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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Before electricity and modern refrigeration, how did people keep food and ice cold ?

Everyone keeps say a ice box, which is just a box that holds ice. How would they get the ice? If it wasnt winter or very warm outside how are they going to keep the ice without melting? If its the middle of summer and outside is 100+ degrees how is anyone going to be able to have ice without the ice melting? Do they just walk over to the arctic and pick up the ice and bring it back? How is the ice NOT going to melt? back in the 17-1800s and earlier how would people keep food cold? If people bought ice from somewhere back then, how did that place keep and ice?

This all sounds WAY too confusing to understand!

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    That is why they had the ice House, a large, thick building where blocks of ice were carved up in the winter and stored in the summer

    And the early Ice boxes were insulated to slow the melting of the ice

  • glory
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    In the winter time, when ice formed on the rivers and lakes, people would cut out blocks of ice, take it in an ice house that they built for keeping things cold. they would wrap the ice up in something so it would not melt and then they could put food in the ice house. I do not know much about how they built the ice house. I was a reporter and interviewed people 100 years old and older that lived without modern conveniences. 100 years ago, there were no tooth brushes. Most every family kept a pig in the backyard that they fed the garbage to. When it was fat enough, they killed and smoked the meat in a smokehouse that most families had. It was a hard life.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Before Refrigerators

  • 1 decade ago

    I have a friend who is married to a woman who is half Mexican and Iranian. She once told me that sawdust is a good way from insulating blocks of ice and in the old days in Persia(Iran),most meats and especially fish were stored in salt. If you wanted to cool some wine or something to drink,you placed the container(with a lid on) in the river to cool off.I don't know where you live,but as a kid in the seventies,we'd go out to the country and place a couple of large watermelons in a river to get ice cold. Nothing like cold watermelon.

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  • Naz F
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Keep the icebox in the cold cellar, and try to eat meat only when it's fresh.

    In fact, before refrigeration was around, people hardly ate meat at all. The only meat that was safe to eat was freshly-killed, or preserved by being heavily salted. They were more dependent on fish, hard cheese (which didn't require refrigeration) and nuts for protein...If not for refrigeration, the whole Midwest, which was heavily dependent on the cattle industry, might not have been settled at all.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Blocks of ice cut from lake in the winter would be stored in sawdust which is a very good insulator.

  • 1 decade ago

    many houses had a seperate building or basement cut deep which would stay cool...if there was an uinderground stream that run near or under their house they would dig down into it so thing could be stored in the cold underground water

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    They would dig cellars, line them with straw, and pack them with ice and cover them again with straw. The straw insulated the ice to slow the melting.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    Source(s): Basic science and history books.
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