IcyBall Advertising Graphic, Popular Mechanics,
August 1930, p.27
“For Farms! For homes where ice supply is uncertain! For camps! For roadside stores!. . . For anyone who wants the pleasure, safety, convenience of a constant ice supply for 2 cents a day.”
— Advertisement, Farm Mechanics, September 1928
Crosley IcyBall Advertisement Depicting the Lifting and Heating of the IcyBall Unit (Farm Mechanics, 1928, Public Domain Image Courtesy of Crosley Automobile Club IcyBall Ads Page). (Click for an enlarged view.)
In the early 1900’s, methods of keeping food cool in the hot summers of the U. S. Midwest were limited. Ice boxes were popular in cities in towns where ice delivery was available, and sometimes ice could be picked up or delivered to rural homes if they weren’t too distant from an affordable source.
In 1927, the same year the General Electric Monitor-Top Refrigerator was making home refrigeration more popular in electrified cities and towns, the Crosley Radio Corporation introduced a non-electric home refrigeration option powered by the heat of a stove burner: The Crosley IcyBall.
At age 86, Pearl Wilborn recalled her days as a wife and mother on the farm in Missouri, about 1915 into the 1950’s:
“I have told many things about my growing up on a farm the first 19 years of life. I’m grateful that my parents taught me to work as my next 38+ years were spent on a farm, the wife of a farmer where I learned many things first hand by experience.
“I learned the joys and rewards, and also some failures working in the ground. The pride in a nice growing garden, a nice clean green yard, a flower bed I had made all by myself. A few yellow down chickens in a pen with an old hen that had hatched the eggs I had put under her. The satisfaction of knowing I had something for my work. One little tomato seed planted will bear many tomatoes; one flower seed will have many blossoms and a tired body is rested and ready for another day’s work after a night of sleep.
Photo Credit A
After Christmas, gardeners began receiving nursery seed catalogs. Most of us can recall our parents or grandparents receiving catalogs from such familiar names as Burpee, Henry Field, Gurney, Shumway, and Stark, to mention only a few. The colorful pictures of mammoth vegetables or beautiful flowers helped us to forget the frigid temperatures outside as we looked forward to spring. Many years later, some of us are still receiving those same seed catalogs and visualizing productive gardens next summer.
David L. Landreth started the first seed company in Philadelphia in 1784, and he printed what is believed to be the first seed company catalog in the U.S. Still in business today, the Landreth Seed Company introduced zinnias to the U.S. in 1798 and the first truly white potato in 1811. Americans began to grow tomatoes after the Landreth Seed Company advertised tomatoes as the “love apple” in its catalog in 1820. Continue reading
Woodcut Depiction of
the New Madrid Earthquake, 1812
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons (Public Domain))
A news item reminds us that we are at the 200th anniversary of the largest of the great 1812 earthquakes along the Mississippi Valley, this one centered near New Madrid, Missouri, for which the fault line is now named. Accounts suggest that tremors reached far enough to sway a church bell in North Carolina and to cause tears and falling rock damage in the growth rings of a tree in the southern Rockies[i]. At New Madrid, the shifts in the terrain were so powerful that they managed to temporarily reverse the flow of the great Mississippi River. Continue reading