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Following the icy thing: When natural ice was a commodity

Atkinson, David



This article explores how a focus on commodities, and associated ‘follow-the-thing’ methodologies, might help nuance and deepen traditional historical narratives of the natural-ice trade between Norway and Britain in the 1850–1920 period. The article outlines these approaches and their potential to prompt richer understandings of the broader social impacts of the extraction or production of commodities, and their sale and consumption. This approach suggests that a more extensive, encompassing engagement with commodity flows and their wider social and cultural imprint could allow a clearer sense of how commodities helped to constitute the modern world. In turn, more fine-grained appreciations can be generated of the entwined historical processes and social impacts that shaped the rise and fall of natural ice as a commodity.


Atkinson, D. (2022). Following the icy thing: When natural ice was a commodity. International Journal of Maritime History, 34(1), 113-122.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 3, 2022
Publication Date 2022-02
Deposit Date Apr 4, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2022
Journal International Journal of Maritime History
Print ISSN 0843-8714
Electronic ISSN 2052-7756
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 113-122
Keywords Britain; Commodity; Fisheries; Follow the thing; Ice trade; Norway
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (235 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2022 by SAGE Publications. DOI:

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