The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 11, No. 1 Spring 1984
Linda H. Kistler Clairmont P. Carter and
UNIVERSITY OF LOWELL
PLANNING AND CONTROL IN THE 19th CENTURY ICE TRADE
Abstract: This paper describes selected accounting records of the Tudor Ice Company which were devised to manage and control the far-flung business activi-ties of Frederic Tudor, a 19th century entrepreneur who has been called America's first monopolist. Tudor's business genius lay in developing methods of harvesting, transporting, storing, and marketing commercial quantities of ice taken from New England ponds and shipped to tropical ports around the world. Frederic Tudor employed relatively sophisticated accounting techniques to analyze and control transportation costs and the costs of product shrinkage. He also routinely analyzed and translated foreign currency transactions for his geographically dispersed op-erations and evaluated the impact of competition on his operations.
He cuts and saws the solid pond, unroofs the house of fishes, and carts off their very elements and air, held fast by chains and stakes like corded wood, through the favor-ing winter air to wintry cellars to underlie the summer there ....
Walden—Henry David Thoreau
Frederic Tudor (1783-1864) was a 19th century Boston entrepre-neur who recognized the potential profit in shipping and marketing commercial quantities of ice harvested from New England lakes and ponds to tropical climates where the product, if known at all, was a luxury good. Through his singleminded and often ruthless pursuit of profit, he developed a thriving industry where none had existed before. Tudor's business practices earned him some notoriety as America's first monopolist.
Eventually known throughout New England as "The Ice King," Tudor's first ice shipment in 1806 amounted to only 130 tons. At the