Ice - Thursday, January 21, 2016

For the past few weeks, we have been spending a lot of time on the Omrod Giant World of Miniatures.  We still have plenty to discuss there - and we will! - but want to start spreading the wealth a little bit.  That in mind, we are going to return to the Toy Box and talk about another one of the hand-crafted wagons made by Amish craftsmen for parades.  This one honors a business that lost its marketability decades ago, with the advent of the electric refrigerator.  We refer, of course, to the old Ice Trucks!  (Don't confuse these guys with the television show about Ice Trucking.  That is a whole different kettle of fish - but likely kept cold regardless.)

The ice trade was actually HUGE business in the 19th century.  People living in colder climes - like Maine and Massachusetts - would collect and harvest the frozen water on lakes, cut it up and ship it to points south.  It began in 1806, inspired by a man named Frederic Tudor.  Tudor figured out that specially-designed ships, using sawdust to help preserve the ice, maintained the ice long enough to get it to tropical points in the Caribbean, India, and elsewhere.  An industry was born that prospered.  When railroads emerged, refrigerator cars used ice to keep meats and vegetables cold.  People in big cities such as New York and Philadelphia embraced the idea of a cool drink in the heat of the Summer.  By the year 1900, approximately 90,000 people were employed in the ice trade, hauling in $28 million annually.  Now, of course, ice can be manufactured in machines, so the production of ice is much easier and can be done anywhere.

Although the American Treasure Tour is pleased to honor the ice trade, we cannot pretend to do adequate justice to it.  That is why we recommend visiting the Antique Ice Tool Museum the next time you travel to West Chester, Pennsylvania.  Call ahead, though.  Just like us, they require advance reservations.  Here is their website:  
QUESTION:  What Disney movie begins with an acknowledgement of the importance of ice to a local economy?
A)  The Little Mermaid
B)  Frozen
C)  Tangled
D)  The Great Mouse Detective

PARDON YOU!  Yesterday, we celebrated the release of American hostages held in Iran with the end of Jimmy Carter's one term as President of the United States.  One of the very first things he did once he stepped into office, on this day in 1977, was use the power of his office to pardon thousands and thousands of Americans who dodged the draft to avoid fighting in Vietnam. At the time, it was a highly controversial act.  Now, not so much.

WHO LOVES YA, BABY?  On this day in 1922, the Greek-American actor Telly Savalas was born in Garden City, New York.  He was a late bloomer to acting, beginning his career in his late-thirties, after being a military man and a television producer.  Burt Lancaster took a shine to him and gave him film rolls; otherwise, he primarily stayed on the small screen, most famously as Kojak, a tough as nails cop with a heart of gold famous for sucking on his lollipops.  He passed away one day after his 72nd birthday.

QUOTE:  We're all born bald, baby. - Telly Savalas

ANSWER:  B)  Frozen.  Of course!  They don't really discuss what it is in the film, but it represents a young Kristoff working the lake and collecting ice with the men of the town.  And yes, you could not be a weakling to move ice!  It was tough work!