Charles Fortes Museum School
Mr. Round's 2nd Grade
On April 25th our class was visited by Gail "the Ice Gal" Lucia and her assistant, Elaine Lyman. Gail brought a wonderful collection of ice artifacts that she and her husband have collected for their "home museum" in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Gail's family has been in the ice business for the last 50 years, so it is easy to see why she became interested in the history of ice refrigeration. In the following photos you will see just a few of the many interesting items from her collection.

This is the 2nd year that Gail and Elaine have visited us, and we really appreciated them traveling here all the way from Springfield. To learn more about her collection and the Retail Ice Business, visit her web site,
Ice Box Memories, at:

Here the "Ice Gal" is showing our class one of the many ice cards from her collection. Ice cards were hung in the windows of houses to tell the Ice Man how much he had to deliver that day. This card is unusual. It has a slide-through window with red numbers so the housewife could choose 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds. We learned that kids liked to trick the Ice Man by changing the number to 100 lbs. They hoped that the Ice Man would throw the extra ice out a window rather than carry it all the way back to his wagon. Then all the neighborhood kids would have a cool treat on a hot summer day!
In these pictures Gail is showing the class the special rubberized apron that the ice man wore to keep from getting wet. (It was probably made out of leather during the 1800's.) But because he usually carried the ice on his back, it would have to be turned completely around to do him any good. It even had pockets on the bottom to hold sponges. Can you guess why the sponges were there?
Here the class gets to show the Ice Gal one of our favorite artifacts - the Ice Auger. We explain to Gail how it was used on the pond to measure how thick the ice was. This would tell the ice cutters where the best areas were to begin harvesting.
Mr. Round and the Ice Gal weigh the block of ice that she brought. It weighed about 30 lbs.
Gail surprised the class by going into her bag and getting a tool we haven't been able to find yet - the special metal ruler that was used to measure the ice. It was inserted into the auger hole and the end was hooked on the bottom side of the ice. Then the ice man would read the number that was even with the surface. They needed at least 12 inches of ice to make cutting worth while, but the ruler went all the way up to 24 inches. Imagine a block of ice 2 feet thick!
Mr. Round just had to try out the auger on the ice block. It was hard work because the end was not very sharp, but we did cut through. As you can see, the kids loved it!
To go to Ice Harvesting U.S.A. click HERE
or to go back to the Class Page click HERE .