Eyewitness

Time capsule: The ice man comes for a visit

An ice man delivers to a needy family in Kansas City, 1930s
An ice man delivers to a needy family in Kansas City, 1930s The Kansas City Star

Undated photo from the 1930s: The ice man makes a delivery

The visit of the ice man from the Salvation Army was cause for rejoicing for needy families during the hot summers of the 1930s.

In the time before electric refrigerators, most households used about a 25-pound block of ice a day. A block that size could be had for a penny under a subsidy program run by the Salvation Army and supported by contributions and benefit events. (Standard prices were 15 cents for 25 pounds, a quarter for a 50-pound block.)

The Salvation Army distributed between four and five tons of ice a day during the summers of the ’30s and into the ’40s.

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