Ice Cellars

Ice House


Ice Cellars were used to store ice or snow in the winter for use during the summer. This is a quite common use for cellars before the invention of refrigerators. Obviously it works only in areas where it freezes during winter. If there is a lake with a thick layer of ice, it is simple to just cut the ice with axes and saws. However, to get more ice and probably ice of better quality, drinking water from a well was pumped over a wooden crate to freeze. When the ice was thick enough it was cut and stored in the cellar, and then the ice making repeated.

Actually the term is ice house or icehouse, cellars are quite common because the thick rock offers some insulation and keeps the ice frozen all over the summer. Nevertheless there were also buildings which were packed with insulation, often straw or sawdust. The reason is simply that it is not always possible to build big cellars, or simply too expensive. In former times it was a lot of manual work and only possible if the rock was soft enough. Nevertheless showcaves.com lists only underground sights, so we list only ice cellars.

Ice cellars were often operated by the municipality or the local brewery. Since the 19th century there were companies which created ice and sold it during the summer. Refrigerators at this time were wooden boxes with a separate