Story of the “King of the Ice”

Every one of us enjoys ice drinks during summertime which give us a cool and soothing effect. But have you ever thought how it became possible for you to have these drinks. It was a time when these drinks were not affordable by everyone. These drinks were only in the range of rich people. But everything changed when an entrepreneur named Frederic Tudor from Boston shipped the ice which was harvested from the ponds of New England to the stifling areas. Tudor, like every great man, was among the people who have the ability to bring change. He is the pioneer of the 19th century’s trade of ice and left the world as a millionaire. Delicious with the cooling effect these frosty cold drinks provide you relief during hot summers. The history of this great man is as interesting as the cold ice drinks gifted by the king of ice.

For big challenges sometimes you need to be brave and mad enough. Same is the situation with Tudor. He was just a 22- year-old when he decided to harvest and exports the wintertime ice from the ponds of New England to the Martinique French tropical colony. He wanted to export ice there so that they can use the ice to cool the drinks, to protect the food, and the most important they can use the ice to soothe the patients of yellow fever. It was a strange ambition. He and his father both knew that to achieve the goals was a tough task. Basically, the business was simple. But the difficult thing was to export the ice without melting. He tried but didn’t find anyone to ship the ice. After this, he decided to buy a brig and in 1806 he set sail. He cut 130 tons of ice outside Boston. The voyage went good, but there were no ice houses in Martinique. He gained no profit. He faced a loss of $4,000.
Even after not achieving any significant profit he didn’t lose his heart and the next year he shipped ice to Havana but again he failed to gain any profit. 1870 Embargo Act and 1812 War immobilized the shipping of American and this was the toughest time for Tudor. On the way to his goals, he faced many failures and hardships. He learned from the mistakes he made in the past and decided to build icehouses at both the locations arrival and harvest spot. By his constant efforts and experiments, he found that sawdust works better than hay in minimizing the melting. In Jamaica and Havana, the Bostonian achieved monopolies. They used to ship ice to Charleston, New Orleans, and Savannah and gained domestic success. During this period, Tudor offered ice free of cost to keep the customers hooked. But as the workload increased it became the reason of anxiety and depression in 1821.
Then condition became good when in Cuba he recuperated. The trade of Tudor ice took off in 1825 when Tudor teamed up with Nathaniel Wyeth who was one from Tudor’s suppliers. Horse-drawn two-bladed ice cutter was invented by this supplier. This device was a great contribution in the trade of ice. The device performed the task of laborers with saws, chisels, and pickaxes. Blocks with uniform size and shape, big cubes of ice, proved very good. They used to pack them tightly which minimized the melting. In 1833,Tudor shipped from Boston to Calcutta which was a 16000-mile journey. This was a period to test the technology which was considered the revolutionary. They spent four months at the sea still shipment of 180-ton reached India in the same condition. The residents of Calcutta took much interest in the ice of New England and took only three days to commission the icehouse construction.
Finally, Tudor made it possible to send natural ice to every part of the world. Before the Civil War period, the only crop was cotton which was shipped by the American ships in larger supply. Tudor got much profit through his ice trade to India. He paid $200,000 in debt and fulfilled his dreams of being a wealthy man. By 1856, every year 150,000 tons ice is shipped from Boston to 43 countries. China, Japan, and Australia are included in the list of these countries. With the help of railroads, domestic consumption also increased.
Tudor died in 1864 when he was 80 years old and a millionaire. The king of ice provided the frozen water to a common man in all the cities of the world. There is a huge demand of ice in different areas of the world. Ice famines create a panic situation in cities. When the ice shortened in Calcutta it was very difficult to buy ice. A note from the doctor was needed to buy ice. The ice trade of the America flourished successfully in the 1900s. Freezers and electric refrigerators came in the 1930s. So during this summer enjoy the ice cube with cold drinks and remember the king of ice Tudor.

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Martin Kovar

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