The story of the 19th-century ice trade, in which ice from the lakes of New England – valued for its incredible purity – revolutionised domestic life around the world.
In the days before artificial refrigeration, it was thought impossible to transport ice for long distances. But one man, Frederic Tudor, was convinced it could be done. This is the story of how, almost single-handedly, and in the face of near-universal mockery, he established a vast industry that would introduce the benefits of fresh ice to large parts of the globe.
Thanks to Tudor, the American fashion for drinks ‘on the rocks’ spread to tropical areas such as the West Indies and British India. By the 1830s fleets of schooners carried the frozen cargo, packed with sawdust and tarpaulins for insulation, to all corners of the world. The harvesting of the ice from New England’s lakes employed thousands of men.
The frozen water trade had a profound influence on the tastes of a large part of the world, but with the development of artificial cooling systems in the first quarter of the 20th century, the huge industry established by Frederic Tudor vanished as if it had never been.
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Everybody everywhere enjoys imbibing beverages 'on the rocks' probably without ever sparing a thought about how the frozen wherewithal was achieved before the advent of artificial refrigeration. This book tells the fascinating tale of Frederic Tudor, a diminutive Bostonian of Devonshire descent, who in the early 19th century evolved the idea of transporting New England ice to the four corners of the earth to cool fevered brows, aid in the creation of ice cream and deliver a refreshing coldness to all manner of drinks. Tudor faced widespread derision, but persevered to found a vast industry. Weightman's account is excellently researched and presented, and vividly covers the total demise of a now forgotten industry.From the Back Cover:
On 13 February 1806 the brig 'Favorite' Left Boston harbour bound for the Caribbean island of Martinique, with a cargo that a few imagined would survive the month-long sea voyage. Packed in hay in the hold were large chunks of ice harvested from a frozen Massachusetts lake. This was the first venture of a young Boston Merchant, Frederic Tudor, who imagined he could make a fortune selling ice to tropical countries.
Ridiculed from the outset by fellow merchants, Tudor endured years of hardship before he was to fulfil his youthful dream. Over thirty years he and his rivals extended the 'frozen water trade' to Cuba, Charleston, New Orleans, New York and London and finally – to the astonishment and delight of the British Raj – to Calcutta, when in 1833 more than a hundred tons of ice survived a four-month voyage of 16,00 miles with two crossings of the Equator. For the next fifty years Calcutta, Bombay and Madras eagerly awaited their regular supplies of New England ice.
Tudor not only made a fortune; he founded a huge industry which each winter employed thousands of men and horses to harvest millions of tons of ice. Thanks to his astonishing enterprise, iced drinks, chilled beer and home- made ice Cream became an essential part of the American way of life, and cooled the brows of colonial communities throughout the world long before artificial refrigeration became available – after which the frozen water trade melted away, leaving little to show that it had ever existed.
In this fascinating book Gavin Weightman reveals the forgotten story of America's vast natural ice trade, which revolutionised domestic life for millions of people.
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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007102860 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0982256
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007102860