It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!
For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.
Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
Order a cold drink at a restaurant or zip through the drive thru and chances are it comes with ice. Ice is one of those common things we just don’t think about. It comes in bags, we fill our own ice cube trays, or it pops out of our freezer’s ice maker. Ice as we’ve come to know it in cube form is a relatively recent creation, but ice use goes back a long way. History is filled with stories of emperors and kings sending servants into the mountains to gather up ice and snow to be used for desserts and drinks. Some things are just better served cold. Before modern refrigeration came on the scene, we employed ice houses and cold spring houses to keep our foods fresh.
I for Icy Inspiration
In the early years of the United States, many wealthy Americans had ice houses where blocks of winter ice cut from frozen ponds were stored. Written in the household accounts of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are references to these structures on the grounds. At this point in history ice was a regional luxury. I’m not sure how cold Virginia winters get for these two famous men to have ice in their ice houses. Perhaps they had it shipped in from the northern states. New England winters, however, were cold enough for lakes and ponds to freeze over several feet thick. This ice was cut, packed in sawdust for insulation, and stashed in ice houses where it would last well into the summer months.
In Massachusetts in 1805, wealthy merchant Frederic Tudor was enjoying a family picnic which included ice cream. The story goes he joked with his brother about how people in the sweltering West Indies would give anything for ice cream and cold drinks. That idea resonated with Frederick. Thirty years later Frederick would be known as the Ice King who made a business of shipping ice to people living in the warmer climes of Cuba, Calcutta, South America, and China, as well as to the hotter cities in the union such as Charleston and New Orleans. There’s even an account of ice being shipped from Massachusetts to England’s Queen Victoria. He’s credited with the first large scale commercial ice industry in the United States. Needless to say, Frederick Tudor became a very wealthy man. And it began as a whimsical comment made over a dish of ice cream!
Free for the Taking
Harvesting natural ice became a prosperous business in New England during the 19th
century. It wasn’t all used for cold drinks and frozen treats either. Restaurants, hospitals, dairies, breweries, markets, and meat and fish packers needed ice too, so business boomed. One of Tudor’s ice harvesting foreman by the name of Nathaniel Wyeth developed specialized plows and saws to improve the harvesting of ice. Ledgers show the Boston winter of 1879-80 saw a whopping 600,000 tons of ice harvested. That translated to 381,000 tons sold and consumed world wide. The Tudor Ice Company wasn’t the only one harvesting and selling. Ice was a global business now and the product was basically free for the taking each winter. An estimated 5,000,000 to 5,250,000 tons of ice was consumed in the United States in 1879-80 alone. By 1900, the ice harvest brought in more than 10,000,000 tons a year.
In 1856, the average household had an icebox. (Funny how words linger. As a child I had older relatives refer to the refrigerator as the icebox.)
Ice cost 50⊄ for 100 pounds in 1923. By 1930, Frigidaire synthesized freon and opened the door to modern refrigeration. Shortly after, the refrigerator brought an end to the ice harvesting era.
Ice Harvest and trade ~ A surprisingly good wiki with lots of references.
Just for fun 🙂
Tomorrow ~ letter J!
TODAY~ Join me on my satellite blog http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/
Authors’ lives outside of the books we write are often as interesting as the worlds we create. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this 10-day event I’ll be sharing my recipes. I hope you stop by. There are lots of prizes and you might have delicious and useful ingredients waiting in your backyard. 🙂
Fantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/
Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
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