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Philadelphia ice and coal companies advertising cards

Creation: 1870-1890
Accession: 2002-221


Ice and coal companies delivered ice in summer and coal in winter to meet the growing demands of consumers and businesses for refrigeration and heat. The collection consists of trade cards from seventy-one companies that were used as advertisements and as order tickets for ice and coal.


  • Creation: 1870-1890


0.5 Linear Foot

General Physical Description

377 prints (advertising cards) ; 9 x 14 cm or smaller.

Historical Note

Ice and coal companies sprang up in nineteenth century America to meet the growing demand of consumers and businesses for refrigeration and heating fuel as the population of cities, such as Philadelphia, increased. Ice and coal were delivered directly to homes and businesses by these companies. Ice was chiseled from large blocks to fit home iceboxes and for industrial use, such as in breweries and butcher shops. Coal delivery was offered by many ice companies as a complementary service during winter months.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of trade cards advertising ice and coal delivery services in the city of Philadelphia. Cards from seventy-one different companies are included in the collection. The cards list the location of the companies, their rates and any other products they might have delivered, such as milk. These cards were primarily advertisements, but could also be placed in a customer's window to indicate they wanted an ice delivery on a particular day.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Philadelphia ice and coal companies advertising cards
Lisa Gensel and Karen Hansen
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA