Jacob Perkins (9 July 1766 – 30 July 1849) was an American inventor, mechanical engineer and physicist. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Perkins was apprenticed to a goldsmith. He soon made himself known with a variety of useful mechanical inventions and eventually had twenty-one American and nineteen English patents. He is known as the father of the refrigerator. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1813 and a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1819.
The idea had come from another American inventor, Oliver Evans, who conceived of the idea in 1805 but never built a refrigerator. Whilst working in Philadelphia he met and became friendly with Oliver Evans. Even as a teenager, Perkins displayed remarkable ingenuity, inventing a way to plate shoe buckles at the age of 15. The precocious inventor saw the promise in Evans' work on refrigeration, and he took Evans' design and began modifying it.
Perkins is credited with the first patent for the vapor-compression refrigeration cycle, assigned on August 14, 1834 and titled, "Apparatus and means for producing ice, and in cooling fluids". Perkins then persuaded a man named John Hague to construct the machine, and the refrigerator was born.
Created more as an experiment than something fit for commercialization, Perkins' product certainly had room for improvement. Still, his device did manage to produce a small quantity of ice by drawing on the same fundamental principles used in modern refrigeration.
Following Perkins' success in creating a functioning fridge, other inventors moved the device rapidly toward commercialization. As for Perkins, he retired soon after inventing the refrigerator and died in 1849, never witnessing the tremendous impact his invention had on modern life.
According to Wikipedia - science.howstuffworks.com