In order to keep food from spoiling back in the days before electric refrigeration, it was necessary to keep it in an icebox. These units were made of wood or metal and the food was kept chilled by adding blocks of ice. The ice was delivered by the iceman on his horse drawn ice truck. He knew which customers were in need of ice by the sign the woman of the house would leave in a window that was visible from the street. The sign was on a square piece of cardboard with varying amounts of ice printed on it. For example: 25, 50, 75 or 100 lbs. of ice. The customer would turn the desired amount to the top of the card as a signal to the iceman so he would know how large a block of ice to cut. This was very handy to the deliveryman to prevent lugging a massive chunk of ice up several flights of stairs, only to find out the inhabitants didn’t need it. Stories tell of icemen hurling unwanted ice over balconies to avoid carrying it all the way back down. The ice smashing onto the street would be much to the delight of the children below who would pick up the pieces of ice to suck on them.
This unit was manufactured by the White Frost Refrigerator Co. around 1918 and was called the White Frost Sanitary Refrigerator. The ice was deposited into the top compartment of the icebox. The food was placed on one of three tiers of wire below. These racks turned, like a lazy-Susan. The ice normally lasted about three days before it had to be replaced. Water drained from out the base of the icebox to a pan that was positioned below. This pan had to be emptied as the ice melted, to avoid flooding the kitchen. This model also has a water dispenser located on the side.
Electric-powered refrigerators were made available to the public as early as 1913. But either because of economic considerations, or resistance to change, many people were still using ice and ice boxes in the US until as recently as the 1960s.
Produced: About 1918
Manufactured by: White Frost Refrigerator Co.
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