The Civil War, The Ice Trade, And the Rise of the Ice Machine

This paper argues the origins of the artificial ice trade was triggered by the Union Naval blockade of the American Civil War (1861-1865), thus causing the slow death of the long-established natural ice trade (1805-1950’s). By the time of the Civil War, southern ports had been accustomed to and dependent on having natural ice for their daily living. This included iced meats, fish and vegetables; and also ice needed for breweries, bars, restaurants, and hospitals. This frozen gold was shipped from men like Frederic Tudor (September 4, 1783 – February 6, 1864) and his successful Tudor Ice business. To substantiate this, a bit of background information on the natural ice trade and early attempts to manufacture ice, is needed before the ramifications of the blockade are discussed.