Important Industry Interests Inland Inhabitants –

All Allentown’s Attention Almost Abnormally Attracted

(The following article originally appeared in the Allentown Messenger on December 17, 1903, alliteration and all.)


Not to indulge to heavily in slang, there is plenty of evidence this week that the Allentown’s people “cut some ice.”


The pond presents an animated scene, and will continue to do so all this week if the weather continues favorable. For ice harvesting in Allentown has been reduced to a science, and if we lack some of the modern improvements in other respects, we are at least up-to-date in this particular.


Up to a few years ago the gathering of the ice was in the hands of Elias Rogers. Then Hillis Jones conceived the idea of utilizing a gasoline engine to hoist the heavy chunks to the wagons. Finally the apparatus was perfected and it works like a charm. Two wagons are loaded simultaneously in about three minutes, and each will hold about a ton and a half.


The ice is floated through sluiceways from the point of cutting to the loading stations, one on each side of the engine house. The apparatus is so arranged that as the ice is being hoisted to the wagon on one side, the rope slacks off on the other, to receive another cake from the pond. The two wagons are in view of Richard Laird, the operator, who can stop the machinery at will in case of any hitch or delay.


Mr. Jones sold out this rigging to Frederick Huley, the present owner. Mr. Huley being now in the hospital, his brother Joseph is in charge.


The ice is now about the proper thickness, ranging from five to seven or eight inches in thickness.


Out on the pond an ice plow, with horse attached, is marking out the blocks and also cutting them nearly through. In the past, on one or two occasions, they cut too far and the horse has been given an icy bath and with much difficulty gotten out.


It takes about a score of men to keep the wagons going. Some of those now filling are the Allentown Dairy Association. David Bunting, E. I. Bills, Joseph Johnson, Elias Rogers, Daniel Wright and James Graham, but before the week is over nearly everybody for three miles around who has an ice house will have it filled.


The creamery ice house [located on Doctors Creek, south of the dam], the filling of which is in charge of Daniel L. Savidge, president of the association, is a large affair, holding 225 loads, or about 300 tons. They have good facilities for unloading and storing the same, two cakes at a time being hoisted by steam from the wagon and quickly swung to any desired place.


Formerly the cakes of ice were cut 22 by 22 inches, but at Mr. Savidge’s suggestion, they are now cut 22 by 26, which saves time and labor in breaking joints when storing and also allows a larger load.


The work goes merrily in under the direction of Benjamin D. Yard and Frank M. Taylor. Out on the pond William Ashby holds the plow handles while Holmes Johnson leads the horse. Then the ice is cut in cakes, pushed, shoved, slam-banged, hauled and floated by Ben Frake, James Kennard, Oliver Kennard, Ellis Hendrickson, George Laird, Clarence Bergen, Edward Wilson, Richard Robbins, George West, George Pittman, Frank Baird, Charles Baird and Elijah Buckaleu until it gets to the hook in one side, managed by George Robbins, or on the other side where George Jacobs is the hooker. Up on the wagon it is placed by George Rock, Will Vanorkey, and Harry Rock.


The skating is fine, especially at the head of the pond.