The refrigerator counter has become one of the most important pieces of equipment in the modern market. A market owner who has realized the fast turn-over of products in the retail meat industry, considers the counter of greater importance than the refrigerator. The principal thought of these merchants is to sell meats and not keep them in a refrigerator, and for that reason, refrigerators that are being installed, are much smaller in size than refrigerators of former years, but more counter display space is used.
While all display counters may not be equipped for mechanical refrigeration, practically all counters of this type are refrigerator cases, as ice can be substituted for mechanical refrigeration. The origin of the refrigerator counter is traced back to the New England states where it was first used in semi-public markets in Boston, Springfield and Worcester, Massachusetts. They were called “Monette” type counters after the inventor of the original counter glass bracket and the idea of having coils in the rear of the counter. This type of counter is shown in illustration No. 120.
As mechanical refrigeration was not as popular during that time, cracked ice and salt were used for making brine, which was pumped through the coils in the counter. However, after mechanical refrigeration became more popular, this counter was used more extensively as mechanical refrigeration reduced the operating cost considerably.
At first all these counters were open and considerable refrigeration was lost so that the counter did not prove very successful. Manufacturers of refrigerating machines could not guarantee better results than a difference in temperature of 20° between the outside and the inside of the refrigerator counter.
Improvements on Counters
In order to prevent the cold air from escaping so rapidly from this type of counter, an improvement was made by adding sliding doors to the counter, which were placed between the top of the coil container and the top plate glass shelf. This was a great improvement over the open method and many retailers use the same principle today. This type of refrigerator counter is still being built extensively. The general principle is shown in Illustration No. 122.
A further improvement was made on this type of counter by insulating the bottom of the counter top to prevent condensation forming underneath. As many users of these types of counters realized that the bottom part of the counter was being wasted, some manufacturers constructed a counter utilizing the bottom part as a refrigerator. This type of counter is receiving considerable attention by modern chain store retailers with the object of eliminating refrigerators entirely from the meat market.