ice storage structure – before refrigeration
These days we take fresh food for granted, but keeping food refrigerated was a difficult prospect until the middle of the 20th century. Harvesting ice was an important industry everywhere in the world. Ice was saved for the summertime in icehouses. To make use of the ice to cool food, an icebox was employed. This pre-cursor to the modern refrigerator had several drawbacks, but mainly a melting block of ice that had to replaced constantly and usually left a large mess.
When clean surface water sources began to get scarce, technology came to the rescue. Industrial refrigeration technology allowed for artificial freezing of water. This meant ice could be produced in a factory setting right in the communities where it was needed. People quickly realized the benefits of this and thousands of ice factories all across the U.S. were in operation near the turn of the 20th century. Home ice production was not feasible until a safe and reliable process was developed (starting circa 1916), but eventually home production spelled the end of the ice factories.
Milford Ice & Coal Company – a modern ice factory
Our own icehouse had a very similar process to the original system used here. Fresh water was fed from a water tank up high (the tower) into steel tanks surrounded by chilled refrigerant.
The water freezes in galvanized containers and is retrieved by a hoist crane
The block of ice is stored in a room below
The block of ice is sliced into smaller sizes and ready for delivery
I suppose this is a chipper machine, don’t put your arm in
A finely detailed plan
There are modern HABS floor plans and elevations on the website. It’s not the most user friendly website, but HABS is a great resource. They have historic photos of just about every kind of structure you can imagine. Just like any academic/library search, you should expect to come up with a lot of synonyms in order to find what you are really looking for.