James Harrison, Scottish pioneer of refrigeration, c 1870.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
James Harrison (1816-1893) was a journalist, and moved from Glasgow, Scotland to Australia in 1837. In Australia Harrison concentrated on designing a machine capable of refrigerating meat for international transit. In 1855 he patented an ether liquid-vapour compresion fridge. Convinced that the ability to trade meat with Europe would improve Australia's industry, Harrison sent 20 tons of beef and mutton to London in a ship using his refrigeration methods. Unfortunately the chemicals leaked, ruining the cargo and consequently making Harrison bankrupt. Despite this early failure Harrison's designs went onto to revolutionise trade between Australia and the rest of the world.