How Ice Was Domesticated for Personal Use

Photo: flickr/stefanx80

Photo: flickr/stefanx80

These days, it’s not uncommon to walk into a cocktail bar and see the bartenders chipping away at massive blocks of ice to create the perfect rock for your drink. But it’s worth remembering that not so long ago, ice was a luxury. The Atlantic says we have one Boston entrepreneur by the name of Frederic “The Ice King” Tudor to thank for making ice available everyday use in the early 19th century.

He made pricey mistakes trying to figure out a way to transport the stuff from 1806 to 1810, until he “learned to minimize melting by packing the ice tighter and insulating it with sawdust instead of straw.” His rise as the Ice King was marked by what turned out to be key business moments like selling ice to “scientists and physicians in the tropics who saw its potential for preserving food and for medical uses.” 

Not that Tudor, “known for his pigheadedness as much as his marketing savvy,” could have predicted that his single-minded pursuit would make way for the advent of refrigeration technology and artificial ice. But the Atlantic reckons he probably would have found today’s new ice developments pretty cool.

[via The Atlantic]

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