1902 Encyclopedia > Ice House

Ice House

ICE-HOUSE. An ice-house, to supply ice for domestic use during the summer months, is one of the desirable adjuncts of a country residence. The old form of ice-house was a well several feet deep, dug out on sloping ground or against a bank. The bottom was made to slope towards a sunk drain, covered by an iron grating, to per-mit the water from the melted ice to pass away quickly; while a dip in the drain or a bend in the pipe prevented air from entering at the bottom of the well. The ice was filled in through an opening in the dome, which had to be carefully closed.

A good form of ice-house is that recommended many years ago by Mr Bailey, gardener at Nuneham Park, Oxford, and described in the Gardener's Magazine of Botany (i. 82). This house is shown in section and plan in fig. 1, where the dotted line indi-cates the ground level. The well or receptacle for the ice a is 10 fest 6 inches wide at the base, and 3 feet wider near the top; the walls are hollow, the outer portion be-ing built of dry rough stone, and the inner wall and dome / of brick. The outer wall e might be replaced by a puddling of clay, carried up as the work pro-ceeds. Over the top is a mound of clay and soil g, which is planted with shrubs to keep the surface cool in summer.

The drain i carries off the water formed by the melted ice, and is provided with a trap h to pre-vent the ingress of air through the drain. There is a porch or lobby b provided with an outer and an inner door c, c; and there are apertures at d, d, to get rid of the condensed moisture, which, if not removed, would waste the ice. These ventilating doors should be opened every night, and closed again early in the morning. The most important conditions to be secured are dryness of the soil and of the enclosed atmosphere, compactness in the body of ice, which should be broken fine and closely rammed, and the exclusion as far as possible of air.

The Americans, who use large quantities of ice, always store it above ground. One of their ice-houses, of which the elevation is shown in fig. 2 and the plan in fig. 3, described in Allan's Rural Architecture, is both simple and ornamental in character. The house may be 12 feet square, or any larger size. A series of posts in pairs are set up \\ feet apart and 8 feet high, about 1 foot being inserted firmly in the ground; the distance between each pair is 3 feet. The tops being cut level all round, a plate 6 inches wide and 4 to 6 inches deep is spiked on to each line of posts, the two plates being strongly stayed by cross pieces so as to form a double frame. The inner face of each line of posts is now boarded up closely, leaving a space feet by 3 feet at the sides, which are also boarded, to form a door-casing on ^ each side. The spaces between the two lines of boards thus form a continuous box, which is to be completely filled up with moist tan, bark, or saw-dust, well packed throughout. There must be a drain to carry Fig-2.

off all water from the interior. Within the enclosed space some level joists are laid down, and on them loose planks to form a floor, which when covered 1 foot thick with straw is ready to receive the ice. The roof is formed of rafters, 4 inches by 3, long enough to project at least 4 feet outside the plates, to which they must be well secured by spikes. The rafters are to be boarded over and covered with shingle, and a small opening left at the top to admit a pipe 8 inches in diameter for a ventilator, over which a small ornamental cap, supported on four little Fig- 3. posts, is to be placed. As a finish to the projecting roof, brackets of 3 by 4 inch scantling, if the joists are of sawed stuff, or of rough limbs of trees to match the posts, if these are rough, may be introduced. After the ice is stored, a close floor of boards should be laid on joists resting loosely on the wall plate (to admit of this upper floor being removed while the house is being filled), and they must be covered with 6 inches of tan or sawdust, or failing these with straw. A good layer of tan or sawdust should also be placed on the top of the ice when it is put in. There should be two doors, inside and outside the lining, both opening outwards. A shady place is desirable, but not essential.

A still less expensive way of storing ice has been de-scribed by the late Mr Pearson of Kinlet in the Gardener's Journal (iii. 10). In this case the ice-stack was made on sloping ground close to the pond whence the ice was derived. The ice was beaten small, well rammed, and gradually worked up into a cone or mound 15 feet high, with a base of 27 feet, and protected by a compact covering of fern 3 feet thick. A dry situation with a sloping surface is necessary where this plan is adopted, and a small ditch should surround the heap, to drain away any water that may come from melted ice or from other sources.

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