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The History of Industrial Development and Toolmaking in US


Harvesting Ice Blocks in North Sutton, NH by Jane & Mike Butler

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Today we enjoyed a living history activity that was once a vital part of rural New England - harvesting ice blocks from a lake - courtesy of the Muster Field Farm and many hardy volunteers in North Sutton, NH. The weather was appropriate - 10 below zero and a very low sun; but a good crowd turned out to observe and participate.

First they scraped snow off the ice surface, then began to cut a grid pattern about 2' each way with a motorized circular saw on an ice plane. Before this device was developed in the 1920s, all work would have been done by hand.

Then men used breaking bars and other similar tools to deepen the grooves and ice saws with T-handles to cut to the bottom of the ice. They work to create a channel of open water for cutting and moving ice blocks.

As each block is broken off, it is moved to the end of the open channel and picked up.

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