use of ice to refrigerate and preserve food dates back to
prehistoric times. Through the ages, the seasonal harvesting of
snow and ice was a regular practice of many cultures. By the turn
of the 20th century, manufactured ice became more common. The
Pacific Fruit Express (PFE), for example, maintained seven natural
harvesting facilities, and operated 18 artificial ice plants.
largest plant (located in Roseville, California) produced 1,100
of ice daily, and Rosevilles docks could accommodate up
cars. At the industrys peak, 1,200,000 tons of ice was produced
refrigerator car use annually.
A late-19th century wood-bodied reefer required re-icing every
miles (400 km) to 400 miles (640 km). The typical ice-bunker reefer
from the 1920s were originally constructed with wood sheathing.
Later, these early wood constructed cars would be replaced with
steel constructed cars with plywood interiors by the 1940s. Vents
the bunker at the end of the car, along with slots in the wood
racks, allowed cool air to circulate around the contents.