How did the refrigerator make it easy for the women in 1860-1900?
Prior to the invention of the refrigerator, most families kept their food in iceboxes. An ice box was essentially a wooden box that was lined with zinc and insulated with sawdust. People placed a block of melting ice inside that would keep the food inside cool. This ice usually had to be replaced every few days and was somewhat expensive. Iceboxes were not very large and therefore could not hold the as much food as today's refrigerator models. Also, because the ice was melting, iceboxes could not ensure a constant temperature of the food inside. More than likely women had to go food shopping everyday to get fresh foods to prepare for their families.
The invention of the refrigerator gave wives and mothers the ability to purchase groceries for their family in greater quantity. This meant less trips to the market. Also, now that there was a way to keep perishable foods longer, women could purchase more produce, fresh meats and dairy products. This probably led to healthier, more balanced meals.