The Ice Sleigh of Indian Lake

On November 24,1990, a nine-foot-long wooden sleigh was pulled from Worcester’s Indian Lake. It had been there for nearly 70 years. The result of a suicide pact by star-crossed lovers? A WPI fraternity prank? Neither—it was a vestige of a time when, each winter, men used horses and sleighs to haul 18,000 tons of ice from the lake, first to be stored in icehouses along the shore, and then, in the summer, to be used in residents’ iceboxes. If a horse fell through the ice, the men would choke it with a rope until it passed out and then pull it out. Otherwise, it would thrash and drown. (Nicole Apostola)

The Cold, Increased by the Tremendous Speed, Deprived Them of the Power of Speech

There Mr. Fogg examined a curious vehicle, a kind of frame on two long beams, a little raised in front like the runners of a sledge, and upon which there was room for five or six persons. A high mast was fixed on the frame, held firmly by metallic lashings, to which was attached a large brigantine sail. This mast held an iron stay upon which to hoist a jib-sail. Behind, a sort of rudder served to guide the vehicle. It was, in short, a sledge rigged like a sloop. During the winter, when the trains are blocked up by the snow, these sledges make extremely rapid journeys across the frozen plains from one station to another. Provided with more sails than a cutter, and with the wind behind them, they slip over the surface of the prairies with a speed equal if not superior to that of the express trains. (Written by Jules Verne. Translated by Geo. M. Towle. Illustration by Léon Benett.)

From the January 2012 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]

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