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Any quick answer as to whether they were used in the Victorian era (in the comments) would be deeply appreciated (I need a quick answer).

So when did this form of wine chilling come about?

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Ice is quite old. The Romans already used it to chill drinks. It was hugely expensive, and remained so until mass production of ice became industrially possible. Ice was gathered in wintertime and stored in insulated cellars underground or in insulated houses build for the purpose. It was a laborious job to cut the ice and transport it to the cellars. Only the very rich could afford this kind of luxury.

During Victorian times the price of ice dropped to affordable levels, because industrialization made that possible. Instead of cutting the ice at a local pond in England it became possible to cut the ice mechanically in Canada and the USA, and transport it by steamer to England and other countries.

The ice bucket itself reflect the high price of ice. Ice buckets are usually elaborately decorated and look quite a bit like a price cup (in sports). It still something special today. During Victorian times an ice bucket had its use: it showed the world you could afford your drinks to be chilled.

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