In the mid-19th century, decades before home refrigeration became the norm, you could find ice clinking in glasses from India to the Caribbean, thanks to a global commodities industry that has since melted into obscurity: the frozen water trade. In … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. Picture with me. If you will India during but its colonial rule. Let's hear in the year eighteen sixty five picture, a gun, Office in Bombay, as the city was then too this officers are discussing an uprising that has been challenging Britain sovereignty over the subcontinent. Its may, all this month in India, temperatures of sword to over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The officers are sweating There is no air conditioning, of course, but they have a servant who brings them to ice cold drinks officers take sits and their drinks and smell the ice in their glasses, and at this moment these coal drinks, to dripping with condensation view. Like a small miracle to these, colonialist wiggers, but actually the
It was a kind of miracle, that's our own little miracles, SAM Greenspan, because an eighteen sixty five, no one had refrigerators. It wouldn't be for another. Half Century until they started appearing in the? U S. Little Helen, India, Britain, Now the ice in those officers glasses, if you were to zoom out from those glasses and out and out and then zoom in on the United States on Boston. On a frozen lake in the dead of winter. Their you'd find men working You see a lot of men and horses and a lot of activities going on and then you'll see horse drawn plows hikes in and pusher bars or poles. That's Rick Smith amateur historian, of the American ice trade. So all these people, together we're up on the lake This ice workers would cut ice out of a frozen pond hall into port, put it on a ship and said
on a four month journey to India. Any ice that british officers and Colonial India would have had in their drinks would have started out on the top of a pond in Massachusetts. The tools of the ice trade varied by location, but generally it went like this, so the first step is to measure the ice. There's a small drool whole that's drilled in and a measurement taken of how thick the ices, because it had to be at least fourteen inches. Fourteen inches of ice was big enough to hold the team of workers and horses. That would be assembled start Usually the day after Christmas, the worker, would come out onto the ice, clear off snow in debris and then The horse drawn ice ploughs would start to score the ice and they would do this all over the ice until they had made a grid a grid on the ice. They couldn't make a checkerboard. Let's say, workers would use giant hand saucepan ice pikes, basically, big sticks with sharp ends to break up the squares of eyes so that they were floating in the water esteem,
Empowered Conveyor belt. What hall these takes of ice out of the water and they would go through a plainer, so each cake would become smooth and uniform, then we stacked in a near by ice house, large wooden structure that would hold tons of ice ice House often had a railroad citing, so the ice could be loaded up onto a train and frayed off to the city. Have you seen the Disney movie frozen? The ice harvesting scene is actually pretty accurate at its peak ice harvesting happened on lakes, all over New England, New York Michigan in the Poconos region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was at one time the major industry, my father actually worked on the ice harvesting back in the nineteen, the thirties and fortys, and even into the fifties, this entire area, the Poconos. That was pretty much. The only thing that you could do in the winter time for work, but now it's gone, it just disappeared. Entirely is
sat in a way that an industry melted away as it were, To also remember the natural ice industry is Gavin waitin on govern Whiteman. I London and I right social history, books by Amy Lee and one of my most successful boots. What's called the frozen water trade, one edition of the book is actually titled the frozen water trade, a true story, maybe because even Gavin publishers thought the prospect of cutting frozen water out of American lakes and shipping it overseas sound. Made up. But that is exactly what happened. Was being harvested from all over the American Northeast Pact onto railroad cars and ships and sent to the Southern: U S! The caribbean and british colony in India. The development of the international aid trade can be traced back to one person. A man who, by the end of his life, would come to be known. As be ice, came a guy named
Rick Tudor Haven the son of moderately well off Boston, family, we have very odd broke. Sorry, I shouldn't use the web blockage in English. Up to beat him ass if he'd be pretty eccentric broke, they'll Tudor did not invent the idea of moving frozen water from one place to another. The practice actually began in Europe and South America. Well, before tutors time, people would go up to the mountains and bring down ice and snow, although Tudor might not have known about this, but he did know that new Englanders had a local tradition of cutting ice at a local lakes and using it to keep food cool when free. True, there was a young man. Farmers certainly did keep ice which they collected the winter and then, when they were taking, say buses market in the summer. They would take a bit of this size. Prevent it from melting, so it was used on a small scale in that way, but it wasn't put into drink. That sort of thing, and it was very
Oh, when Tudor was in his early twenties, he and his brother William, took a trip to the Caribbean and he thought these people need ice. Chooses idea was that he was gonna make his fortune, because I swear a frozen assets of doing that wasn't being used and he felt he could sell, is particularly to countries which were very hot and go to have no eyes at last. He delivered its them from some lakes and palms and impost odious thought he was absolutely crazy, but tutor. Was convinced that this could work cocky. Even he wrote, selling ice would make him quote inevitably and unavoidably. Rich tutor shut up shop on the banks of a pond called fresh pond in Cambridge Massachusetts, just about two miles: North West of Harvard Square and after he learned how to get ice out of the lake tutors, looking for new ways to keep ice frozen.
