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Title Cutting Ice - Silver Lake
Object Name Stereoview
Photographer Almstaedt, Isaac
Date ca. 1878-1885
Collection Isaac Almstaedt Photograph Collection
Description Original B&W stereoview photograph on cardboard mount; the mount is orange on the front and pink on the reverse. View of five men and one horse standing on the ice of a frozen pond; they are using various tools to cut the ice. There are several large floating rectangles of ice in the water. In the background are bare trees, and there is snow in the foreground. Handwritten inscription in pen below the image, possibly the photographer's handwriting: "Cutting Ice - Silver Lake." Printed inscription on reverse of mount: "STATEN ISLAND GEMS. / I. ALMSTAEDT, / Landscape Photographer. / Publisher of Photographs of Staten Island Scenery. / TOMPKINSVILLE, S.I. / A large stock of Staten Island Views constantly on hand. Large sizes, Stereo- / scopic and Cards."
(Keywords: New York)
Print size 4 x 6.625
Ownership and History Ice harvests were common in earlier centuries, as people made use of natural ice for preservation of food and for industries such as breweries and dairies. Long-handled tools were used to cut thick blocks of ice, which were then lifted out of the lake with large tongs. Once gathered, the ice might be stored in underground chambers of above-ground ice houses, sometimes insulated with straw or sawdust.

A well-equipped kitchen of the 1880s might have had a patented icebox, sometimes located on an outside wall so that fresh blocks of ice could be delivered without entering the home. It wasn't until 1918 that General Motors marketed its first 'Frigidaire,' making in-home refrigerators available to the public.
Earliest Date 1878
Latest Date 1885
Subjects Stereographs
Ice industry
Lakes & ponds
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Catalog Number 49.014.0005
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, August 2015.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.