Monday, August 14, 2017

Lorain Crystal Ice Co. Article – August 14, 1947

Although it’s been rather nice weather-wise around Lorain lately, we did have our share of days in the low 90s earlier this summer.

Well, back in 1947 it was a very hot summer in Lorain with temperatures in the high 90s, with the result of an increased demand for ice. This was good news for the Lorain Crystal Ice Company.

Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on August 14, 1947 – 70 years ago today.


Any Ice Today, Lady?
Lorain Firm Kept Busy
Heat Boosts Company’s Business; National Tube
Firm’s Best Customer During Torrid Wave

With that mercury flirting with the high 90’s, ice used in lemonade, tea and cold compresses has temporarily replaced bread as the staff of life in Lorain homes.

In many cases, however, the city’s refrigerators, already working overtime, are unable to cope with the demand for ice cubes. So Lorain housewives, always resourceful, are falling back on that old standby – the ice man.

The Lorain Crystal Ice company is distributing between 75 and 90 tons of ice daily to customers in this area, according to Paul Plato, general manager, who says it can’t get too hot to suit his firm.

The high for this summer, he added, was set last week when 98 tons were delivered in the company’s distributing area by its fleet of 22 trucks.

Traces Progress
Tracing the industry from its early days, when ice was cut from the lake in the winter, then stored to be sold in the summer, Plato told how ice deliveries once were made entirely by horse and wagon. He added:

“Horses had it rough, pulling thru the mud after a rain. The best route, in those days, was on Erie-av because it was Lorain’s only paved street.”

Charles Drescher, 1240 6th-st, an employe for 39 years and now superintendent of the drivers and John Toma, 1101 12th-st, the “ice-man who cometh" on the Broadway route and who’s been with the firm 27 years, also recalled those early days, commenting:

“No matter how many electric or gas refrigerators are installed or how many other modern devices are invented, it seems people still prefer ice for many household uses.”

Really Hot in 1921
In 1921, Plato recalled, Lorain experienced an ice shortage because of extremely hot weather. He said:

“That was a really hot time in Lorain; there just wasn’t enough ice to meet the demand.”

That can’t happen any more, he added, explaining that modern manufacturing methods produce a year-round supply faster than it can be consumed. A supply is kept in storage at all times for emergency purposes. The Lorain plant has a storage capacity of 3,000 pounds.

One of the novel innovations in which the local industry pioneered is the ice vending machine, claimed by Plato to be the only one in use in Lorain-co and, perhaps, all Ohio. Plato related:

“When a coin is placed in the slot, the ice falls thru an opening. Some times the gears clog so a buyer hits the jackpot, but generally it works fine.

Plant Best Customer
Ice made here – the Lorain plant employes 24 men – is “farmed” out to several other firms. Plato continued:

“Don’t think ice is limited in its uses. Why, our best customer here is the National Tube company, which uses it to cool water and for other purposes.”

Ice goes to hospitals, for ice packs, refrigeration  and to cool water; it is used by fruit dealers and fish markets and, of course, in night clubs and taverns.

As for the housewife who has her modern refrigerator, she uses ice too, Plato explained, stating:

“You just can’t beat ice for packing any kind of refreshment for the basket picnic or a trip to the ball game."

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