(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Before the advent of modern refrigeration, ice was one way of keeping perishable foods cold. In the early 1800s, New Englanders harvested ice from ponds and lakes to sell abroad to places like India as well as for stocking icehouses at home. Ice could be preserved for months when closely packed and insulated with sawdust. The ice trade in northern New England grew still larger at the turn of the 20th century as people purchased ice to cool their "ice boxes" at home. This iceman stands with his cart outside an icehouse in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, around 1920. Note the steelyard for weighing the ice the customer purchased.