Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ice harvesting in 19th and 20th century America

Early 1900s films, recent tapes and zoom talk tapes show the various processes of ice harvesting on lakes and rivers: horse teams to plow the snow, score then saw the ice, then send the 'cakes' of ice up a conveyor into huge ice houses. It was done by small farmers to large scale operators, such as Bostonian Frederic Tudor the "Ice King" who shipped the New England ice to India.

"Harvesting ice at Wolf Lake, Indiana, in 1889" click images to enlarge
The poster "Help in the Harvest" (first image) was probably between 1914 when war was declared (and the blockades began) to a few years after WWI. Ammonia was needed for the war effort (to make munitions), so less commercial ice (amonia used as refrigerant) could be made. Thus, harvesting ice from lakes and rivers was encouraged. Future president Herbert Hoover stepped in with aid relief, which was the subject of a talk this month, Feb 9.

Herbert Hoover and the Feeding of Germany. Dr. David Mills. National WWI Museum and Memorial HERE TAPE HERE

Ice Harvesting on Jamaica Pond. Charlie Rosenberg. Jamaica Plain Historical Society. Boston area. Jan 21 2023 TAPE HERE or HERE. some unique old photos

Crystal Products of the Frost King: Ice Harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry in New England. “The ice was packed in sawdust, stored and then shipped around the nation and all over the world.” Dennis Picard. Great Barrington Libraries MA Jan 21, 2021 TAPE HERE

Harvesting Cold: The ice trade in New England and Acton. Doug Herrick, Bill Klauer, Larry Kerpelman. Acton Historical Society MA Jan 20, 2021 TAPE HERE

How ice got to India. About Frederick Tudor, the industry, property rights. David Hebert. Acton Institute. MI Dec 2019 TAPE HERE

Ice Harvesting on the Kennebec River, Maine. Christopher Timm, Executive Director of Maine Maritime Museum. Curtis Memorial Library Feb 8 2023 TAPE may be HERE

Ice Harvesting in Monroe County, PA. Bill Leonard. Monroe County Historical Association. Aug 2022. Info & TAPE HERE, or HERE Youtube

Ice Harvesting in the Hudson Valley, NY. Ice initially from the Hudson River. Two clips by Thomas Edison from 1898 and 1902 from Rockland Lake NY, Miller narrated what they were doing. David Miller. Rhinebeck Historical Society NY 55 min. Feb 2020 TAPE HERE 2 books: Ice Tools 1911-12 NY catalog HERE and Ice Harvesting on the Hudson River by Harry Arnold of Mutual Benefit Ice House in Staatsburg.

Ice factory at Grimsby. "UK’s last surviving example of industrial-scale ice-making, with its equipment still in situ. In fact, it was the biggest of its kind in the world." 10-30 min. TAPES tour HERE last Cooper HERE Interviews "people who are former Ice Factory employees, who used the Ice that was made in the Factory, or who remember the Docks in their heyday." HERE

Thomas Edison films
1898 NY Rockland Lake 6 min HERE
1902 Cutting and canaling ice. Horses 2 min. LC HERE
1902 Circular panorama of housing the ice. Huge ice house and many conveyors. 1 min Library of Congress HERE
1902 Loading the ice on cars, conveying it across the mountains, and loading it into boats. Thomas Edison 4 min LC HERE

1919 PA Pocono Manor Ice Harvest. All horse powered, shows cleats on bottom of hooves, hand saw, move with poles, ramp up to horse drawn wagons, feed bags for horses, up mountain, load onto small ‘elevator’ pulled by horse sending ice up into ice house where stacked. 10 min. Monroe County, PA TAPE HERE

1920 PA film of harvest on Stillwater Lake, (now Camp Minsi). 13 min. film at bottom of page. The first tape is 4 min. clip with written explanations of each step. Monroe County, PA 2 TAPES HERE

1932-39 CT film using a wide variety of equipment. Snow removed by horse, truck and tractor ‘shields’ (plows); ‘Marker’ pulled by horses to make lines; saws: hand, pulled by men, motor-driven hand saw; the large ‘float’ sent into ‘basin saws’, then up incline thro planer and into the ice house. Bridgeport, CT area for 100 year old Southern New England Ice Co. 10 min TAPE HERE

1926-1957 Harvesting Ice in New England. from the film collection of Northeast Historic Film. Check your PBS (aired 2019) or rent on vimeo 1 hr TAPE HERE

1950 MA Ice House Pond Ice Cutting. Acton, MA 3 min thro the process TAPE HERE

1965 IA last harvest at Lansing, Iowa. Includes gas powered motorized sleigh with saw blade. 7 min. TAPE HERE

Hanford Mills Museum NY 2021 virtual ice harvesting series of tapes. Pamela Cooley compiled Favorite Recipes from Ice Harvests Past TAPE HERE

Frederic Tudor and the Ice Industry 10 min TAPE HERE

Thompson Ice House Harvesting Museum ME Feb 2020 harvest, with conveyor up to ice house. 4 min TAPE HERE

Demo of 1930s Pennsylvania farm harvest 2019 7 min. TAPE HERE

Small farm north of Shawnee, PA. ice from Delaware River
AND Frozen, yes that movie, just in case you have children or grands and have watched it. alot...

Frozen's Ice Harvesting Scene Explained. 7 min. TAPE HERE

Early refrigerators. First patent 1802 and cookbook author Mary Randolph 1825 (image) blog posts HERE
Ice cream making HERE

Wine coolers, celleret

The other day I came across a talk about a pistol given by Frederic Tudor who made his fortune transporting ice. He sent the pistol to someone who had fought during the Indian rebellion. Mostly about the fighting and the pistol. A talk I couldn't put on my food history calender. And yet, quirky enough for me to write a post around it... plus all the ice we have since the last storm.

Mar 18 Thur 10-11 AM A gift from the ‘Ice King' Frederic Tudor, American millionaire from harvesting ice in New England and shipping it to India, Caribbean, Europe. Hearing about the 1857 Indian rebellion, he sent a pistol and sword to Sir Henry Havelock (at siege of Lucknow). Royal Armouries UK HERETAPE HERE

Calendar of food history talks HERE

~Poster: Help in the harvest ice is needed to save food for the starving people of the world. 1910s LC Library of Congress
~Harvesting ice at Wolf Lake, Indiana, in 1889. Lakeside Directory, US, 1889; in Cummings, Richard O. The American Ice Harvests: A Historical Study in Technology, 1800-1918, 1949
~Ice harvesting, shooting the cakes into the house Detroit Pub Co c1903 LC
~Ice harvesting, Conneaut Lake, Pa.: Cutting deep grooves with the plow after the marking c1907 LC
~Close of the ice-harvest - scenes on an ice-farm near Athens, on the Hudson River, from a sketch by Joseph Becker. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. March 16, 1889
~Kautz farm, just north of Hialeah summer houses (now Hialeah Picnic Area, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) on PA side of Delaware River. HABS
~Randolph, Mary. The Virginia Housewife. 1825
~Gouffe, Jules. The Book of Preserve (Le Livre de Conserves) … Translated... by Alphonse Gouffe. London: 1871 [French ed 1869]
~"The Oyster Dinner" by Jean-Francois de Troy. 1735 Musee Conde
~Ice harvesting, Conneaut Lake, Pa.: Removing surface snow from the ice with scraper. c1907 LC

©2021 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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