Thursday, September 29, 2016

Building Cold Storage aka Ice Houses

A week or so back I had a few posts on Ice. I came across this article about building an Ice house in "Ice and Refrigeration, Vol. 4" ©1893 by Southern Ice Exchange and thought this might interest some of you.

The building fitted up for this purpose was a part of an unused factory. After examining various cold storage houses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we decided upon a plan which is a modified form of some of the smaller refrigerators of Armour & Co., or of Swift & Co., and is as follows:

The room when torn out and ready for fitting up was about thirty feet square and nineteen feet high. The outside covering roof and upper floor was all that we left of the building. The walls upon the four sides of the room, both for the ice chamber and storage room, were made as follows: First, the building was sheathed up on all sides, then a 2-inch air space, carefully lined on both sides with suitable building paper; next a space of six inches was filled with dry sawdust, then another air space, finishing off the inside with clear matched spruce. This gave us a wall sixteen inches in thickness with four courses of sheathings besides the outer or old one, and four linings of paper.

The foundation for the floor was made of broken stone, upon which was laid a first or lower floor, then a lining of paper, next a foot of sawdust, in which were placed the sleepers; upon these was laid the second or upper floor of narrow yellow pine. This left us a clear room of twenty-seven feet square and nineteen feet high. Next we placed a suitable number of io-inch posts resting upon stone piers, then io-inch timbers upon which rested the joists, three inches thick, twelve inches deep and fifteen inches apart. All of this timber was of white oak.

Upon these joists was laid a floor of wood with an incline of four inches and covered with galvanized iron carefully soldered. At the lower side of the incline was a galvanized iron trough running the entire length of the room to catch and carry off the drip from the ice to a trapped pipe, which conveyed it outside of the building.

This floor is capable of sustaining a weight of several hundred tons.

Upon the east and west sides the floor joins the walls, but upon the north and south sides open spaces were left the entire length of the room, the one upon the north side being ten inches wide, and the one upon the south side being sixteen inches wide, giving a free circulation of air between the ice chamber and the storage room. A sheathing three feet high is made inside the wider opening, but none at the narrower one.

This gives the circulation as follows: The warmer air from below passes up the wide opening over the ice, and being cooled falls through the narrow opening to the room below and thus equalizes the temperature in the two rooms when any change of temperature occurs.

We had now two rooms twenty-seven feet square, the upper or ice chamber being nine and one-half feet high and the lower or storage room seven feet, or high enough to admit three tiers of barrels on end. The ice chamber holds 180 tons of ice which is not sufficient to carry us through all seasons. The capacity of the lower room is 5,000 cubic feet or 650 pounds. There is one door in each apartment, but no window in either.

The cost of storing the ice is from fifteen to twenty cents per ton. There is no covering on the ice, but a foot of sawdust on the floor above.

With a full supply of ice we are able to keep the temperature at about 360, which is as low as natural ice will cool it without the use of salt, although there are records of 350 for a limited time, which is only two degrees above the melting point. We have never been able to discover any serious fault in the construction of the house except that the ice chamber would be better if twelve feet in height, holding 200 to 250 tons of ice, but under the circumstances that was impracticable.

More than 20,000 feet of lumber was used in fitting it up. The entire cost was $1,165. There was considerable excavation and wall building, which added considerable to the expense.

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