National Cooler Day, celebrated on the Friday before Memorial Day, is all about appreciating the life-saving invention, which is the cooler. This year, it takes place on May 24. Can you imagine that as simple as the cooler is, it wasn’t mainstream until the 1950s? A cooler is an insulated box that keeps food or drinks cool. Ice cubes or ice packs are usually used in the cooler to help the contents inside stay cool. Coolers are commonly used during the summer season for storage or transporting perishable products. They are also taken on picnics, vacations, or outdoor activities. Depending on the occasion, coolers are of different sizes, including personal coolers, disposable coolers, reusable coolers, and large coolers with wheels.
History of National Cooler Day
The history of the modern cooler can be traced to the beginning of the first millennium when the Celts developed barrels to store and transport food items. The invention was soon taken over by the ancient Romans, who introduced them to the rest of the world through their vast trade routes. In 1802, a Maryland farmer, Thomas Moore, patented the refrigerator. It was an oval tube made from cedar wood, with a rectangular tin box inside it and lined using rabbit fur. The rectangular tin box is filled with snow and crushed ice to keep the content of the refrigerator cool. This invention changed how food was delivered and stored across the United States. It became prominent in restaurants and hotels, and even special freight ice boxes based on the refrigerator design were built for the railroads.
In 1944, an engineer at Dow Chemical, Ray ‘Otis’ McIntire, created Styrofoam. The polystyrene foam was made by combining pressurized polystyrene with isobutylene, making it light, durable, and an excellent insulator. Although its primary purpose was to replace rubber, it later became used in packaging, and then as coolers. In 1951, Richard C. Laramy filed a patent with the United States Patent Office for a portable ice chest. Laramy later sold his patent to the Coleman Company. In 1954, the Coleman Company launched a galvanized cooler, later replacing it with plaster. The company also changed the product’s name from ‘portable ice chest’ to ‘cooler.’ Capitalizing on the success of the Coleman Company, other cooler brands started cropping up, including the likes of Igloo and Yeti — which became the gold standard for coolers.
National Cooler Day timeline
The Celts employ their shipbuilding and iron working skills to develop the barrel.
Thomas Moore, a Maryland farmer, files a patent for the refrigerator.
Ray ‘Otis’ McIntire, an engineer at Dow Chemical, creates styrofoam as a cheap alternative to rubber.
The Coleman Company launches its first cooler, popularizing coolers in the United States.
National Cooler Day FAQs
Why are coolers white inside?
Coolers are white inside because of color’s effect on ice retention. White colors reflect all light, allowing the content of the cooler to stay colder for longer.
How do coolers work
Coolers are based on insulation technology with the ice effect. The inside of the coolers is lined with foam or plastic, which insulates the cooler, slowing down the circulation of warm air. While that is happening, the ice keeps the inside of the cooler cold.
Does cooler work without ice?
Yes, a cooler can work without ice. The function of the ice is just to help keep the content of your cooler colder for longer. The real work itself is done by insulation used in the cooler. But remember to pre-chill your food and drink.
National Cooler Day Activities
Buy a cooler
Do you own a cooler? If not, go to the store and buy one. Aside from temporarily replacing your freezer, it's also perfect for picnics, social gatherings, and all outdoor activities. There are a variety of coolers available on the market. Check online cooler reviews for the one that meets your needs, and either place an order or go directly to the store and buy it.
Head out for a picnic
Having a picnic with a loved one or friend is one of the ways you can celebrate National Cooler Day. Pick a spot for the picnic; that could be your local park or a public or private center that allows picnicking. Then ensure your cooler is fully stocked with drinks and ice — you don't want to run out of drinks in the middle of the fun. You can learn how to make the best use of your cooler's space by checking your cooler's brand website.
Enjoy an outdoor activity with friends
Going out on a playdate with your friends is another way you can have the best fun on National Cooler Day. You can arrange for a tennis game, football match, or a basketball game. Don't forget to bring along a cooler filled with drinks!
5 Interesting Facts About Ice
Dry ice isn’t made of water
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide — without becoming a liquid, it can change from a solid state to a gas at room temperature.
Two types of ice
There is the ‘land ice,’ which consists of freshwater, and ‘sea ice,’ which is made of saltwater.
Ice is less dense than water
Frozen water takes up about 9% more volume than water in a liquid state, which is why ice can float on water.
Glaciers are the world’s frozen water reservoirs
About two-thirds of the Earth’s freshwater is stored in glaciers, and if they melt, it will drastically affect the global water cycle.
Ice exists beyond Earth
Ice can be found in large quantities on planets farther from the sun than the Earth, including Jupiter, Saturn, and Europa.
Why We Love National Cooler Day
Coolers keep our food and drinks cool
Using the magic of insulation and ice, coolers help us keep our food and drinks colder for longer. Power outages? No problem! Coolers work without electricity, and under the right conditions, they can keep your food and drinks cold for up to two days.
Coolers make outdoor activities possible
It's definitely impossible to head out for a tennis or basketball game with your refrigerator, even the mini ones. That's where your cooler comes in, keeping your chilled drinks at arm's reach. And when you go camping or on a fishing trip, you can trust your cooler to keep your steak, fish, drinks, and other food items chilled.
Coolers are an essential part of family gatherings
A family barbecue is not complete without the exciting cooler. From keeping your steak fresh to ensuring you always have a cold beer at hand, coolers are one of the key things you need to make your family gatherings memorable.
National Cooler Day dates