turn, served as a piston and compressed a refrigerant. The rest of the process worked much like today,s conventional refrigerators.
There is no sign of an electromagnetic pump in the refrigerator patent. The one used in nuclear reactors was a completely different patent:
Patent GB303065 (A) – Electrodynamic movement of fluid metals particularly for refrigerating machines
Applicant(s): ALBERT EINSTEIN; LEO SZILARD + (We are not told what the plus means)
Einstein/Szilard Electrodynamic Pump patent
This patent for the pump uses mercury, a highly toxic substance that negates the original and untrue story of the invention — to make it safe. But also it ceases to be the Einstein absorption refrigerator because it is no longer driven by a heat source, but by electricity.
answers.com asks: What did Albert Einstein invent and when?
Answer: He co-invented a type of refrigerator with no moving parts; patent number 1781541. (Also) An electromagnetic pump; patent number GB303065, http://wiki.answers.com
As we can see , the pump was a separate patent GB303065 and although it may have been applied to a refrigerator at a later date, it is not present in the original Einstein refrigerator patent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Einstein_Refrigerator.png
Wiki: “It has been suggested that most of the actual inventing was performed by Szilard, with Einstein merely acting as a consultant and helping with the patent-related paperwork. The refrigerator was not immediately put into commercial production, the most promising of their patents being quickly bought up by the Swedish company Electrolux. A few demonstration units were constructed from other patents. (They had a tame engineer to do the work and even then it was never put into commercial production)
Reference: Dannen, Geene (1997), “The Einstein-Szilard Refrigerators”, Scientific American 276 : 9095″ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_refrigerator#cite_note-1
Back to scribd.com and a clue to the identity of the plus (+) in Einstein’s patents. No one notices a humble engineers name along-side the names of two of histories most famous physicists:
Rudolf Goldschmidt and Einstein
The German Dr. Ing Rudolf Goldschmidt was a lifelong proliﬁc inventor with a considerable number of patents to his name. He produced his ﬁrst patents for bicycle gears (GB189721405, CH15310) while still an electrical engineering student in Darmstadt, Germany in 1898…
…It is astonishing that this historical proﬁle of Rudolf Goldschmidt, a colleague of Einstein, has been almost totally derived from patent information. For Rudolf Goldschmidt, the author located 121 patents covering eight countries (AT, CH, DE, DK, FR,GB, HU) from 1898 to 1952. Go to the link, it makes very interesting reading: https://www..scribd.com/document/54111702/sdarticle-5
The idea presents itself that maybe Einstein and Szilard were looking for patentable ideas solely for moneymaking purposes. The refrigerator patent was sold to Electrolux and Einstein was something of an expert in the subject of patents and maybe not really interested in inventing? Theorists theorise and don’t usually invent anything. In fact the total number of academic scientists who have come-up with an original invention is extremely small.
1805 Vapor-compression refrigeration
The method used by Einstein et al was not new and there are several claimants to the same invention: The American inventor Oliver Evans, acclaimed as the “father of refrigeration,” invented the vapor-compression refrigeration machine in 1805. Heat would be removed from the environment by recycling vaporized refrigerant, where it would move through a compressor and condenser and would eventually revert back to a liquid form in order to repeat the refrigeration process over again. However, no such refrigeration unit was built by Evans.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor-compression_refrigeration#History
1858 Edmund and Ferdinand Carr “…developed the first absorption refrigerator, using water and sulphuric acid. Ferdinand continued Edmond’s work on the process and in 1858 developed a machine which used water as the absorbent and ammonia as refrigerant (just like Einstein’s). His absorption machine was patented in France in 1859 and in the United States in 1860. In 1862 he exhibited his ice-making machine at the Universal London Exhibition, producing an output of 200 kilograms (440 lb) per hour. His design was based on the gas/vapour system.”
1925 Wiki: Carl Georg Munters, Baltzar von Platen and John Tandberg
Together with Baltzar von Platen and John Tandberg, Munters invented the gas absorption refrigerator for domestic use. His intention was to create an easy-to-use refrigerator without any moving parts. The technique produced “cold” from a heat source such as propane, electricity, or kerosene. The team rented a room and worked into the wee hours. They slept in the mornings and cut classes from the Royal Institute of Technology where they were students at the time. It took them about a year to create a first prototype that worked with self-circulation. The prototype still had one moving part, a ball valve, and was big and clumsy. Eventually the prototype was improved and their cooling solution was a world sensation. Albert Einstein once mentioned how astonished he was by their ingenious solution. The manufacturing of the refrigerator was begun in 1923 by the company AB Arctic. In 1925, development was finished, and the company was bought out by Electrolux.”
The Einstein refrigerator was patented in 1930.
REFRIGERATOR PATENTS High Court Action
Two patents that are embodied in a domestic refrigerator are the subject of a petition, the hearing of which is expected to take Mr. Justice Starke, in the High Court of Australia, at least a week. Seven counsel, including three K.C.’s, are engaged in the case. The petitioners are Baltazar Carl von Platen, Carl Georg Munters, Olaf Sigmund Tillqulst, all of Sweden; Platen Munters Refrigerating System Aktlebolag, of Stockholm; Aktlebolaget Electrolux, of Stockholm; and Pty. Ltd, of Bourke street, Melbourne. They seek an extension of two patents used in the refrigerator. Both patents have expired.
Mr. Wilbur Ham, K.C., leading counsel for the petitioners, said that this was virtually an application for a new grant of letters patent under section 84 of the Patent Act. The normal life of a patent was 16 years, unless special circumstances could be shown. Australian patents for domestic refrigerators were taken out in 1923, but they were not a commercial success until 1937-38. There were structural difficulties which had prevented this machine from becoming profitable in a commercial sense. In the last two years there had been a great demand for the machine in Australia, and there had been a high margin of profit. The petitioners claimed that the introduction of domestic refrigerators had been very beneficial to the public.
Andy Delano who recently built an Einstein refrigerator: “He calls it “Einstein’s refrigerator.” “It’s basically an absorption-type refrigerator that uses ammonia, water and butane to create a chemical phenomenon (Nothing like the one with the electromagnetic pump that uses mercury) that allows you to run the whole thing at a constant pressure, so you don’t need moving parts like a pump or a compressor,” Delano explains. “It provides cooling with only heat as an input. Literally, you heat one end and the other end gets cold.”
Delano may patent some of his improvements, but says he harbors no illusions about the refrigerator’s future. “It’s neat; it’s quite interesting, but it’s not going to revolutionize anything. I will probably do some more research on my own, but I’ll still be looking for a job when I get out of school.”