You are here

Thomas Moore

Letter from Moore to Jefferson, 21 June 1802. Library of Congress.

Thomas Moore (1760-1822) was a civil engineer and farmer who developed one of the earliest refrigeration devices. It was constructed by placing a tin box inside an oval cedar tub and filling the gaps between box and tub with ice. The whole was then covered cloth lined with rabbit fur for further insulation. He developed it to transport butter from Georgetown to his home in Montgomery County, Maryland.

In a letter dated June 21, 1802, Moore invited Thomas Jefferson to view this new refrigerator.[1] Jefferson made a sketch of the device in the margin of the invitation. Two years later the notation "Paid Isaac Briggs for Thos. Moore 13.D. for a refrigerator" appears in his Memorandum Books.[2]


  1. Thomas Moore to Thomas Jefferson, 21 June 1802. Recipient copy at the Library of Congress:
  2. MB, 2:1132. (Isaac Briggs was Moore's brother-in-law.)

Further Sources


Login or register to participate in our online community.