29 August 2010

Ice cube tray

Ice cube trays seem to be much less common these days, and most seem to be made of flexible plastic.  When I was young, our family refrigerator had this style, with a lever that wiggled aluminum slats to (theoretically) loosen the cubes.

Found at Vintage Advertising, via Archive Digger.


  1. This style usually loosened some skin on your knuckles, too.

  2. wish i'd held on to some of these!

  3. I remember that you had to be careful with those darn things because your skin could freeze to them.

    I dare you to put your tongue on it. I double dog dare you!

  4. My parents' refrigerator/freezer is almost four decades old, and has the radical-for-its-time feature of a built-in ice cube tray, which slides into a special compartment in the center of the freezer. Breaking that tray out was definitely a learned skill, but the result was always large, *dense* ice cubes.

    The modern refrigerator/freezer I had back in the US was one of those that made its own cubes. They were half the size and apparently half the density of the solid blocks that my parents' unit produces. They would sublimate in no time, and always tasted like freezer burn.

    Here in Portugal we have a fridge/freezer unit that has the European version of an automatic ice maker -- which is, surprisingly, almost exactly like the one my parents have. You take the trays out, fill them with water, and slide them back into a compartment in the freezer. The only difference is the manner in which the cubes are broken out, which has been made much simpler. These cubes don't sublimate in 24 hours, and they taste great.

    Sometimes, the old ways are still the best.

  5. The bane of my existence as a child. Always guaranteed to either hurt myself or burst half the cubes onto the floor. Bah.

  6. What memories! Yes, I remember those trays... everyone's right, you would risk losing some skin from your fingers touching the freezing metal, and/or crush all the cubes into sharp shards when you were finally able to pull the lever back to loosen them.

    I guess nowadays most fridges have a built in ice maker.... but can I vent my complaint about the crescent-shaped ice most of them produce? When they align in your glass the wrong way, the curved edge of the ice fits right against the interior of the glass, forming an ice dam against your lips when you try to drink. It's the worst possible shape for an ice "cube" to be formed in!

  7. This ad makes the "lever" trays out to be the latest innovation... so now I am wondering how they made ice cubes before that!

  8. The first flexible stainless steel, all-metal ice cube tray was created by Guy L. Tinkham in 1933. The tray bent sideways to remove the ice cubes.

    The first rubber ice cube tray was invented by Lloyd Groff Copeman. One day in 1928, while walking through some woods collecting sap for maple syrup, Copeman noticed that slush and ice flaked off his rubber boots rather than adhering to them. Having recalled this incident over lunch with his patent attorney, he conducted experiments using rubber cups. Later, he set about designing and then patenting different types of tray: a metal tray with rubber separators, a metal tray with individual rubber cups, and a tray made completely of rubber.

    (from Wikipedia)

  9. Today's (6 Dec 2010) edition of comic strip Pluggers mentions this type of tray and post-traumatic stress associated with fetching ice. A lot of the young punks had no idea what it meant! A quick search found me this site, so I referred all curious to here.

  10. Thanks, Anon.

    (the cartoon is at http://www.gocomics.com/pluggers/)


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