The modern popularity of ice was not a shared trait of those living back in the early 1800’s. The inventor of the industry had to give away far more ice than you can imagine to stir up enough interest to begin a business. Below is a somewhat condensed, but accurate history of the ice cube so sought after in current culture.
An Idea that Created a Dynasty
It is said that Frederic Tudor began his quest to build a dynasty selling ice when his brother William mentioned to him at a family picnic that they could make a huge profit from iced products in the West Indies. This idea stuck with Frederic and he eventually purchased a ship to take an 80-ton load to the island of Martinique. The purchase of the ship alone cost him nearly all of the investor money of $5,000 dollars.
Once reaching Martinique Frederic Tudor found the reception “chilly.” No one seemed interested in ice, as they were unfamiliar with the ability to cool drinks and preserve fresh items in an area that never saw temperatures plummet below freezing. It took a few giveaways before the idea and product began to gain popularity. His business began to soar to both island areas and the southern parts of the United States.
Boom of the Industry
Frederic Tudor died in 1864 a very wealthy man from his push of the ice industry throughout the world. His company reached as far as India with blocks of ice that were broken down and sold to individual buyers. There was a rush on the ice business after his death to try and gain a foothold on the ever-increasing market demand. By the late 1800’s nearly every home had an ice box that needed to be filled to function properly. Little did they know life and the ice industry was about to change forever.
Refrigeration and the Self-Made Ice Cube
By 1940 there were five million refrigerator units owned that had the ability to freeze ice. This put a huge sting on the commercial ice industry. People could freeze their own trays of usable, clean ice cubes. The ice industry continues to be a $2.5 billion dollar a year industry, but every American is thankful to be able to walk into the kitchen and get ice cubes whenever they feel the need.
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