Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, February 06, 1916, EDITORIAL MAGAZINE, Image 19

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    The Omaha
VOL. XLV NO. 34.
4 1"
Ice Cutting and Packing
Has Proceeded Almost
Without Interruption for a
Month and the Ice Houses
from which Our Next Sum-
mer's Supply Will Be
Drawn Are Now Practic
ally Filled to Capacity
By A." R. GROH. '
O YOU believe in preparedne
mer'a heat? , - '. .
The Ice man' does. He
while the cold holds" as- .the ... farmer
'makes hay while the sun shines."'
Ice thousands and thousands and : thousands
vicinity these cold days. '
A great army of men and horses and machinery
Ik occupied In the big midwinter Job.
into the ice houses are sliding the big cakes to
take their places and He in those cool retreats
while spring breaks and until the' summer's heal
Then they'll be brought out and hauled away in
bor cars and in wagons to keep the butter in your
refrigerator hard, to keep that meat from spoiling
so you can make hash with it tomorrow, to keep
the lettuce and celery crisp, to cool the grape Juice
and g'.nger ale, to make the pudding nice and hard
o it will take the shape of the "mould," to make
Ice cream and Ices, to cool the drinking water and
keep the milk and cream lri a well-chilled condi
tion, and to perform many other services for your
comfort. Including the concoction and. pleasing
preparation of all (he delectables at the soda foun
tain and eh other places.
It Is said that the Ice harvest employs between .
4.000 and 5,000 men in the district or Omaha and
vicinity. And It comes J nut at a time of the year
when employment Is needed by men of many occu
pations who. are Idle during cold weather.
Th ice men watch the advance of cold weather
and keep a close lookout on the thickening ice.
When it has reached ten to twelve inches the cut
ting la likely to start. For, while still thicker ice
would be more desirable, the weather is never cer
tain. But this year ice In this part of the country
urder the influence of the long continued' cold has
reached a thickness of twenty Inches even on the
Missouri river, and the harvest la now pretty
nearly finished and the Ice houses win soon be
packed to the roofs.
The principal places where Ice 'is cut around
Omaha are Carter lake, the city reservoirs, the
Missouri river, Seymour lake, Memphis, Neb., and
Ashland, Neb. At the last three places named
Cudahys, Armours and Sw'fts. respectively, have
big Ice houses. The Rock Island railroad has a
big Ice house at Meadow, Neb., which It has abot
Two characteristics of ice make the filling of
an Ice house a comparatively easy thing. These
are lie. buoyancy and its small friction. Because
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o( the first characteristic it floats and can be trans
ported easily through tle water. Because of the
second it can be "slid" easily, to the place where 1
makea ice .' I? wanted.
Let's go out to the ice fields of Carter lake.
Far out in the middle of the lake men are driving
horses and, coming nearer, we find the horses are
of tons of ice are being .'"harvested" "ffom'-the -drawing ice plows which are simply steel cutters
thickly frozen streams and lakes U Omftha and' that cut down Into the Ice a couple of inches. By
this means the Ice field is marked off into rectan
gular spaces, each the size of a cake of ice. . .. . .
Then come men with long saws and they saw
loose big areas consisting of many of these rectan
gular spaces. These ice floes are then taken in
charge by men with long; steel-pointed poles, and
they push them along slowly through the water
until they arrive at the end of a long, open space
about twelve feet wide leading up to the Ice bouse
entrance. Here the ice floes are further subdi
vided before being steered into this' long lane. Men
with ice poles are stationed along the. sides of this
Inne and keep pushing the chunks along.
When they arrive at the inner end of the lane
ether men with crowbar-like Instrument! separate
them into the flnsl sizes, which are cakes of ko
about Sx24 feet, and of whatever thickness the
Ice happens to be.
The cakes are now at the foot of a chute on
which runs an endless chain with blocks about
every ten' feet. As these blocks come along under
neath the chute and around a wheel under the
water .at the bottom of the chute they grab the
cakes of Ice art hustle them up the chute. Arriv
ing at the top, they are released and go sliding
down into the dark Interior, where more men are
busy packing them away.
When there If snow, as there has been this
tesson, it is removed with big scoopt drawn by
horses. And when the snow and sleet freeze into
hardness on the Ice it is loosened up by means of
a disk harrow before being scooped off.
It's a cold Job, and the men are bundled up in
overcoats, caps, mufflers, felt-lined boots, over
rhoea anything that will shut out cold.
Old Mother Nature Is still the best ice-maker.
Phe can make it In a few days by the millions ot
tons. There are several artificial Ice plants In
Omaha, but these operate principally as auxiliaries.
Natural Ice 1 the cheapest and easiest to get Just
at natural sunshine Is better than the best artificial
Light; the soft breezes of the south wind are better
than the spasmodic roaring of an electric fan. and
rata U better than Irrigation.
Oh, it'll be nice, when summer comes, to hare
that Ice.
And let us hope for the best regarding the
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