Coal companies often expanded their businesses by making and harvesting ice in the 1800s into the mid-20th Century. In Ohio, Murray City Coal and Ice was a big company in Cincinnati.
Before this, farmers harvested pond ice and shippied it out for sale once the railroads came through their territories. Before that, horse drawn wagons hauled ice blocks. America is full of these stories.
Several descriptions of the “invention” of ice – harvested ice for commercial use exist. Ice has been abundant on Earth for centuries – even if the pack ice north of Alaska and in Antarctica is melting. Ice storage houses have been found in many countries, some dating back several centuries. How did pack and pond ice become commercial ice blocks and cubes?
Frank O’Brien is mentioned on the web as being an assistant historian for the Allegany County Historical Society in NY. Ron Taylor is current President. He maintains a collection of Framk O’Brien’s research on ice, ice harvesting, and commerical ice production. For examples of this and sokme Ohio stores, please read on at:
The Odd and Uncommon Histories of Commercial Ice and how an inventor died.