"In 1805, a twenty-three year-old Bostonian called Frederic Tudor launched a new industry: the international frozen-water trade.
Over the next fifty years, he and the men he worked with developed specialised ice harvesting tools, a global network of thermally engineered ice houses, and a business model that cleverly leveraged ballast-less ships, off-season farmers, and overheated Englishmen abroad. By the turn of the century, the industry employed 90,000 people and was worth $220 million in today’s terms. By 1930, it had disappeared, almost without trace, replaced by an artificial cryosphere of cold storage warehouses and domestic refrigerators."Frederic Tudor, Ice King of the World
, almost singlehandedly turned local ice harvesting into a massive international business shipping New England's ice to the world -- indeed, upper-class Victorian Britain enjoyed its artisinal American ice
shipped from Lake Wenham
at all the best dinner parties -- with a product so widely desired in the 1850s that shipping it was profitable even when 75% of it melted in transit.
From the frozen lake to the ice house
, from the ice house to the ice box
, commercial ice enabled the development of long-distance rail shipping of perishable foods
and became less a special-occasion food for the wealthy and more a daily household need, helping the newly-urbanized to maintain a healthier
, more diverse diet
With the development of the refrigerator
and universal electrification, the commercial ice industry collapsed and disappeared between World Wars I & II, as the one-time luxury for the wealthy harvested in the deepest cold of winter and shipped around the world in wooden brigs could now be effortlessly manufactured in every home.
Frozen's "The Frozen Heart
Pocono Manor Ice Harvest in 1919
, amateur film
Traditional Ice Harvesting in Maine
in 2008, at the museum that is the subject of the main link
Raquette Lake Ice Harvest 2013
Moment in History: Ice Harvesting
Previously on Metafilter: The Cold Chain