The Singing Ice Machine

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

If you’ve ever purchased ice in bulk for a trip to the beach or the campground, it’s likely you pulled it out of an ice chest like this:


[Photo credit: Roadsidepictures]

Gas stations and convenience stores in America often feature such a unit, and sell ice for just a dollar or three per bag, despite the incredible work that was undertaken to get it in your hands.2 They’re functional, and the I C E lettering (and snow on top of it) frequently looks inviting, but they’re fairly boring overall.

Recently, thanks to a video on the webernets, I learned of the existence of a very different kind of ice machine. That video was just 15 seconds, and you can watch it below.2

The joke in the video was that the kid was expecting the ice to come out of the chute, and he got tricked.3 That’s mildly amusing, sure. But the much, much, much funnier thing to me is that the machine is singing a song. A song about ice!

I’ve transcribed what I believe is being sung here:

🎶 It’s too hot
Get some ice
Need a cool drink
Just chill it nice
Got me a big old bag of ice
This hot deal’s so cool
It’s twice as nice. 🎶

Someone wrote this! And recorded it! In a studio, possibly. Naturally, I poked around the internet, desperate to find more. At first, all I could find was a tweet quoting the song:

A tweet reading “it's too hot, get some ice
need a cool drink just chill it nice
got me a big ol' bag of ice”

The replies to that tweet helped me dig up another video of this absurd machine, which includes the full song. Thank you, Lucas Anderson, for capturing this.

A bit more research led me to “Ice House USA”. They’re in Florida (“Corporate Vision: To become the leader in retail ice sales on the West Coast of Florida.”) and the initial video apparently came from Texas, but it seems certain this is the same machine (covered by U.S. Patents No. 6,932,124 and 7,104,291 (“Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods”)). The Ice House USA FAQ includes this answer to “How does this thing work?”

Our “Twice the Ice” vending kiosks are completely automated and self-contained, with an 8’x 24′ footprint. The machine produces, bags, and vends a 16lb bag of ice. We also offer 20lbs of bulk ice, which consumers can dispense directly into their coolers through a chute, for the same price as the bagged ice. Customers simply insert their dollar bills or coins into the machine, which then dispenses fresh ice.

As well as this question which surely is not asked frequently:

Who’s making the Ice?

While we’ve been accused of housing gnomes and penguins in the back of our ice houses laboriously bagging ice, everything is in fact quite automated. An ice maker on the top of the kiosk produces ice as needed and the ice moves forward through the house using a series of rakes and augers. The ice is then weighed and either bagged or dispensed directly into your cooler. You are getting fresh ice and won’t have to worry about having to smash your bagged ice on the ground to separate the cubes like you do when you go to the inconvenience store.

That marks the extent of their FAQ. Alas, there’s no mention of the singing, which seems like a real miss. Certainly my most frequently asked questions since learning about this have all related to the song, and the artists behind it.

I hope to learn more in the future, but for now, I’m content just to share the singing ice machine with you. And hey, if you own land on the Florida’s west coast, you can consider leasing it to Ice House USA to get in on the singing ice machine revolution.


Footnotes:

  1. A classic Simpsons clip is archived here. ↩︎

  2. I saw this in a deleted post on Reddit here, but I don’t know the original source. For now, I’m just hosting my own copy, but I’ll gladly link to the original source if someone points me to it. ↩︎

  3. Also, if it had come out that way, he was going to catch approximately none of it. But we’ll set his terrible technique aside.↩︎


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