Cold Chain History: How Did Ice Houses Work?

December 06, 2016


Cold-chain packaging can’t be faked. You either get it right or you don’t. There is no hiding mistakes.

Have you ever wondered how cold chain worked before the freezer? Was the world doomed to drink hot beverages all summer long? Not exactly. In fact, cold chain logistics has a longer history than you may realize.

Archaeologists have found references to ice houses that date back thousands of years. These ancient ice houses were used to store blocks of ice that were gathered during winter – sometimes the ice was shipped in from mountain towns. Ancient Rome even had snow shops where spectators could cool off before heading into to the Coliseum to see gladiators in action.

In more recent American history, ice houses were used to keep meats, and more importantly beer, cold all year long. Naturally, these places became gathering spaces.

How did they work, though? The answer is a simple knowledge of insulation. Partially-buried buildings with thick walls would house several tons of ice that were covered with straw or sawdust to further insulate the blocks. This meant a Pharaoh of Egypt could have watched the pyramids being built while enjoying a cup of water with ice shipped in from cooler climates.

When the refrigerator, and later freezer, became common the ice house industry slowly melted away. But innovation on cold chain kept growing. Fast forward a few years and now you have options like our TempEndure consistent-temperature packaging system. It offers you the only fully integrated, sustainable approach for creating customized packaging with its own internal environment (unless this ice truck idea takes off that is).

Just like this:

In other words, with TempEndure you can have your ice cream cake and eat it too! Call Ernest Packaging Solutions today to learn more about our cold-chain solutions and have the coolest packaging on the block!