Tag Archives: ice trade

The ice men come to Walden Pond (Walden 186)

Harvesting on Lake St Clair, Michigan - circa 1905. Wikimedia Commons

Harvesting on Lake St Clair, Michigan – circa 1905. Wikimedia Commons

“To speak literally, a hundred Irishmen, with Yankee overseers, came from Cambridge every day to get out the ice. They divided it into cakes by methods too well known to require description…” — Henry David Thoreau, from “The Pond in Winter,” Walden

Today, of course, it does require description. The ice trade was a big deal in New England prior to the advent of refrigeration. Simply put, the region had bitterly cold winters and lots of lakes. Ice was cut in blocks and hauled to ice houses where they were stacked and insulated (often by being covered in sawdust), and then sold throughout the warm weather months.

Thoreau continues his description (paragraph breaks added): Continue reading

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