Tag Archives: Ice-

The Ice Pick Cometh — Ottawa Artificial Ice Co.

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The Ice Pick Cometh — Ottawa Artificial Ice Co.
photo Adin Daigle

I saw this photo on Adin Wesley Daigle’s Facebook page and I could not tackle this item quick enough. The ice pick somehow holds great prominence in my mind. I watched my Grandmother attack her 20 by 10 freezer in the 60s that was more ice than food. Sometimes I would come downstairs early in the morning and watch her use that ice pick like her life depended on it trying to retrieve what the ice had eaten up. She would open boxes, and anything else that needed to be opened with it — always in Barbara Stanwyck style. Ice picks were sometimes used in forms of murder, and I wondered what the history was behind this item. Were any murders committed with an Ottawa Artificial Ice Co. ice pick similar to the film Eyes of Laura Mars?

January 13 at 2:51 PM  Â· A neat ice pick I’ve had for some time…Ottawa Artificial Ice co. Limited….haven’t found much on the company 🤔

Found by Diane Edwards–The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Dec 1912, Fri  â€˘  Page 2

Jaan Kolk posted on Adin’s timeline that The Ottawa Artificial Ice Co. plant was on the east side of Nicholas, midway between Somerset and Mann. It remained in business until the property was expropriated for the expansion of the U of O campus in 1959; however, the Rideau exchange phone number dates the ice pick to before the introduction of automated “dialing” with 5-digit numbers in 1938. Here’s an aerial photo showing the plant in 1933 (cropped from NAPL A4571_26):

Here’s an aerial photo showing the plant in 1933 (cropped from NAPL A4571_26): Jaan Kolk

When my Grandmother got an icebox in the late 30s she told me she could keep milk for a day and meat fresh for 36 hours. I remember the ice man coming in the 50s delivering ice to our home with long tongs in each hand carrying two 25-pound blocks at a time. The deliverymen began their day before dawn to ensure local shops had ice before business hours and then go to the private residences that were waiting for him.

One day I remember that there were no more drip pans to be emptied, and no more ice to be purchased. The electrical refrigerator spelled the end of the iceman and the blocks of ice that were stored in sawdust in dark places.

So why buy artificial ice than purchase regular ice? Jaan Kolk said: “Coincident with the typhoid outbreaks of 1911 and 1912, the Ottawa Artificial Ice Co. was formed to exploit the mistrust of river ice. It produced ice by artificial refrigeration of distilled water, originally, and later water from it’s own deep well. The technical expertise came from Phillip D. Lyons, who had previously run an artificial ice plant in the Caribbean; the investors were the usual suspects, with names like Ahearn, Bate, Booth.”

“Ice cutting on the Clyde River”
Adin Daigle photo

In 1913 the Ottawa Artificial Ice Co. advertised they would supply water from eight taps placed at front of their building on Nicholas St. It was advertised as ‘DOUBLE DISTILLED WATER’ piped direct from their distilling tanks. By running the Distilling plant at full capacity, nearly 5000 gallons over and above what was needed for ice could be made each day. They boasted that the water was pleasant to taste, as the air was put back into the water after it is distilled. It was advertised as a patented process and germ proof made fresh each day

The charges at the water taps were: 25c For ten gallons. 3c Per odd gallon. You were to bring your water bottles to the ICE PLANT and have them filled with the only absolutely pure water that money can buy. They insisted that if you bought spring water it could not be ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED and you paid 40c to 50c for five gallons of it, so their water and ice was supreme.

Was ice really spreading Typhoid Fever? In reality, the total number of instances of typhoid fever which had been directly traced to ice infection were remarkably few. One was in France, where a group of officers placed ice made from water polluted by a sewer in their wine and afterwards developed typhoid fever, while those of the same company not using ice escaped. A second case was in a small epidemic which occurred in those who used ice from a pond. It was found that water directly infected with typhoid feces and had flowed over. So yes, the advertising was formed to exploit mistrust of regular ice as Jaan said. But today, some articles say to avoid ice because it may have been made from unclean water. So who knows?

So how about those ice pick murders I was looking for? I am disappointed to tell you that the ice pick was only used as a threatening weapon except in the case of the Mafia’s gangsters of Murder Inc. in October of 1940.

“The bum ain’t dead yet.” To make sure, they used a meat cleaver and an Ice pick. The car with its gruesome cargo was left on a, quiet residential street. The gangsters did not know it but. Whitey Rudnick’s corpse was to contribute more to their undoing than anything the little loan shark had done when he was alive.

Okay there was another case in Montreal in 1936….

Five men and a woman will be tried for murder at the Autumn term of the Court of King’s Bench. The murder charges, being heard by Mr. Justice Philemon Cousineau. arose from the deaths of seven persons, three from illegal operations. The others were found, to have been slain with ice pick, axe and club

So I guess it’s back to Lizzie Borden for me. Except, I found this wonderful ad from Oglivy’s that used to be on Rideau Street in Ottawa.  For absolutely free- no strings or obligations whatsoever, you got a free quality ice pick, with a tempered steel blade, and smart, enamelled handle and exceptional construction throughout All you had to do was ask their floorman for one. After he showed to show you the beautiful the 1935 Hostess refrigerator. Now that was a murder of a deal!

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 May 1935, Wed  â€˘  Page 10

Found by Diane Edwards–The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Dec 1912, Fri  â€˘  Page 2
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Jan 1913, Tue  â€˘  Page 10
The Ottawa Distributors of Kelvinator Electric Refrigerators Commencing in September 1929 the Ottawa Artificial Ice Company, according to an announcement by the officials of the company.
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
24 Jan 1913, Fri  â€˘  Page 4
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Mar 1894, Thu  â€˘  Page 7
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Apr 1923, Fri  â€˘  Page 18
photo-Curtis Webster

Related reading

Would You Like Some Ice With that Drink?

