Cold Mine


By 1862 Colesworthy Grant recorded that ice was no longer regarded only as a luxury. Consumption had increased to three shiploads per year, and consumers now included native Hindus and Muslims as well as the British population, and supplies of ice were sent as far as thirty miles out of the city.

The man who started it all had been deeply affronted when, a few months after that first voyage, he learned that “Lord Bentinck has presented Rogers with a silver vase in commemoration of the event of the introduction of ice from the United States to Hindoostan.” Tudor, after all, was the person responsible for the success of the venture, and he sent a letter for publication in Calcutta addressed to the governor-general, making it clear who deserved the credit for the success of the first shipment of ice and who would be able to provide a regular supply of ice to Calcutta.

In the years that followed, Tudor weathered every challenge to the trade he invented. Because of Tudor, a British resident of Calcutta wrote: “I will not talk of nectar of elysium, but I will say that if there be a luxury here—I would point to the contents of our ice-house. … The arrival of our English mail is not more anxiously expected than that of an American iceship.” Because of Tudor, Thoreau would write in Walden that “the inhabitants of … Madras and Bombay and Calcutta drink at my well. … The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred waters of the Ganges.”