Friday, April 1, 2016

Channel Cat Tales; Frozen Water and the Ice House

How Water Shaped our Lives ---
Channel Cat Tales:  Frozen Water
Imagine life without an electric refrigerator. The Ice wagon was a familiar site on town streets. Iceboxes cooled milk and fresh food, if the housewife remembered to put the sign in the window for the ice man to deliver a cake of ice. These iceboxes were typically made of wood, lined with tin or zinc and insulated with sawdust.  Water pans underneath had to be emptied daily.  By the 1950’s more than 80 percent of the American farms and more than 90 percent of urban homes an electric refrigerator.  

Earlier on the blog we published an article about the Lawrenceville Ice and Cold Storage Co. Three years later, October 8, 1914  the Lawrenceville Ice and Cold Storage Company adopted plans for its new building. It was to be 117 feet by 137 feet in size; the walls of concrete and brick; the roof of cement. The framework would be steel as would the window frames, doors and door frame. In fact, the article stated that there will not be enough wood in the entire building to make a toothpick.
The boilers were from the Erie iron Works. The 500 hp. (aggregate) boilers hung suspended and were "automatically connected so that an accident to one would have no effect on the power. They were set in a patented clay setting that was guaranteed not to burn out.” The boiler room in the new plant was to be toward the railroad, in the northwest part of the building.

The storage room for wholesale trade was 70 foot high and equipped with an automatic elevator. There were four levels of storage, so that the elevator might be set automatically to stop at any level. A cake of ice loaded at the foot, would trip the elevator and rise to the designated level where the elevator again tripped, unloaded and descended once again, according to a newspaper article.  The storage room will have concrete walls for 20 feet and then brick, all insulated with cork.

The retail storage room for residents of the city was to be in the southeast corner of the building. At a height of 30 feet, its walls and installation were the same as the wholesale storage. Between the two storage rooms and back of the retail room was located the ammonia pans where the ice was frozen. In the northeast part of the building were the engines and the distilling plant. The combined capacity of the engines was to be  100 tons per day.

The company was enthusiastic over the new plant stating that the entire plant was to be the very latest and best.   The plans provided for telephone connections throughout the building, and a thorough electric lighting system. 

(Ed Note: Today this once magnificent building stands dying a slow death......)