Ice, Ice, Babae

Harvesting ice in New England, 1837, Courtesy Boston Globe.

New England entrepreneur Frederic Tudor began exporting ice from lakes and water sources in Massachusetts in 1806. His first foray was to the French island of Martinique and, more significantly, the then-Spanish island of Cuba.

After many ups and downs he exported ice all over the world to places like India and Hong Kong, more than 40 countries in all. He made himself a fortune.

Inevitably, competitors emerged.

As yet, we have no documentary evidence that Tudor exported ice to the Philippines but in 1843 he was sending it to Hong Kong in holds insulated with sawdust. The ice was quite expensive, much of it melted during the journey, but enough was landed to make the journey worthwhile.

Thanks to Tudor, Hong Kong has an Ice House Street to this day, where the ice was stored.

It would be surprising if an important city like Manila slipped under Tudor’s radar. Sadly, no-one seems to have discovered the remains of a Tudor ice house in Manila and so far ship manifests featuring Tudor’s vessels have not surfaced. Possibly because no-one has looked for them.

Ins‌tead of Tudor, it was almost certainly a competitor inspired by his efforts that brought the first ice to the Philippines – Charles D. Mugford.

Part Three.  Mugford, the Chiller in Manila

Part One: The Yelo Brick Road

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