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A Great Big City

100 Years Ago Today: Summer Ice Shortage

From The New York Times — July 9, 1911

The high for today is set to approach 90°, but there is one problem you won’t have to deal with: melting ice! One hundred years ago, the hot weather was making it difficult to transport ice from the ice house to the “Greeks and Italians who have little ice depots in convenient basements” – so much so that it was driving these basement ice depots out of business.

During the high heat, the only source of ice were the ice wagons, which were being mobbed by crowds when they passed through town on their way to serve their regular customers, but they were not allowed to conduct sales with outside clients. They did, however, offer some helpful advice: keep your ice wrapped in newspapers while it’s in the ice-box and “It will last twice as long.”

Click on the newspaper clipping to read the whole article.

Image: Ice Wagon in a tenement backyard – btw. 1902 and 1914 – from the NYPL Digital Archives


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