Building An Ice House
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
ICE-HOUSE.—To Build Good but Cheap.-A year or two ago I had my attention called to an ice-house built by a farmer near me, which was simply a bin, made of rough boards, 10 feet square, and roofed over, leaving a large opening in the front and sides. He said his ice kept perfectly until the next winter. He put a layer of sawdust, about a foot thick, on the ground, and then stacked the ice snugly in the center, 18 or 20 inches from the walls, and then filled in with sawdust, and up over the top a foot or more thick. Last winter, before filling my ice-house, I determined to try this method. I accordingly tore out all the inside wall, and shoveled out the sawdust; then filled by stacking it snugly in the center, 15 or 20 inches from the wall. This space I filled in with pine sawdust, and covered the whole over the top a foot thick or more. I left out the window and took down my door and left it all open, so that the sun could shine in every day. Now for results. At the present time I have an abundance of ice, and the cakes seem to come out as square and perfect as when they went in, seemingly nothing lacking except what is used out. I am satisfied how to build an ice-house.—Cor. N. Y. Farmers' Club, in Rural New Yorker.
Remarks—I see this writer speaks twice of a "foot or more," i. e., of the sawdust over the ice. I should "go" for more, say as least 18 or 20 inches, and it strikes me as more correct also to keep out the sun; but have a window in each gable to allow the wind to pass through to carry off the moisture arising from the ice I am honest in the opinion that a simple wall with 18 or 20 inches of sawdust between the wall and ice is better than a double wall. Tramp the sawdust down well as filled in.
This is confirmed by J. S. Stephens, of Moore's Hill, Ind., writing to the Cincinnati Gazette, with a slight difference, in that he built his only 12 feet square, keeping 18 inches of sawdust between the ice and boards, giving him a block of ice 9x9 feet, and digging six inches into the ground at the bottom, then putting in sawdust enough to give him 1 foot when settled with the ice upon it, so he had 6 inches drainage above the ground; he says, too, the space above the ice to be open and free for circulation and for the sun to shine in." I would keep the sun out, except by windows, to let the air go through. The Gazette added the following comment: "We regard the above as one of the best plans for a cheap ice-house ever published. Many ice-houses costing three times what the above would cost, have proved failures, the ice all melting by mid-summer.