When the British ruled India, they wanted ice to cope with the hot tropical heat of the country. They decided to import ice from America. The ice was sent by an enterprising American named Frederic Tudor. When Tudor first got the idea of sending ice to India people laughed at him. They told him the ice would melt on the long voyage. But Tudor was not the sort to give up easily. He obtained ice from the frozen lakes of Boston, loaded it on the ship Tuscany and sent it on to India. The ship left America on May 12, 1833 with 180 tonnes of ice and docked at Hoogly four months later, on September 10. To Tudors joy and his critics’ amazement 100 tonnes of ice remained intact.

The citizens of Calcutta were seized with great excitement when the ice reached the city. A half holiday was declared so that people could make arrangements to get the ice and go and invite friends and relatives to iced drinks in the evening. Thereafter ice arrived regularly in Calcutta, and Madras and Bombay and ice houses were built in these cities so that the commodity could be stored and made available throughout the year.

The ice sold for 2 annas a ser and it became British India’s greatest luxury until the advent of ice machines in the 1880s.

Picture Credit : Google 

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