(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
The ice plow seen here is from an old pattern dating to at least the early 1800s. The long teeth cut deeply into the ice along a regular pattern that had been previously scored into the ice surface. Ice blocks had to be a standard size to fit into the ice boxes, or refrigerators, of the day. With ice, households could store dairy products or meats for days longer than they could without refrigeration. Beginning in the 1820s, a thriving natural ice industry harvested ice from frozen rivers and ponds. The ice was then sold in towns and cities across the country and even exported overseas.