JUNE 2019

America’s Ice Age: Did You Know?...

Erick Rawlings Athena CapitalBy Erick Rawlings, Managing Director, Research

My family and I visited the Wayside Inn (America’s oldest operating inn) this weekend in Sudbury, Massachusetts and on the grounds is an old ice house.  I was fascinated to learn that the ice harvesting industry in the US was a huge business, employing 90,000 people at its peak. For history on the ice trade, click here.

The trade lasted over 100 years and followed a very classic economics pattern:

new idea => high economic rents => increased competition => falling prices => growing market => consolidation => rising prices => disrupted by innovation => market collapse

It made me wonder what percentage allocation ice would have received if the Bloomberg Commodity Index had been in existence in the 1800’s and what current commodity has demand we take for granted, but in 100 years people will look back and think, “well isn’t that funny…”