Ice!: The Amazing History of the Ice Business


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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
". . . tells a kid-friendly slice of social and technological history. Aided by an impressive collection of archival photos and advertisements, Pringle has a good eye for side stories..." — USA Today

". . . Pleasingly designed with short blocks of crisp text and ample illustrations consisting of archival photographs, drawings, and images of the ice cards customers used to communicate their needs to the deliverymen. Readers will be enticed." — Booklist

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Nonfiction written for kids has made such fantastic leaps in the past ten years, and this new interesting and informative addition is thoroughly enjoyable and readers will find it engaging. I am fairly confident that not too many children—much less their parents or teachers—have given too much thought to the ice industry that was huge during the majority of the 19th and early 20th century. This text, full of amazing details as well as pictures (of ice, the tools used to harvest it, and the advertising around it) provides readers with a wealth of information that will both enlighten and entertain. Text boxes throughout the book provide interesting factoids as well as personal testimonials about those who were connected to the industry or to some aspect of ice harvesting. Also, as noted, the pictures and illustrations chosen to highlight both the use of ice as well as the industry that developed are excellent. This book is a great addition to any school library, especially with the current focus on Common Core standards and the importance of informational text in the classroom. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Iceboxes, icehouses, icemen, and-brrr-more about the history of the harvesting, storage, and delivery of ice are covered in this slim, abundantly illustrated volume. Pringle begins his narrative by asking readers to imagine life before chilled beverages and frozen desserts. He briefly covers early food preservation (think cool streams and underground cellars) before delving into the rise of the ice industry in the early 1800s, and, in particular, the harvesting of the frozen stuff at pristine Rockland Lake in New York. A few individuals are highlighted, including Frederic Tudor, aka the "Ice King," who "dedicated his life" to bringing this precious commodity to the West Indies, and Josephine Walter, a 17-year-old hired to guide horses as they transported ice (the only female known to be hired by one of the larger companies, she was listed in the company record as "Joe" Walker). Readers will view the inside of Thomas Jefferson's icehouse and learn about George Washington's "troubles" with his. This book works on many levels: as an overview of an industry replaced by modern technology; of the culture and artifacts surrounding a ubiquitous product; and as a glimpse into our not-so-distant past. An easy-to-read chart (ice sources), catalog pages (ice tools), and captioned photos and reproductions of cartoons and advertisements suggest a variety of extension activities. The resource list includes two short films (dated 1898 and 1902, available on YouTube); view them with your students as you booktalk this informative title.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A coolly fascinating, nostalgic glimpse into life as it was over a century ago. Long before the invention of the refrigerator, various methods were used to chill food and drink and to keep perishables from spoiling. Along came forward-thinking individuals who thought to make ice available on a year-round basis--even, remarkably, in locales where it didn't occur naturally. Eventually, the ice industry was born, leading to ever-better technological innovations for cutting, harvesting, transporting and storing it in enormous ice houses along the banks of lakes and rivers. Selling eager customers ice from fresh, unpolluted sources became a thriving consumer and commercial enterprise. Pringle's writing is as clear and sharp as well-hewn blocks of ice, and the book is a visually refreshing treat: Modern readers are brought directly into a past they may hardly have imagined by marvelous contemporary advertisements; black-and-white and color photos and engravings featuring tools, customers and workers in action; colorful, entertaining, informative sidebars and more. Youngsters may not believe that a commodity they take so for granted in their drinking glasses is the stuff of such fast-paced, absorbing historical reading. Very well-documented, even including links to some short Edison films. Readers will regard their refrigerators and freezers in a whole new, respectful light. (websites, list of films, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590788011
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,045,696
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Pringle has written more than one hundred books for children and teenagers, many of them award-winning science titles. Internationally, his books have sold more than three million copies.

Illustrated with black-and-white archival photographs.

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