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Ice Harvesting

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The horse is hauling three blocks of ice up the ramp. Hooked into the last block is an ice grapple. The blocks are being steered by an ice hook. The laborious practice of ice harvesting continued throughout the 19th century until artificial ice machines made the industry obsolete. The first artificial ice machine was patented in 1834 by Jacob Perkins in London. Hundreds of machines followed. But all used chemicals that were expensive and that had to be replaced regularly. In the 1880s improvements in technology made artificial ice economical in some circumstances. In the decades that followed, the artificial ice industry grew steadily. Still, it would not be until after World War II that the natural ice industry disappeared.


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