Starting in 1806, Tudor and his associates began carrying ice in the holds of sailing vessels from New England to the Caribbean. Though he would spend the next few years in and out of debtor's prison and waiting out the American Embargo on the eve of the War of 1812, Tudor eventually began making profits in the 1810s. He was also able to carry fresh tropical fruits back to Boston without spoilage, an unheard of feat in his time. By the 1830s, he and his company began shipping ice to the British in Calcutta, India, some 16,000 miles away and a four month long trip. Due to Tudor's innovations in packaging and insulation, the 180 tons he shipped only lost 80, leaving him a lucrative remainder to sell in summertime India.
By the time he died in 1864, Tudor witnessed an explosion in the ice trade. He had viable competitors and the world came to depend on ice harvested from frozen American lakes and shipped to the far corners of the earth. At one point before the Civil War, the value of American ice exports was second only to cotton. The trade persisted into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when electric refrigeration became a better option.
Tudor's story is
Gavin Weightman, The Frozen Water Trade
Carl Seaburg and Stanley Paterson, Ice King: Frederic Tudor and His Circle
(excerpt of Ice King on Harvard Business School)
Wikipedia entry on Tudor
Profile on IceHarvestingUSA.com