They used to use a glorified ice chest called an
The non-mechanical device was literally kept cold using ice and was made using hollow walls lined with tin or zinc and packed with various insulating materials such as cork, sawdust, straw or seaweed. Insulating materials to keep the cold in. It was probably not a very good idea to keep the doors open for too long, with glazed eyes gazing at your various food options.
While very convenient, and most certainly better than nothing, ice boxes were not without their drawbacks.
For example, you couldn’t open the door to your ice box all that often, or else the ice in it would melt too fast. Ice boxes were also hell to clean, particularlyin the early days of the ice industry often had natural sediment in it. If the smell of any food permeated the wood inside and got into the insulation, the whole appliance would become worthless. Also, if you kept the wrong products together in an ice box (butter and fish, for example) one would often end up smelling like the other.
The Ice Man Commeth. You’d have huge blocks of ice delivered to your house by a man with respectable upper body strength. Hopefully, someone would be home to receive it and get it into the icebox right away. If you were a single guy working all day, during the hot summer months, you might come home to a puddle of water. 😦
“Careful not to drop it on your toes!”