You have to Paint the Ice White?

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You have to Paint the Ice White?

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The rising middle class needed to find things to do, to distract itself, and have fun in the Victorian ages so they built an indoor rink. It was a wooden building  and had a gallery up top, so you could go up and watch the skaters. It was lit by gas and during the cold winter months it stayed open every night. In those days it was kind of like a ball room with an ice surface. In an era when most skating was done on frozen lakes, this type of venue was an innovation well ahead of its time.

 

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Times changed and the hockey arena was born. This week I was lucky enough to watch the stages of getting the Carleton Place arena ice ready. I was amazed. Did you know the arena air has to be 18 degrees and each surface has to be flooded 8 times?

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Then the lines are painted on etc and the ice painted white. If you did not paint the ice- the ice would look gray like the concrete floor. The hose has a special handmade cane with a nozzle on the end so the water comes out consistently. White powdered paint is mixed with water in a large tank creating a liquid paint mix. This paint is then applied to the ice surface with a large 12-foot spray boom and a pump. Blue/red lines are strung in place and you paint in between the lines – just like we learned in kindergarten.

 

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Joanne Henderson

Bob White told me the biggest secret is that anyone flooding the rink has to have their heart in it and care about what they are doing.  It seems silly to say, but it’s true– it’s got to be in your soul. Intricate care must be taken and Bob, Rusty Knight and the Duff lad are the ones that flood the Carleton Place rink. Bob said they are going to train some of the younger lads during the next 4 years as no one as getting any younger that’s  flooding the rink now.:)

 

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So when you walk into the arena next time- I would dish out some nice compliments to the arena staff for all the work they do that all of us— including me— takes for granted. Thanks Bob White for the great information!

 

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Steve with the Zamboni.:) He’s American– this stuff marvels the heck out of him– what can I say?

 

comments
Ted Hurdis We are very fortunate to have the ice and arena we do. Joe Crampton was the master that instilled pride and dedication into all the staff there.
Natalie Flindall
Thank you Linda for the article about painting the ice white. My grandfather always prided himself to having the first outdoor public rink every season, in Québec. I remember my grandmother taking about him, doing this, with great pride. Thank you to the staff at the rink. Already preparing for winter while we are still enjoying summer.
historicalnotes

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Martin Puckett

 

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The old arena box

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

  1. Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships SunScreamin’ Mamas (USA)  and The Sherbrooke Record

Would You Like Some Ice With that Drink?

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Facebook Info Page

Mark your calendar for Sunday March 20th. Learn all about ice harvesting!

Sunday, March 20at 2 PM in EDT

Beckwith Township
1702 9th Line Beckwith, Carleton Place, Ontario K7C 3P2

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Photo from —Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

In the early 1800s, one man saw dollar signs in frozen ponds. Frederic Tudor not only introduced the world to cold glasses of water on hot summer days, he created a thirst people never realized they had.

In 1805, two wealthy brothers from Boston were at a family picnic, enjoying the rare luxuries of cold beverages and ice cream. They joked about how their chilled refreshments would be the envy of all the colonists sweating in the West Indies. It was a passing remark, but it stuck with one of the brothers. Despite financial woes, Frederic persisted, and his ice business finally turned a profit in 1810. But a series of circumstances—including war, weather, and relatives needing bailouts—kept him from staying in the black for too long. Between 1809 and 1813, he landed in debtors’s prison three times and spent the rest of the time hiding from the sheriff.

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Photo from —Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Despite financial woes, Frederic persisted, and his ice business finally turned a profit in 1810. But a series of circumstances—including war, weather, and relatives needing bailouts—kept him from staying in the black for too long. Between 1809 and 1813, he landed in debtors’s prison three times and spent the rest of the time hiding from the sheriff.

Frederic Tudor died in 1864, finally rich again. By that time, everyone with access to a frozen body of water was in on the action. Ice boomtowns sprouted along the Kennebec River in Maine, where farmers found year-round employment. The 1860s became the peak competitive period of American ice harvesting, and Tudor’s company prospered. Frederic Tudor would ship nearly 12,000 tons of ice halfway around the globe to become the “Ice King.”Âť

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Photo is ice cutting on the Clyde River

historicalnotes

In Lanark County harvesting ice was big business on Mississippi Lake. Large blocks of ice were cut, hauled home and stored in sawdust in an ice house. Whatever they chose to use for an ice house windows wold have to be boarded up and there was only one door to stop the ice from thawing. When they needed a block one would be hauled out with large thongs to keep your ice box cool. Gail Sheen-MacDonald from Carleton Place remembers the Kilfoyles had an ice house where all the cottagers in Innisville bought their ice. Joann Voyce said that Thoral Culbertson was their iceman in Carleton Place.

Farmers also used the ice surface of Mississippi Lake for their sleighs, hauling wood across the frozen waters to Carleton Place. The price of wood at one time was 4-5 dollars for a full cord, and some of farmers even bartered for groceries at a grocery store on High Street. Could this have been Mr. Campbell’s store?

Facebook Info Page

Mark your calendar for Sunday March 20th. Learn all about ice harvesting!

Sunday, March 20at 2 PM in EDT

Beckwith Township
1702 9th Line Beckwith, Carleton Place, Ontario K7C 3P2

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Photo-Google Image