Refrigerator Car Model

Refrigerator Car Model

<< >>
This refrigerator car model was made by employees of the car-building and car-repair shops of the Merchant Despatch Transportation Corporation (MDT) around 1905. The Merchant Despatch Corporation operated express freight cars carrying meat and perishable foods for approximately 128 years between the Northeast, Chicago, and other western states including California. The use of refrigerator cars with blocks of ice to preserve food began in the 1860s. From the late 1880s fast rail distribution of perishable food radically changed the American diet by allowing fresh produce to be delivered nationwide at any time of the year.
Object Name
Model, Refrigerator Car
model, railroad freight car
Date made
Associated Place
United States: New England
United States: Pacific Coast
United States: Mountain Region
Physical Description
wood (part material)
metal (part material)
stone (part material)
overall: 14 1/2 in x 10 in x 39 in; 36.83 cm x 25.4 cm x 99.06 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Merchants Despatch Transportation Corporation
Patent Models
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
America on the Move
America on the Move
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object