Tudor experimented with all sorts of insulating materials. Because remember this is more than a hundred years before refrigerators began appearing in people's houses. Discovered that sawdust was a remarkably good insulator and he could get it for next to nothing from lumber mills in Maine, kept inside of a dry ice house and packed with sawdust. Tutor, would eventually discover that he could keep ice stable for years. To all Tudor had to do was get the ice onto a ship and send it to hotter climate. His first attempt to sell ice outside Boston made with a little shipment to Shippers we want a ship eyes see the most ridiculous cargo, so he fitted out a ship himself. Nice made it to the Caribbean, no problem, but Martinique was not equipped to deal with a temperature sensitive product that literally melts into something worthless without the right infrastructure. It was a bit of a failure rarely because when it notes of arsenic, no one knew how
goodbye. She wrote a rather amusing entry is diary about the fact that people wrapped their piece of Blank is one of wondered why the disappeared. When they got home the news papers ridiculed Tudor, the tutor would not be discouraged. He went back to the Caribbean into the southern United States and show people there how to build more effective ice houses and worked for water carved out of lakes in ponds was being transported, hundreds to thousands of miles. He had a rough time getting it going. He went bankrupt a couple of times, buddy manage it in the end, but for all of us Routers, innovation in insulation and supply chain logistics true genius was, as a marketer before tutor ice had mostly just been used to preserve foodstuffs. Frederick Tudor pie, neared. The radical idea of pudding ice into beverages when you first drink a cold drink like that, when you are not used to it, it is called a shock action,
She had to persuade people that what he was selling was a luxury. Worth paying for Judah. What couch his eyes around two balls and so on. Offer it from free say, look try this, try that he had to persuade people that What he was setting. Would I go to improve their lives if you like it wasn't self evident to them? The first one as they say, is always free, Tudor wrote its people had tried chill drinks, they were hurt and will no longer tolerate tepid water. He was a bit like us of a drug pushers like any drug pushers Tudor soon found himself with a lot of competition. Rival Companies set up shop on tutors, fresh pond and staked a claim to it. In fact, They had to go get at Harvard professor to devise a map, carving up boundaries for the ice rights of different parties. All on the same lake, in course,
wasn't just fresh bond because now any body water that was frozen thick enough to support the weight of an ice harvesting crew was a hot commodity. Began to get harvested all over New England and New York Pennsylvania in Canada, one of tutors competitors that when I'm like ice company based that of venom lake about thirty miles north of Boston, somehow they manage to persuade their buyers that their eyes was premium product ice from when I'm late would be sold us, especially pure it was noticed, was ready, but it was a way of wild thing. You know of all ices better than yours. Legend has it that Queen Victoria would only use when I'm like ice, and maybe you're thinking. Why would England need to import ice all the way from North America when there are plenty of really cold places that are closer? Norway wondered the same thing nor weed businessmen tried breaking into the ice, is even going So far as to rename one of their lakes, when am lake in an attempt to apply
if it from the Wyndham Lake ICE companies, prestige and name recognition dictators company never made a play for the UK ice market, which turned out to be a pretty good business move because I've never really took off in England even the twentieth century American G Eyes in England, were shocked to find nothing but warm beer, and there were several in the air force who said they would put their drinks in the back of a plane lie to about twenty five thousand feet where it which ill chill a little bit least But there is one place where Brits could not get enough ice. India, so. This is three months in the hold of a ship twice across the equator, I was quite a remarkable. Survival rate for the ice, which was eventually unloaded in Bombay, as it was called. Then my address and Calcutta, despite all this
Henry Tudor never really became inevitably and unavoidably rich, like he'd predicted his whole life he was in and out of debt and Denis presence, and he eventually became not particularly well see but well the fourth and he botanist states outside Boston and lives to kind of rural life, but still it wouldn't until forty years after tutors death squarely the twentieth century. There, then natural ice industry began to shift the early refrigerators started appearing in the nineteen teens, but the early models broke all the time. The physics of cool improved much harder to master than heating and cooling You had have electricity, which was terms in the U S and have until the nineteen twenty is slowly. But surely the technology kept improving and consume. Where's began to have a choice of getting that.
RO ice scraped off the top of a frozen pond or ice made in a factory where the there can be better controlled unfiltered which started to go more important because, as the towns grew as buildings, grew up around fresh palmed, the other lakes that were used for supply, sewage, wig, into them. It became a health has of this became a great problems. Relies industry and to make matters worse for the naturalised trade, the northeast experienced a spate of unusually warm winters, the ponds that have been supplying the world's eyes, weren't freezing as well. The news pay. Whereas were calling it an ice famine. The supply region shifted northward towards main, where the car It was colder in the water less polluted by then the writing was on the wall. The natural ice trade was on its way out in the nineteen twenties, but hung on in some places, especially rural places, until late. As the nineteen fifties and ice harvest still happen in some places,
there's a renewed interest in the tradition Pennsylvania and all over New England, there are ice harvest revivals. But some updated tools and it's all more for heritage value does only people or don't putting frozen pond water in their drinks but as for the actual site, were all of this started fresh pond in Cambridge Massachusetts, the ice aid might as well have never existed. When I wish researching the story, I stayed up in Cambridge. I went out to fresh pond People would jogging round they the lake Ally Day. They were confronted by made this completely mad. Englishman saying, excuse me: do you know this ice used to be trusted.
To India from this pond and they looked at me ass if I was completely mad, so at fresh pond, there's no there's no placard anything. No! No! Cambridge Massachusetts has finally found something to not commemorate with a plaque Yeah Ninety nine percent, invisible was produces week by same Greenspan with Katy Mingle, every Trautmann, Kirk Volstead, Delaney Hall, Sharif, UNICEF and me roman Mars, Special too rosy Winberg Stein Eve are located in Dylan, Garret Smith, who reached out to us about this story. We are project of ninety one point. Seventy eight other beings averages go and produced out of the offices of art, sign in architecture any tears for in beautiful.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.