handmade icebox
Creation Date:
ca. 1890-1930
Accession Number:

Before the wider availability of electricity, when someone said “refrigerator,” they were referring to an icebox. Made of wood and insulated with tin or zinc, they were divided into two compartments: a block of ice in the upper compartment sent cool air to the main compartment, preserving the food inside. Ice was hard to come by naturally in Texas, but colder areas (such as the Great Lakes) sent blocks of ice down via the railroads. These were stored and purchased at local ice houses. By 1940, roughly half the families in the Blacklands had access to an icebox.

Please use the following credit lines when publishing or using reproductions from the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute of Texan Cultures. Sharecropper Cabin Exhibit, UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures.