Early Home Ice Boxes


Very Old Icebox
Block of Ice in top compartment
Small bottom compartment for food/drinks
Drip pan was set under on floor


Later "Deluxe" Icebox Model

        Iceboxes date back to the 1830ís. Most iceboxes were insulated with mineral wool, charcoal, cork, or flax straw fiber. The inside of the icebox was usually lined with galvanized metal, zinc, slate, porcelain, or wood. The outside was finished in oak, pine, ash or metal.

        The average home icebox would hold a 25 or 50 pound block of ice. The price of a 25 pound block was about 15 cents in the early 1900ís. The ice block would last one or two days during the hot summer months. A small drain built into the icebox would direct the melted ice water into a pan underneath the icebox.

        This pan had to be emptied frequently to avoid getting water all over the kitchen floor. Around 1913 electric refrigerators started to be mass produced.

        W used an ice box in our kitchen on Hill Street in Monongahela, PA well into the middle 1930s. I can still remember those hot summer days when the iceman came with his load of ice. My two brothers and I would hurry out to his old truck as he chipped a block to fit our ice box chamber.

        He would lock his ice tongs around the middle and flip it up over a piece of burlap over his shoulder to carry it into the house. He would always let us gather up a handful of ice chips which we would suck on, or carry into the house to make a glass of ice water.