Valley Ice Co, Box 83, 1948


Box 83 had one more industrial activity as subject. Sizing large ice blocks to the proper dimension so they would fit iceboxes. Remember these ?

Between harvesting ice from frozen rivers and the invention of the electrical refrigerator, ice was made in ice houses rough industrial electrical refrigeration.

Joel photographed in one of these in Stockton, and he was particularly intrigued in the step where the large ice blocks were sized so they would fit an industrial sized ice chest. These ice blocks are clearly too big for a kitchen ice chest.

Ice sizing machine, Valley Ice Co, 1948

I figured out the location of this machine at Valley Ice based on a faded scribble on the side of the negative box, reading “Hedburg”. Harry Hedburg was the manager of Valley Ice Company.

The machine above might have been a new acquisition and Harry Hedburg wanted to show it off. Who knows. By 1948, iceboxes were well on their way out as the refrigerator, first gas powered and only later electrically powered, were on the rise and taking over the residential markets./

Ice sizing machine, close-up, Valley Ice Co, 1948 (Printed)
Harry Hedburg showing how to use the equipment at Valley Ice Co, 1948
Lining up the blocks of ice, Valley Ice Co, 1948

It should be clear from above images that the workers were operating in a very cold environment. The whole room was refrigerated as can be seen from the frost on the pipes in the ceiling.

Different angle, processing blocks of ice, Valley Ice Co, 1948 (Printed)

Joel made sure to double up on exposures as to have printable material. See below, it’s a copy of the first image, just better lighting and flipping the image.

Ice sizing machine, Valley Ice Co, 1948 (Printed)
Moving ice blocks through the contraption, Valley Ice Co, 1948 (Printed)
Ice sizing machine, Valley Ice Co, 1948 (Printed)

Last image of this blog post gives us some idea of how this might have worked. There are moving parts in this piece of equipment to force the ice block into the proper dimensions.

Cheers !


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