Summary

Before refrigeration was invented, most people could not store certain kinds of foods for more than a few days. And, in the summertime, chilled milk and cold drinks were rare. But in the winter there was ice frozen in ponds, lakes, and rivers. Starting in the 1830s, people began to harvest ice, store it in ways that limited melting, and transport it to homes and businesses. Eventually, every home, restaurant, and tavern had an ice box, and a huge, vital ice business grew. Author Laurence Pringle describes the key inventions and ideas that helped the ice business flourish. He discusses northern areas of the East and Midwest that were sources of ice and gives details of ice harvesting and storage by focusing on one lake--Rockland Lake, "the ice box of New York City." And he writes of those vital but sometimes controversial workers who delivered the ice to customers. Larry Pringle worked closely with experts and relied on primary documents, including archival photographs, postcards, prints, and drawings.



In the early 1800s, people began to harvest ice, store it in ways that limited melting, and transport it to homes and businesses. Eventually, almost everyone had an icebox, and a huge, vital ice business grew. In this riveting book, acclaimed writer Laurence Pringle describes the key inventions and ideas that helped the ice business flourish. He points to the many sources of ice throughout the East and Midwest and spotlights Rockland Lake, "the icebox of New York City," to offer a close-up look at the ice business in action. Pringle worked closely with experts and relied on primary documents, including archival photographs, postcards, prints, and drawings, to capture the times when everyone waited for the ice man and his wagon to deliver those precious blocks of ice.