(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Before modern refrigeration, ice was one way of keeping food cold. In the early 1800s, New Englanders harvested ice from ponds and lakes to sell overseas 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 twentieth century as people bought 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 bought.