From Ponds to Hoshizaki Ice Machines: The History of Ice

Ice is so ubiquitous in today that it is hard to imagine the last time I was served a tepid beverage. Yet there was a time when beverages were not iced and ice cream was a rare delicacy. How is it that man went from admiring frozen-over ponds to mass-producing ice with their Hoshizaki ice machines? We can attribute the popularity of ice to an entrepreneur by the name Frederic Tudor.

Hard Times for the Ice King

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Frederic Tudor was the rather lazy brother of a wealthy family in Boston. Despite his pedigree, he dropped out of school at the age of 13 and lived a life of ease at the family estate.

In 1805, after joking around with his brother at a picnic, he came up with an idea for a new industry: shipping ice to the warmer American states. Frederic recruited his bother to help and spent the next year acquiring investors and drawing up his plans to ship ice to the French Island of Martinique.

No ship would carry the ice, so he had to drop $5,000 on a ship. On February 10, 1806 the ship sailed from Boston and eventually made it to the island.

Wars, embargos and family issues made business difficult and, by 1813, Frederic had landed himself in debtors prison 3 times.

The Rise of the Ice King

Despite the hardships, Tudor insisted that ice would be a booming industry. Like all good entrepreneurs, he saught to capture the hearts and minds of consumers by convincing them that ice was a necessity, not a luxury.

Frederic travelled the country convincing bartenders to prepare drinks with ice at the same price as the original drinks to measure consumer preferences. He also targeted the medical field and campaigned for ice as the ultimate cure for fevers. Moreover, Frederic popularized ice cream by teaching restaurants how to make it. In essence, he was able to convince people that they simply could not live without ice.

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Demand was rising throughout the country, so much so that Frederic started to have problems supplying enough ice. But necessity breeds innovation! The innovator Nathaniel Wyeth developed a horse-drawn plow to cut the ice into large grids. In addition to the plow, he also developed an assembly line to improve efficiency. These improvements allowed them to keep up with the increased demand in the Carolinas, New Orleans, and Havana.

In 1833, Frederic Tudor was officially crowned “Ice King” when he shipped 180 tons of ice from Boston to Calcutta, India. Tudor made his millions and also improved economic relations between the US and British India.

But his ice monopoly did not last long. By the 1850’s, every town with a frozen pond was in on the game. The demand for ice kept rising long after Frederic Tudor’s death in 1964. As people became accustomed to fresh meats and dairy, a need for a constant supply of ice because of necessity. But ice boxes were soon replaced by freezer technologies that could keep goods cold without the cost of ice.

Hoshizaki Ice Machines

Ice still holds its throne as the leading beverage refresher. For this reason, we have refrigerators with ice makers and commercial ice machines.

Hoshizaki ice machines can produce large quantities of pure, clean ice for your commercial business. To learn more about the history of ice making technology, please contact Mirex AquaPure Solutions (713) 682-3000 or at