Today I don't even have to open the fridge to get ice. In the 19th century lots of changes were made in the development of the ice industry. Ice played a vital part during the course of the 19th century and as purification and eventually refrigeration became more viable, the industry increased again and again. Below are some tidbits and an excerpts that will give you a glimpse into this industry.
An Outline of Ice History
Prior to 1805 no regular ice business in the U.S.A.
Winter 1805-1806 beginning of Ice business in Boston, the summer of 1806 sent ice to West Indies to help fight yellow fever. Sent by the Frederick Tudor
1825 only 50,000 tons of ice transported in and from U.S.
Next 30 years Ice consumption increased in U.S.
1855 Frederick Tudor started to be called the "Ice King"
Many New Uses for ice have exerted a marked influence on the demand during the succeeding years. During the war of the Rebellion, the Government was a large purchaser, on account of the hospital service. The brewers, who in earlier days, had suspended operations during the heat of the summer, now pursued their avocation continuously, with the aid of ice. Meat packers found in ice an agent for immensely augmenting their product, while the fisheries consumed many thousand tons.
The demand for ice creams and cooled drinks, together with the growing taste for luxuries, in our cities and towns, has stimulated the retailing of ice until, at this time, there is hardly a town or village, where ice privileges exist, that does not support a representative of the ice trade, and there are few large towns in the South which are not furnished with one or more artificial ice factories.
The Use Of Ice.—It is safe to say that, at this time, the users of ice, directly or indirectly, now include nearly the entire population of the United States.
Cutting And Storing Ice.
Care Of The Ice Field.—From this time until the crop is stored in the ice house, the ice dealer devotes his energies to the care of the ice field. Special situations develop special duties and requirements, which the alert dealer studies with care. If the ice is on a running stream, the possible pollution of its higher levels will be carefully guarded against, and also all rubbish removed from the surface of the field. Sticks and stones bedded in the ice hinder the work and damage the keen edges of the cutting tools. Motion in the water is necessary to promote the growth of the ice, and, when the ice is sufficiently heavy, traveling over the surface, or other jarring, is beneficial. It has been found that where a roadway has been opened across an ice field, and the travel over it considerable, the ice was thicker along the roadway than at other places on the field.
On inclosed lakes or mill ponds, a gentle current induced in the water promotes the growth of the ice materially. The air is expelled from the water during freezing, if opportunity is found for it to d<5 so. Unless this is done, the ice is cloudy. Agitation of the water assists the escape of the air; hence it is that ice from running streams is usually clearer and more brilliant than pond or lake ice. An outlet afforded to the landlocked ponds and lakes is often beneficial during ice-making weather. Too rapid a current, however, will retard growth, and a gentle motion diffused over the entire field produces the best results.
The growth should be carefully noted under different conditions, attention being given to the atmospheric influences and other general effects, and the regulation of the motion, based on ascertained results at the locality where applied. As the ice thickens, its growth is slower at the same, or even a lower, temperature than that which at first made ice very rapidly. The earth at the bottom and sides of the ice field radiate heat into the water. The heat rays of the sun pass through the ice, if it is clear, into the water below, with very little effect upon the ice itself. The ice, being a poor conductor of heat, is, under these conditions, an obstacle to its own growth. It shuts in the water from contact with the cooler air, prevents agitation of its surface by passing breezes, and retards the escape of air and heat.
On running streams, these conditions are much modified. In passing over shallows or rapids, where the current is swift, the water remains open and exposed to the air. At these points in its course it parts with its accumulated air and heat very rapidly, a thin vapor or mist being often perceptible in the air at such places, owing to the rapid radiation. The tumbling and turning of the water at rapid shoals materially assists the growth of ice at points below where the current grows gentle. Streams of this character, whose beds are free from accumulations of vegetable mold, or other sources which generate gases, produce clear and sparkling ice of greater thickness than is found on still ponds or lakes in the same vicinity, and exposed to the same temperature.
The Usefulness Of Snow.—Snow, as it is well known, is a great impediment to the inroads of frost into anything enveloped by it. A covering of snow on an ice field is a great impediment to the escape of heat from the water, as well as protecting the ice from the direct action of the cold air, and greatly retards the growth of the ice. It is essential to remove this snow as early as practicable, as the ice harvester has always in view a possible thaw or rain, and endeavors to secure his crop at the earliest practicable moment.
Snow, however, in the event of soft or warm weather, is an aid to the ice by protecting it from the direct heat of the sun, and the force of a rain is largely expended in melting the snow. The water and snow on the top of the ice freezes into snow ice as soon as the weather turns cold again. This snow ice is white, being very porous and filled with air, and detracts from the quality of the crop, its thickness depending on the depth of snow on the field, amount of water, and the temperature. At the top of this snow ice, where it merges into the snow, will be found a stiff, crusty layer, more or less firmly united to the ice below, which adds to the difficulty of removing the snow on top. An inch or two of snow ice will lessen the loss by breakage of cakes, in stowing, and the ice also comes out of the house in better shape, and will stand shipping better. It is not so brittle as clear ice, and is homogeneous in its structure, not being readily split in any direction.
For further information check out: The Ice Crop