A crumpled photo of the icehouse reminds us of a by-gone era when businesses and families relied on natural ice for the preservation of their perishable foods. Before the turn of the 20th century the ice man and his crew worked in frigid weather, using hand saws and horse-drawn plows to harvest the winter ice. In later generations a gasoline powered machine initially grooved the ice for further cutting by hand. Once cut, the large ice blocks floated down channels and up into the ice house by way of a chain driven belt. While in storage the ice was carefully stacked, block upon block, under a blanket of insulating sawdust to service the community throughout the coming year.
Roger Clifton Cushing was an ice man, as was his father and grandfather before him. Three generations earned their living by harvesting and delivering this essential, life-preserving product to local customers in and near Duxbury, Massachusetts. The very first home movie film transferred by Icehouse Pictures was footage of the old family ice house by Mill Pond. This icehouse footage inspired the pursuit of digital preservation – a way to help others keep irreplaceable family memories much the same way the family ice business preserved food for friends and neighbors.
After the death of his father in 1940, Roger inherited the ice business and kept it going for over twenty years with wife Madeline by his side. Daily they checked for air holes in the ice which might encourage melting, and these were closed off to preserve the integrity of the precious ice. For added quality assurance Roger and Madeline had the pond water laboratory tested on a regular basis so that its ice could be consumed in drinks and food rather than limited to use in ice chests. His commitment to quality preservation resulted in many faithful customers during the two decades Roger ran the business. Even after his absence while serving in the United States Army during WWII, customers gladly remained loyal to his enterprise and the excellent product Roger provided them.
Two generations later Icehouse Pictures maintains this family dedication to quality service and preservation in the handling and processing of customer films and videos to produce superior digital products. Although the ice blocks melted long ago, our most treasured family memories can live on through Icehouse Pictures today.