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More on ice (deadcarp's post)
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Chas in Me    Posted 01-26-2005 at 06:34:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Back before the days of railroad cars equipped with refrigeration, they used to keep the cars cool with ice. There was a compartment at either end of the car where blocks of ice were placed. This ice was used to cool fruit and other produce shipped by rail around the south and in the summer. Trucks didn't have coolers on them either, so this ice played an important role in transportation.
However, the ice would pick up the smell of the friut and if it spoiled, the ice would smell that way. Also, it melted and had to be refilled on a regular basis. This is where I came into the picture. I would Go the work on weekends when I was in college, and clean out the closets at the end of the cars. This would entail climbing down into the hole on top of the car, remember those little bumps on the top, they were the doors we went in, and start chipping the ice into small pieces so they could be thrown out onto the ground. Sometimes, the ice hadn't melted much, and you would pretty much start at the top and clean the entire compartment. Usually, that ice had taken some smell on that wasn't real cheerful and you had to put up with that for the whole job. In any event, the ice had to be cleaned out. After that was done, the car would be taken to another part of the work area and refilled with ice. Thousands of tons of ice were cut from local lakes and stored in those places for the entire year. It was cut by machine and hauled by truck.
This was back in the 60's, so today, most people don't remember or even know how their oranges were kept from spoiling when they came north from Florida.

Red Dave    Posted 01-26-2005 at 07:35:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
When I started working here in the '70's, there was an oldtimer in his 60's (doesn't seem all that old anymore does it?) in the same department I was in who would not eat an orange. In fact, if you got an orange out at lunch Old Fred would get up and walk away.
I was young and filled with curiosity so I ask him what was his problem with oranges. He told me that as a young man in the '30's he was a bum who rode the rails for a few years. He found himself in southern California with a desire to come east so he hopped a traincar full of oranges. He claimed that he ate oranges & slept with the oranges for a whole week on the trip east. It must have not been refrigerated, but then where would they have gotten ice in southern Cal. I imagine that with all that citrus, he wouldn't have had any need for prunes for awile either.
Old Fred said he couldn't stand even the smell of an orange after that.

Patria    Posted 01-26-2005 at 07:09:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
wow Chas, thanks for this story..still, for me it's like another planet altogether.

Were there many accidents where people got hurt in the cuttings of the ice?

deadcarp    Posted 01-26-2005 at 10:37:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
morning patria - oh sure there were ice hazards: there's still an old (donkey engine) train engine in spider lake from logging days (100 yrs ago). they'd decided the ice was a solid shortcut so laid tracks on it an tried hauling a train of logs. kaboom.

my uncle rigged a big circle saw to cut ice to sell - it had a car motor on a 4-wheel trailer and once that saw bit the ice there weren't too many ways to stop it. once in awhile that thing took off on its own. finally he parked it.

then spooky horses on wet ice presented their own hazards, from the ice to the road is always uphill and loaded, cold weather likes to snap pins & things, the loose blocks are dreadfully heavy, tools are always sharp and if you fall in, for god's sake don't let the current carry you under the ice. it wasn't the safest job. :)

Al /Mi    Posted 01-26-2005 at 09:38:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
They cut ice on alot of lakes around here way back when . One of the stories was a sled went thru the ice and before they could un- hook the team it pulled them down too, No one ever got them out . I'm sure there were accidents with Ice cutting as in all the old lumbering days where safty was not a big concern .

Thanks dc and Al..    Posted 01-26-2005 at 14:56:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
It looks mighty dangerous to me!


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