I received a comment from a reader who sounded a bit frustrated with this column's choice of subject matter. "I can't wait for the next article on some earth-shattering topic like the history of the ice cube," he wrote.
I always have wondered about the history of the ice cube.
After a bit of poking around on the Internet, I came across Jeff Hendler, an executive at Arctic Glacier Inc., a national ice distributor. Hendler's father, Richard, founded one of the New York area's leading ice manufacturers (now part of Arctic Glacier) and about 25 years ago, he put out a pamphlet titled The History of Ice. (Another good source was the article "Ice, Harvesting and History" on the local-history Web site maintained by Allegany County, N.Y.)
Ice has been used to cool food, drinks and people for millenniums. In ancient India and Egypt, ice was made by storing water in porous ceramic vessels and leaving them out during the cool night.