Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 1

I found this old Lorain Crystal Ice Company ice pick in my father's workbench, and it brought back some memories.

My parents had long told me about having ice delivered to their houses when they were kids in the 1920s and 30s, and how it was a treat to get some small ice chips to suck on from the back of the truck in the summer (if the delivery man was a nice guy). My mother also remembered going down to the company's Oberlin Avenue plant with her father and buying it there from a sort of vending machine. There was a slot to put your coins in, and then the block of ice would clunk its way down a chute so that you could take it home.

Anyway, here's some history about this iconic Lorain company.

A Standard History of Lorain County Ohio Volume II by G. Frederick Wright (1916) includes information about the people behind the Lorain Crystal Ice Company, as well as information about the early days of the business.

The entry for Albert A. Plato reads, "That he is not lacking in the mature judgment and resourcefulness implied in his classical family name, is shown by the position which Mr. Plato holds in connection with the more important industrial activities of the City of Lorain, where he is the general manager of the Crystal Ice Company, engaged in the manufacturing of artificial ice on an extensive scale. This company was organized in 1907 and was incorporated with a capital stock of $65,000, which was increased in 1914 to $75,000. The personnel of the company official corps is as here noted: William Seher, president; John S. Dorn, vice president; August Kuebeler, secretary; Edward A. Brown, treasurer; and Albert A. Plato, general manager. The plant of the company occupies a substantial modern building 130 by 150 feet in dimensions, a portion of the same having a height of three stories and the remainder of two stories. The establishment has a capacity for the output of fifty tons of ice daily, and a storage capacity for 3,000 tons. Employment is given to an average force of thirty men and the enterprise virtually represents one of the most important public utilities of the thriving City of Lorain.

The listing for Mr. Plato also explains why there seems to be a discrepancy as to when the Lorain Crystal Ice Company was founded. (The online History of Lorain, Ohio Chronology states that the firm was founded in 1904). It explains that in May of 1904, Mr. Plato "assumed the position of collector for the Lorain & Elyria Ice & Coal Company. Upon the reorganization of the corporation in 1907, as the Crystal Ice Company of Lorain, Mr. Plato was made general manager, of which responsible office he has since continued the efficient and valuable incumbent."
Here is the company's listing in the 1912 City Directory (below).

1 comment:

Loraine Ritchey said...

Hi Dan a few year ago I met a man with memories which included the ice plant