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Pot-in-pot refrigerator facts for kids

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Clay pot cooler - Canari Frigo - Tonkrugkühler
Functioning of a clay pot cooler
Tonkrugkühler, Clay pot cooler, Canari Frigo
A clay pot cooler filled with vegetables
Gemüseverkäuferinnen mit Tonkrugkühler, Female vegetable sellers with clay pot cooler, vendeuses des légumes avec un canari frigo, Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso
Vegetable sellers with clay pot cooler in the market at Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso

The pot-in-pot refrigerator, also known as a Zeer الزير in Arabic, is a food cooling device. It works by using the evaporation of water. It needs no electricity.

It is made by putting a clay pot inside a larger clay pot with wet sand in between the pots and a wet cloth on top. As the water evaporates it cools the inside, letting food stored in the inner pot to be kept fresh for some time. It must be placed in a dry, ventilated place for the water to evaporate to the outside.

Evaporative coolers perform poorly or not at all in climates with high humidity.

Mohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria patented the device in 1995 and was awarded a Rolex prize in 2000 for developing the “pot-in-pot preservation/cooling system”. However, the device was known at least as early as the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, as seen by the hieroglyphic kbb, "to cool".

Wine coolers

Earthenware wine coolers work on the same principle. They are soaked in cold water for a while, then emptied and put on the table. The pores of the earthenware are now full of water. Evaporation from the earthenware keeps white wine cool enough for several hours.

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