The Home City Ice Company has experienced many changes throughout its history before becoming the multi-million dollar company it is today. Its origins begin with William Ruskamp, who first located the business on South Side Avenue in Riverside in 1896. By 1900, he moved the company to Mississippi Avenue in Riverside. In that same year, William J. Holthingrichs bought the company from Ruskamp and named it the Riverside Ice Company. But, in 1910, Holthingrichs renamed the company The Home City Ice and Coal Company, taking the name of a nearby neighborhood, Home City, OH (which is today Saylor Park). In 1911, Gottlieb Hartweg bought the business and moved it to Ivanhoe Avenue in Home City, OH the next year. Harweg's son Fred inherited the business upon his father's death in 1924.
Beginning in the early 1920s, Frank Sedler, a self-taught engineer who sold cooling machinery for the York Refrigeration Company, began making sales calls to the Home City Ice Company. Determined to convert the company's machinery from steam-powered cooling equipment to electric, Frank purchased capital stock in the company when it incorporated in 1924. Sedler sold his home and invested $4,000 in the Home City Ice Company. He was elected president in 1924 because of his vast technical knowledge. Frank proceeded to modernize the company and changed the focus of the company to concentrate solely on ice production and delivery.
The Home City Ice Company's sales and profits grew each year. In 1928, the Home City Ice Company purchased an ice-making plant in Aurora, Indiana and expanded to serve Southeastern Indiana in addition to western Cincinnati.
The Home City Ice Company had a few commercial accounts during the early years of its history, but the majority of the company's business came from home deliveries. Before electric refrigerators were inexpensive and readily available, people kept their perishables in iceboxes. Large blocks of ice, usually cut from lakes and streams in the winter months, cooled the iceboxes. Ice companies such as Home City Ice printed books that allowed for ease of delivery and price breaks. Customers simply put these coupons on their icebox for the right amount of ice needed, letting the iceman deliver the correct amount of ice.
During the Great Depression, company growth remained fixed, but stockholders received yearly dividends. However, the metal rationings of World War II helped the Home City Ice Company's sales. Because the new metal refrigerators and freezers were scarce, people had to keep their old iceboxes, providing a steady market for the Home City Ice Company.
After the war, consumers began to buy the new electric refrigerators, causing the Home City Ice Company's home delivery sales to slowly decline. By 1953, the home delivery market had disappeared completely. Home City Ice relied on its commercial accounts to gain profits. A boost in sales came with the invention of the coin-operated ice-dispensing machine, which the Home City Ice Company placed in areas outside of its traditional market during the late 1950s and early 1960s.