Ice & Coal Companies

Ice and Coal TruckI was talking to a woman with the surname “Kunkel” which reminded me of a familiar company of my childhood, Kunkel Ice & Coal, which led to thinking about ice & coal companies in general.  There were a lot of them back in the days, but why the combination of ice and coal?  What common trait brought these two, very different commodities together in one company?

I could find nothing on the Internet about them despite their past popularity.  I think they were basically delivery companies who delivered ice in the summer and coal in the winter.  They arose in a time before refrigeration when people kept their food cool in ice boxes and needed a block of ice delivered about once a week.  I suspect in winter they just left items outside or made their own ice from a bucket of water and no longer needed ice delivered.  But that is when they needed coal for heat.  A company that delivered both had business all year around.

I posted a blog on the excitement of coal delivery on 12/13/2007, ‘Tis the Season—but not for Coal, and ice deliveries on 2/6/2006, Ocean City Memories.  The only puzzle is that the trucks were very different.  In my neighborhood, coal was delivered by large dump trucks, the ice by horse-drawn carts.  Did they have two fleets?  If you have any information, let me know and I’ll pass it on.

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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