Ice tongs, Presque Isle, ca. 1910
Purchase a reproduction of this item on VintageMaineImages.com.
Ice was an important product in the days before electricity in Aroostook County. Ice was obtained from rivers or lakes in the winter by cutting blocks from the surface of rivers or lakes.
In Presque Isle, ice was cut from the Presque Isle Stream near the Chapman Street area. It was stored in sheds during the summer months, using sawdust for insulation to keep it from melting. This operation ceased in the mid 1950s.
Before electric refrigerators, the ice was delivered to homes for "ice boxes" to keep food cool.
Ice was also used for the shipment by rail of potatoes in refrigerated box cars, known as "reefers." These boxcars were loaded with ice from raised platforms to keep the product cool during shipment. on railroads.
These ice tongs were used to carry the ice blocks.