Ice, Ice, Maybe? The History Of Keeping Cool


It's May eighteen o one, an Vanna Cuba John and Frederick Tudor the teenage sons of a wealthy lawyer in Boston or lying in the shade on their deck trying to find relief from the Heat John Shifts in his chair and MOANS. This is not making me feel any better in fact I feel worse. Nineteen years old John has a bone illness that's attacking me making him an invalid. His father had suggested that his younger brother Frederick accompanied him to a warm climate or John could convalesce relocating to somewhere warm was a common prescription for all kinds of ailments frederick advocated for Vanna thinking they might be able to get in on selling coffee or sugar but the heat and humidity are unlike anything they've felt before John's health is worse than ever. Frederick props himself up and takes a drink fruit juice from the glass next to him. I can't stand that all the drinks are warm here, but I wouldn't do a piece of ice from Rockwood. The tutors own a farm outside Boston called Rockwood that has a pond nearly every winter the pond freezes solid and they harvest the ice storing it in an ice house to preserve it through the summer. It's a common custom among well off new Englanders and allows them to enjoy cold drinks and ice cream even when it's hot outside Oh, don't even talk about ice it's too painful to think about it if we can't have it Frederick sits up. You, think we could sell ice here. I don't know maybe. Frederick is nothing if not full of ideas, John used to love plotting like this with him, but his illness has worn away at its enthusiasm for the future Frederick continues talking. We could ship it from home magin. What a luxury ice would be here I think about it isis free. So we just have to pay transportation costs we could make a fortune. Frederick dropped out of school at thirteen spurning plans for him to follow in his father's an older brother's footsteps to Harvard. He chose instead to apprentice in a store hoping to make a name for himself as an entrepreneur. He's now seventeen and in the four years since he started, he's made little progress. He spends most of his time hanging around Rockwood dreaming up schemes. John is skeptical of this latest idea. It would melt on the journey. You'd have nothing to sell by the time we got here I bet that's a solvable problem. John can't focus on that right now he's in too much pain feels to poor. He doesn't like the idea of returning to a Vanna even if it would make him rich, it's only may I can't bear to know how hot it's going to be in July or August we need to get out of here. You're right. It'll be warm enough by now. that. Boston can't do you harm. Let's go home and get you some ice. Not, much later, the two brothers were on a ship bound back to the United States. But John's health continued to deteriorate. January eighteen, O two, you passed away. But the idea Frederick hatched during their time together in Vanna lived on. Eighteen Oh, five Frederick had convinced his older brother William and his cousin. In on the proposition, the other two would sail ahead and find buyers and a place to store the ice. When it arrived Frederick would get to work arranging the shipment from. Boston. Their. Plan was to promote their product as a luxury good to the rich French colonials but selling ice was going to be harder than Frederick. Matching. Ice Come try this exotic northern delicacy I from Boston. It's march eighteen o six in the bustling market Saint Pierre Martinique, and Frederick is desperately trying to sell the ice off his boat. When he arrived in Pierre Three days before you learn that the only buyers, William and James had secured were prominent people who had been promised free box vice not to mention they hadn't found anywhere to store, and now he's stuck with a boat full of melting cargo. He's been reduced hawking an expensive luxury, the marketplace where common people by common goods. This was not plan. Thrusts the flyer toward a man walking through the market and caused him in French i-it's direct from Boston three days. Only the man pushes the flyer away ice. What am I supposed to do with that? Enjoy it in a cold drink. It's refine refreshment. You can even make ice-cream cold drinks. Why would I want that? Besides doesn't Melt if you wrap it in a blanket, it will protect it from the sun on the way home slow the melting it's all on the fire. He tries again the hand the man has pamphlet but demand waves it away doesn't matter. I, have nowhere to store it anyway you walks away shaking his head and muttering about what a fool Frederick Hitz. Frederick size and frustration. He had projected that he could sell ten thousand dollars ice on this voyage so far he sold fifty. A man approaches him. Are you the owner of the boat with the ice in it Frederick? Perks up I am. Can. I interest you in a block? I'm selling it for sixteen cents a pound it's the highest quality ice. Sixteen cents, it's much luxury as stake. If you say so anyway, no, I don't want any ice I just figured you'd be heading back to Boston soon, there can't be much of that ice left right I'm looking for a ship to take a load of sugar projects. Face falls taking this load of sugar back to Boston, is not a bad way to mitigate some of his losses but he's still disappointed. Yes I i. think we can come to an arrangement. Fantastic. Ultimately Frederick lost four thousand dollars on its first attempt to sell ice for those dollars was about four times what an average worker made in a year, but he didn't give. Over the next six years, he made progress in storing the ice both on the ship packed in. SAWDUST and building ice houses with better and better insulation to store it while he sold, it is marketing skills. We're getting better to you pitched cafes on making ice cream and offer chill drinks for a higher price. But despite the progress he was still failing to turn a profit. Meanwhile, Frederic's father lost most of the family fortune in a real estate deal without the. Family money to cover his losses Frederick couldn't pay his debts and in eighteen twelve, he was thrown into a debtor's jail

Coming up next