Picture 1-Cutting the blocks of ice after they had been marked off in squares.
Picture 2-Ice Cutting on the Mississippi River in Carleton Place
Picture 3- Loading ice by hand with ice thongs
Ice cutting was a winter occupation of icemen whose task it was to collect surface ice from lakes and rivers for storage in ice houses and sale as a pre-refrigeration cooling method. Kept insulated, the ice was preserved for all-year delivery to residential and commercial customers with ice boxes for cold food storage.
Ice harvesting generally involved waiting until approximately a foot of ice had built up on the water surface in the winter. The ice would then be cut with either a handsaw or a powered saw blade into long continuous strips and then cut into large individual blocks for transport by wagon back to the icehouse. Because snow on top of the ice slows freezing, it could be scraped off and piled in windrows. Alternatively, if the temperature is cold enough, a snowy surface could be flooded to produce a thicker layer of ice. A large operation would have a crew of 75 and cut 1500 tons daily.
This occupation generally became obsolete with the development of mechanical refrigeration and air conditioning technology– Wikipedia