IMAGE: A block of Thompson Lake Ice, hauled onto the surface with tongs. All photographs by Nicola Twilley. In 1805, a twenty-three year-old Bostonian called Frederic Tudor launched a new industry: the international frozen-water trade. Over the next fifty years, he and the men he worked with developed specialised ice harvesting tools, a global network of thermally engineered ice houses, and a business model that cleverly leveraged ballast-less ships, off-season farmers, and overheated Englishmen abroad. By the turn of the century, the industry employed 90,000 people and was worth $220 million in today’s terms. By 1930, it had disappeared, almost without trace, replaced by an artificial cryosphere of cold storage warehouses and domestic refrigerators.
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