Ice harvesting and the Natural Ice Industry in New England
The commercial harvesting of ice from New England’s ponds and lakes for export began in the first decade of the 19th century. By the end of that century ice harvesting was the 9th largest industry in the United States employing tens of thousands of workers in New England alone and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of block ice annually.
Dennis Picard has been demonstrating the ice harvesting trade for more than twenty years at museums and environmental education centers. He is also a frequent speaker on the ice industry for libraries, museums and universities. He will display some of his antique tools of that trade including several invented in Massachusetts. He will share the interesting tale of this once massive enterprise that is now fading from our collective memory. Picard also invites would-be ice harvesters to handle some of his antique implements, including a “pond saw” and the breaker bar.