Ice Cube Anyone?

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

When is the last time you ever heard someone say, “Can you grab me a soda from the icebox?”? I bet it’s been a while. Let me translate: icebox or ice chest = freezer/refrigerator. And when I came across this large tong-shaped item my curiosity kicked in.

It’s an ice hook. In the early 1900s, folks would use this tool to “harvest” blocks of ice from ponds, wrap them in straw or sawdust to keep the ice as long as possible, and store them in an insulated building. They’d later pop one of those blocks in the icebox to keep food from spoiling … this was done long before refrigerators/freezers came about.

Back home there used to be an ice plant and after church on Sunday my grandpa would swing by the mill and grab some ice blocks for making homemade ice cream.

My flimsy ice tongs seem cheap and lightweight after lifting this monster! Thank you, Carl von Linden, for creating the refrigerator/freezer. I love that ice comes out of the door and not out of a pond.

Until our next history lesson …