Ernst Neibergall: Preserving the Memory of the Ice Harvesting Industry of Ohio

Authored by Amy M. Smith

Image captured by Ernst Neibergall depicting Lake Erie ice harvesters using a horse and specialized plow to make the first cut in the ice for harvesting in 1913.

Prior to the invention of the electric refrigerator in 1912, people used an icebox that had to be stocked with ice that had been harvested from frozen bodies of fresh water in the winter and shipped to consumers (Hurt 1986). For most of the 19th century, Sandusky, Ohio was known as the “Ice Capital of the Great Lakes” with ice houses and transportation equipment all along the shores of Lake Erie (Kavanaugh 2003). 

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