The History of Ice, and 7 Brilliant Life Hacks Using Ice Cubes

01 April 2019 | Blogs

When you think of your childhood, the first thing you think of is ice, in all its shapes and forms. Ice creams, popsicles, long, tall glasses of lemonade and iced tea, we could go on and on. It is hard to think of surviving the summer heat without wanting to dunk handfuls of ice cubes to cool down our drinks as well as our minds.


But did you know we have an American businessman and merchant to actually thank for singlehandedly turning ice into a commodity? Yes, you read that right, and that person’s name is Frederic Tudor. Widely ridiculed for his idea of harvesting wintertime ice from New England's frozen ponds and shipping it to hotter parts of the world, Tudor’s persistence paid off in 1820 when he devised a brilliant way to insulate ice aboard ships by packing it in sawdust. Soon after the infamous War of 1812, his business took off and he began to experience real success. By 1830s, his customers included Queen Victoria as well as British colonists in India. His ice was shipped from Boston to Bombay, and other ports of India (including Calcutta, and Madras), as well as from Massachusetts to Martinique and other Caribbean islands.

Frederic Tudor,

PHOTO CREDIT © Wikipedia


This journey took 10 years, far from an overnight success for Tudor. When he started in 1806, the 22-year-old visionary kid (much like the whiz entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley today) first had to create a market by convincing people they needed his product aka ice. He travelled across United States getting people to try out ice, and sometimes even giving it away for free. He wholeheartedly believed he could change the way people drink and even taught people how to make ice last, and what to do with it. To get started in the business of exporting ice, Tudor took on a lot of risks which were unusual at the time. In an era of rental spaces, he purchased his own ship for cargo leaving Boston. Incurring a lot of debt, he was even imprisoned during early business troubles, but he persevered through his troubles to ultimately build a highly successful ice business empire.

Dozens of workers in Arlington, Massachusetts (then West Cambridge) cut ice from Spy Pond in 1845

Dozens of workers in Arlington, Massachusetts (then West Cambridge) cut ice from Spy Pond in 1845.



Often described as being stubborn, and a genius at the same time, Tudor has indisputably held the title of Boston’s “Ice King”, through the years. Despite his eccentricities, Massachusetts Historical Society portrayed Tudor as both a businessman and someone who had aided society: “We remember and regard Frederic Tudor as a benefactor of mankind, by supplying an article not of luxury only for the wealthy and the well, but of such unspeakable comfort and refreshment for the sick and enfeebled in tropical climates, and which has already become one of the necessities of life for all who have enjoyed it in any climate.”


Speaking of ice, we’ve shared ice drink recipes in our previous blog, but did you know there are a myriad of other uses of ice besides chilling your drinks? You can make your life easier, following these brilliant hacks and innovative tricks.


  1. Make your children swallow medicine, without a fuss:   Sounds unbelievable right? Anyone who’s a parent would have tons of stories to tell you about how impossible it is to get a spoonful of medicine down a child’s throat (especially around the dreaded flu season). But it is true, once you make your child suck on an ice cube, the tongue becomes numb, making it easier on their palates, and your sanity.

Make your children swallow medicine, without a fuss

  1. Help your pets stay hydrated: Adding a couple of ice cubes every few hours to your furry friend’s water bowl would help them want to drink more, and keep them hydrated.  Imagine having to bear the season, wearing a coat of fur, and you’d be looking for some extra respite too.

Help your pets stay hydrated

Meet the cutest Reddy Ice fan - Oakley - The 6-Year-Old German Wire Hair Puppy

(Instagram @oakley_doggie)

  1. Clean your garbage disposal: Cleaning the garbage disposal is a task most of us would want to avoid as much as possible. If your garbage disposal seems to be getting stuck because of the buildup of grease, ice cubes are your answer. Just throw a couple down the garbage disposal shoot and watch the magic as the grease clings to the ice and disappearing.

Clean your garbage disposal 

  1. Clear the fat from your soups and stews: If there is one thing that takes a lifetime to do, it’s clearing the fat off from a nicely made stew with a spoon. Next time, try filling a ladle with some ice and skimming the pot, gently. The ice will help collect all the fat at once in the ladle, and voila!

Clear the fat from your soups and stews

  1. Pick out splinters, without too much pain: The next thing that comes close to parental nightmares apart from medicines is plucking out a splinter from a toddler or a child unwilling to stay still, or quiet. Placing an ice cube for some time before you try plucking the splinter out will numb the area, making it easier for you and your child.

Pick out splinters, without too much pain

  1. Even out dents from carpets: We’ve all seen it happen when we move furniture around, a small dent in the carpeting. Although it might be miniscule and hardly seen, there’s still a niggling question in our minds whether it is noticeable. Save yourself from that anxiety by rubbing an ice cube in the place that is dented, let it melt, and brush the rug after. Dent, gone!

Even out dents from carpets

  1. Water Hanging plants and Christmas trees: Are you toiling to hydrate your hard to reach hanging potted plants? Do you constantly struggle to use a step-ladder and/or a long-neck watering can? Here’s a simple resolution: simply toss in a couple of ice cubes into the pot. The ice will melt slowly and water the plant without causing a sudden downpour from the drain hole. This solution is equally good for Christmas trees, whose base may be hard to reach with a watering can.

water hanging plants and Christmas trees

Now that you know these brilliant hacks, you’re sure to want to load up on some ice. Visit our products page to learn more. Behind every frozen, delicious cube of Reddy Ice is a company that values consistency, quality, and service above all else. Our nationwide customer base has come to expect the highest standards in product quality, delivery and flexible service options. This commitment to exceptional service is why we are one of America’s leading brands in ice production and manufacturing.


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