In the days before mechanical refrigeration was common,
block ice was an important
"crop". The ice was cut into blocks of
about 18" X 30" X 8" from frozen ponds and
lakes and stored in sawdust insulated,
double walled ice houses. These blocks
were cut into smaller blocks and sold to
hotels, restaurants, camps, and homes, or
shipped by rail to as far away as Boston.
Often the pond used here in Town was
Berry Pond. Local men were hired to cut
the blocks and store them for shipment or
for local sale. The men were paid on
work"; each separate task carrying a
rate for each piece
brought from the pond.
work was a cold, often
wet job, but it
offered late winter income
for men who were
willing to work hard.
These tools were used by a lifelong
Moultonborough, Mr. Fred Davis (1915 -1989)
and the crew he worked with in the
1930s. As a sawyer
on one such crew, Fred
Davis was said to
have earned $9.00 in one
day, cutting 300
blocks of ice at a rate of
$.03 per block,
quite a task in the 9 to 11
hours of daylight
they could work!
These tools are on loan to the
Moultonborough Historical Society by Mr.
Davis' family. Mr. Fred Davis and his wife,
Dorothy Wakefield Davis, were two of the
charter members of the Moultonborough
|ICE HAVESTING TOOLS
(Double click on an
image to enlarge)
used to cut the Ice Blocks from
the lines scored and partially cut with a
horse drawn ice cutting plow. Approx. 44"
Hand forged Ice Chisel
blocks. Approx. 44". Note the pointed
shoulders on the chisel - helpful when
pulling floating blocks.
handling large blocks. Approx. 44".
Large ice Tongs.
Used for pulling large blocks from the pond
- often attached to a gin-pole derrick that
allowed the crew to both lift and swing the
100 -125 Ib. blocks onto a sledge.
Small Ice Tongs.
Watch Mr. Bartlett's presentation from June
11th, 2012, in the Emerson Barn, at the Lamprey