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Iceman (occupation)

An iceman is someone who sells ice from a wagon or cart.

United States

Many icemen in the Northeastern United States have their origins from Southern Italy. Arriving in the United States with little or no education or trade skills, many of these immigrants began ice routes, especially in NYC, where various ice routes were and are still a common sight. Modern day icemen no longer use a wagon or cart to deliver their ice, instead use freezer trucks which contains pallets stacked with bags of ice cubes as well as large blocks (known as cakes) of ice. Many of the old fashioned small time routes were bought out in the 1980's and 1990's to big corporate ice corporations that both sell and produce ice as well as ice machines to restaurants and bars.

The tools of the iceman are wires, to tie the bags of cubes, hooks, tongs, and ice picks. Being an iceman is a very arduous and straining lifestyle. Icemen usually begin their day at 4:00 am and finish late in the evening, depending on both the season and day of the week. Many icemen work seven days a week and through holidays.

As Arthur Miller recalls in his autobiography Timebends, "icemen had leather vests and a wet piece of sackcloth slung over the right shoulder, and once they had slid the ice into the box, they invariably slipped the sacking off and stood there waiting, dripping, for their money."[1]


  1. ^  Arthur Miller, Timebends: A Life (New York, Harper & Row, 1987), 64.

See also

  • Icebox

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Iceman_(occupation)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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