The elevator frame stood about sixteen feet high, and we set its timbers into the ice two feet or so, in the centre of one edge of the field. We made the first hole in the ice with a basin hole chisel right in front of the elevator frame. It took the space of two or three blocks to get the operation started. We couldn’t lift the first blocks out, they had to be smashed and the pieces shovelled out. At the start of cutting, just after Christmas, the blocks would be about 1 8 inches deep, later on the ice might get to five feet thick, then we’d have to slice the blocks. A block could weigh up to 900 pounds depending on the depth of the ice.

When we got a channel big enough we’d go to work with the ice saw and the barring iron. The saw was about six feet long with a handle on one end—a man used it to cut through the short sides of the blocks, back to the next parallel score line. Then come the man with the barring iron—it was like a big chisel. You’d chop and pry with it till the ice blocks split off. Sometimes, thirty would come free at once.

We worked away from the elevator, toward the opposite end of the field, making the channel wider all the time. The freed blocks would floatup andwe’dpush them down the channel tothe elevator— risky work, awful cold water if you got a dousing. The elevator platform—like a dumb waiter—was lowered into the water and you’d slide it under a block of ice. The other end of the lines were hooked up to the team of horses.

Once the ice was onto the elevator, the horses would pull it up. A timber at one end of the platform gave the block a nudge to start it down onto the ice table. We had to be quick to grab the block with our ice tongs and keep it moving. If it stopped for long it froze to the spot and was hard to start sliding again. We moved the blocks onto the flat bed of the sleigh and the horses pulled it up to the ice house. They could haul about three ton of ice at a time.

We had another elevator at the ice house and we piled the blocks inside, using the hoist as the layers got higher. In our ice