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Ice! The Amazing History of the Ice Business

by Laurence Pringle

Published by Calkins Creek / Boyds Mills Press, 2012
74 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59078-801-1

Ages 10-14

Ice as a hot commodity? In the days before electric refrigeration, it was exactly that. Laurence Pringle examines the fascinating history of the ice industry, looking at everything from technology that developed and changed across the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (ice elevator anyone?), to labor issues (at least one young woman broke the ice ceiling in the male-dominated field), to economics (from ice as an export to the fact that not every family could afford an ice box). Pringle’s narrative focuses primarily on New England and the East Coast. Rockland Lake, a small, primarily spring-fed lake in New York, was an ice company’s dream—it included a navigable overland route to the Hudson River. From there, the ice could be shipped to New York City, where the coming of the iceman on a hot summer’s day was an event in many neighborhoods. An intriguing range of dynamic visual material accompanies Pringle’s narrative, from advertisements to ice-delivery placards to diagrams of ice tools to photographs of the ice industry in its heyday. Bibliography, source notes, and additional resources round out this cool volume. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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