Wednesday 5 June 2019

ICE for sale in 1875?

1875, January 6 & 1886, February 28
CAPE ARGUS - 1875, January 6

I’ll never take ice cubes for granted as we had a freezer for 3 years that could not freeze properly. Reading through a 1875 copy of THE CAPE ARGUS, I was amazed to see that one could buy ice in Cape Town in 1875, and I decided to learn more about the refrigeration process. 
From Antiquity WINTER ICE was stored in insulated caves, principally for cooling drinks in summer. Since ice was used for the preservation of fish, meat and dairy products, ice production became an important industry in the northern states.
Lake and river ice had been cut by horse-drawn saws and by 1880 there were about 160 large ice-houses on the Hudson River. India produced ice by putting water in porous clay dishes on straw. During the night water evaporated so rapidly that ice formed on the surface of the water. The principle of the evaporation of water from the porous lining of the food compartment was used for refrigeration. In 1834 a method of artificial ice production was patented in England. Concentrated sulfuric acid, which absorbs water, accelerated the evaporation of water in a dish to freeze the remaining water. In the 19th century several types of refrigeration machines depended on the absorption of heat by expanding gases, which had been a subject of scientific research in the previous century. The vapor compression system replaced the early designs. The principle of the modern refrigeration machine is based on the circulation of a volatile fluid while being alternately condensed (with the evolution of heat) and evaporated (with the absorption of heat). 

CAPE ARGUS - 1886, February 28

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