Plants that make ice?

The ad clearly stating they have plants that can make ice.

While going through the newspaper, OCR-ing it, and transcribing it to XML, I usually don’t pay attention to what’s written. Not because I don’t want to - but because I go through it so fast, I don’t have time to. Until I came across this interesting advertisement. At a quick glance of the page, it immediately caught my attention. Yes, the big letters aided in that, but what was in the title is what really got me puzzled. “Ice Making Plants”? I thought, there’s no way they found plants that make ice. Upon continuing to read I saw it said “Power Driven Machines to produce 1 cwt. Per 24 hours” (or about 1lb ≈ every 15 mins). So now I drew another conclusion – they’ve made robotic plants that make ice instead of oxygen.

Obviously, this couldn’t be correct so I took it upon myself to call the number on the ad and ask – but of course I got a “Your call could not be completed as dialed” (must have been a typo). Unfortunately, they didn’t put an email I could contact so I went to my backup-backup plan and scoured the web. After adequate research, I came to my last conclusion: This misleading ad sold ice machines crankable by hand that could be used in factory plants to produce a lot of ice. I also concluded that the “Egyptian Engineering Co., LTD.” didn’t come up with the product, it just resold it as a white label. The RAPLIN originally came from England in the 1890s made by “Pulsometer Engineering Co., LTD” which continued to manufacture ice machines and other advancements throughout the years. Who knew an innocent a deceptive advertisement from the early 1900s could get a person from the 21st century so well?

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Will Hanley
Associate Professor of History

I study the legal history of the Middle East and teach at Florida State University.

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