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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In the summer of 1805, Frederic Tudor and his brother William had a ridiculous idea. But by winter, their "extravagant enterprise" -- selling ice to the Caribbean -- would have dozens of men and horses toiling on a small Massachusetts lake in the middle of the night.
First in Martinique and then in Cuba, Tudor spent ten years learning hard lessons in refrigeration, marketing, and international trade law. After many narrow escapes from debtor's prison and yellow fever, Tudor caught the lucky break he needed, and was invited to sell ice to South Carolina. This first entry paved the way to business in other southern markets and proved to be his family's fiscal salvation. Tudor eventually employed thousands and perfected ice harvesting to the point that his next goal -- selling ice to India -- seemed a reality. By crossing the equator, Tudor's "slippery speculation" finally received the recognition his monumental task deserved, and ice harvesting in New England in the late 1800s embodied the same frenzied hope as California's Gold Rush. Tudor's perseverance served him well; he outsold all his competitors, and ice became a domestic necessity.
Long ridiculed, Tudor's dream changed the world. Many industries -- breweries, fresh food production, meatpacking, and the sale of ice cream and chilled drinks -- became a part of daily life. Poring over hundreds of diary entries, press clippings, personal letters, and shipping logs, Gavin Weightman has assembled a passionate story of one man's resolve to make something out of what others considered worthless. (Winter 2002 Selection)