ice, ice, baby

I love this first paragraph of a section on the invention of commercial refrigeration:

In the summer of 1844, the Wenham Lake Ice Company — named for a lake in Massachusetts — took premises in the Strand in London, and there each day placed a fresh block of ice in the window. No one in England had ever seen a block of ice that big before — certainly not in summer, not in the middle of London — or one that was so wondrously glassy and clear. You could actually read through it: a newspaper was regularly propped behind the block so that passersby could see this amazing fact for themselves. The shop window became a sensation and was regularly crowded with gawkers.

Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life


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