Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 1
February 2007
 
Interesting Reads
 

Excerpt from American Agriculturist, Vol. XXVIII, No. 12, December 1869

The Ice Harvest

But few are aware of the importance of the ice harvest. It has been derisively said of Massachusetts that her principal productions were granite and ice. The first shipments of ice to India and other tropical countries were made from Boston, and the ice trade has had much to do, directly and indirectly, with the prosperity of that city.

The ice trade is by no means an important one to Boston only, but in New York and near every considerable town and city there are large amounts invested in the ice business, and employment given to thousands of laborers. The immense demand by New York City for ice is met by several associations, the largest of which is the Knickerbocker Ice Co., which draws its supplies from Rockland Lake. This lake is about half a mile west of the Hudson River, and a short distance above the town of Nyack; its water is remarkably pure and clear, and it is so situated as to afford unusual facilities for gathering and shipping the ice. One of our artists visited this locality during the harvest of last year, and presents a series of sketches, which show the different steps in securing the crop.

The ice is first cleared, if necessary, of fallen snow, as shown in figure 1.
V-shaped snow-plows and common road-scrapers are used. Figure 2 shows the processes of marking and cutting. The cleared surface is marked by an iron point, as a guide for the ice-plow, which is a blade with coarse teeth, like a series of plane-irons placed one after another. This, when drawn across the ice, makes a deep groove or furrow. Attached to one side of the plow is a guide, which runs in one groove, and serves to mark the distance of the next one. When the ice is sufficiently grooved by the plow, it may be split up by the use of an iron bar terminated below by a heavy chisel. A saw with coarse teeth is also used for dividing the ice; it has a cross-handle, and is worked by one man.

Figure 1   Figure 2
Fig. 1 – Clearing the ice of snow.   Fig. 2 – Marking and cutting.
 
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