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The Frozen Water Trade: A True Story Paperback – February 4, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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Top Customer Reviews
Tudor, born in 1783 to a wealthy Massachusetts family, was more interested in making his fortune than in getting an education, and dropped out of college. On a trip to Havana in 1801, he discovered that it was hot, and that no one would sell you a cool drink, for there were none to sell. But at home in New England, they had ice on ponds and rivers every year, ice that uselessly froze and then melted as the seasons changed. The ice was mostly a nuisance, restricting river traffic, and there were tons and tons of it. Tudor merely had to get it from cold lands to hot. This, of course, was the problem, a problem solved with Yankee ingenuity in design of ice houses and ice cutters and of insulation for cargo ships. He went through bankruptcy, incarceration for debt, and a mental breakdown in making his dream become a reality.Read more ›
For Frederic Tudor the successful shipping of this ice to Calcutta in 1833 was the culmination of a thirty-year dream. A "diminutive, pig-headed Bostonian," he had dropped out of school at thirteen and had been seen as a family maverick, always doing something different from what was expected. Boston financiers refused to help him finance his wild dream of shipping ice to the tropics, and it was Frederic's own family and connections which had to subsidize his initial experiments in 1806, when, at age twenty-two, he made his first shipment of "frozen water" to Martinique. By selling an easily available, free commodity--ice from New England's frozen rivers and ponds--to other parts of the world, however, Frederic Tudor eventually became one of the great American entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century, ultimately earning a long-term profit of almost a quarter of a million dollars in the Calcutta trade alone.Read more ›
In about 1805, Tudor decided that a profitable business could be created by harvesting ice from lakes and rivers in New England and shipping it to tropical climates for sale. He began in the West Indies, expanded to Havana, and eventually Southern US and India. Along the way he developed inexpensive ice house designs, techniques to pack the ice for shipment at sea, and marketing techniques to educate customers on uses like cooled beverages and ice cream. One of his associates, one Nathaniel Wythe, developed a horse-drawn ice plow that automatically marked off the width of the blocks. This made ice harvesting much more efficient and facilitated uniform blocks that made it easy to store the ice efficiently.
It spite of the accuracy of Tudor's vision, the path to success was not an easy one. Ships were lost or delayed. Ice houses were not ready. His early ventures were only marginally successful. He was frequently in debtors prison or fearful of being caught by his creditors. Tudor succeeded only by sheer determination in the face of opposition.
Techniques were also developed to thicken the ice. Once ice was thick enough to support weight, holes were bored to allow water from below to cover its surface. This made it possible to freeze ice up to 12 inches thick.
The ice business fit nicely in Boston.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked up this book on a whim and was enthralled immediately. The writing style is crisp and engaging, but really the subject matter is what kept me hooked. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Battle
The greatest story never told. Something we use everyday and take for granted, ice. This book is so well written and full of fascinating information about life in America in the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by IslandGirl
We live in a time and place in which we can have ice cold drinks even on the hottest days in the hottest parts of the country. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Doug
I love reading about different things, and this book is no exception. Ice was a major reason for the rise of America as superpower before the era of electricity.Published 15 months ago by S. I. Katz
Read this book for an Economics of Entreprenuership class, really cool to get the full story on an incredible entreprenuer whose innovation is not something we would see today (as... Read morePublished 19 months ago by some dude
Only found about this remarkable history because my wife attended a book conference in Concord and met the author's partner Clare Beaton. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Sean W.Corcoran
The Frozen Water Trade was recommended to me by a family member, and I must admit, I was first hesitant to purchase the book. Read morePublished on September 3, 2013 by Longfellow
I love business histories...it was fantastic learning what Fredric Tudor accomplished in his time. Doing what seems impossible to most is the keystone of all great business... Read morePublished on March 7, 2013 by Archer Energy