U. S. Production
However, before supply came demand…and the controversial “inventions” of the ice cream sundae and the ice cream cone.
There are several stories as to the birth of the ice cream sundae (as there are to its predecessor, the ice cream soda). Most of these “true accounts” revolve around concentrated efforts by Midwestern religious leaders in the late 19th century against “sucking soda” (I am not making this up). Evanston, Illinois was one such town, as was Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Both claim to have locals who circumvented the soda ban by serving ice cream topped with syrup, and they did it on Sunday, and then changed the name slightly to avoid any connection with the clergy…
And if you thought the invention of the sundae was confusing, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Many histories proclaim that the ice cream cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair (the Louisiana Purchase Exposition), when Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamwi gave some of his “zalabia” (a waffle-like pastry) from his pastry cart to neighboring Arnold Fornachou, who had run out of paper dishes to serve his ice cream in at his adjoining ice cream cart at the fair. Another version has Hamwi teaming up with a different ice cream vendor named Charles Menches, who also ran out of dishes.
Well, wait…yet another vendor named Abe Doumar said he created the cone and sold it nightly at the fair. Hang on…fair vendor David Avayou said the same thing, claiming he knew of “cones of pastry” from France. All in all there were about 50 ice cream vendors and more than a dozen waffle stands at the fair, so it’s very likely there were several vendors selling some version of an ice cream cone. Certainly, the cone became universally popular after this date. Despite the number of claimants, most ice cream experts and associations give the credit to Hamwi (see why below).
- let us seriously consider Italo Marciony (also spelled
Marchioni and Marcioni)– who
claimed he created the ice cream cone on September 22, 1896! He sold his cones from a pushcart in New York City, and his
claim may be the best, since he had a patent for a waffle mold, granted in
eight months before the St. Louis Fair! His invention was “…like a waffle iron and producing
several small pastry cups with sloping sides.” I have a copy of it courtesy of Anthony Gullo of Hoboken, NJ,
who also provided me with more about this fascinating, and little known
emigrated to the United States in the late 1800s, and although he lived in
Hoboken, NJ for a time his fame resides solely in New York City. He began his
business selling his homemade lemon ice from a single pushcart on Wall Street,
but his business quickly grew into many carts.
Although he was successful he still had a small problem that was causing him to lose money. At the time, most ice cream from vendors was sold in serving glasses called "penny licks" (because you'd lick the ice cream from the glass, and it cost a penny to do so). There was a major problem with sanitation (or the lack thereof), but Marciony's problem was that many people would accidentally break the glasses, or not so accidentally walk off with them. His first solution was to make cone-like containers out of paper which worked fine until he was hit with a stroke of genius. He came up with the idea of making an edible container for his cool treat. So in 1896 he began baking edible waffle cups with sloping sides and a flat bottom - shaped like his serving glass - and it was an instant hit.
On September 22, 1903, he filed a patent application out of the city and state of New York, and U.S. Patent No. 746971 was issued to him on December 15, 1903. So although he lived in Hoboken for a time, while selling his wares in the big city, and although my home town web sites claims him as our own, his patent clearly states that he is "Italo Marciony of New York."
Update - 2014: I received several emails from Bill Keller, whose grandfather was Frank Marchioni (note the spelling), who was a partner of Antonio Valvona...who received a patent (in Manchester, England) for a smiliarly-designed baking cup for ice cream...in 1902! Turns out that cousin Italo took the idea and didn't add much to it - and that's why Frank and Antonio sued (and won) in 1913. Italo got the last laugh, however (sort of) - check his obit from the New York Times. So the debate continues...
As I mentioned earlier, most folks in the US give Hamwi the credit (not so elsewhere in the world). Here, this is because:
Many people today think Henry Ford invented the automobile, and Bill Gates invented the computer. Not so, of course, but both these men made the machines more like what we know them today. And made money doing so - that's why we remember their names, and not Robert Hupp (the Huppmobile) and Adam Osborne (Osborne 1 micro-computer).
To be sure, the St. Louis World's Fair popularized the cone, but the idea of putting ice cream in a cone came before this. We refer to Marciony as the father of the American Ice Cream Cone. And we'll leave it at that, because there are other claimants who say they had the idea before this - there are English claims that go back to the 1890's, and one French claim of an edible ice cream cone from 1825! Will we ever know who was first? Probably not...and wait, there are two more details of local interest...
One reason we made some changes to this page in 2014 was a result of Bill Kellen's emails (see above). The other was a typo in a book entitled, "Sexless Oysters and Self-Tipping Hats: 100 Years of Invention in the Pacific Northwest." In it, the author discusses the invention and patent by Frederick Bruckman (who was employed by Portland's ice cream czar George Weatherly) for a machine for rolling ice cream cones. The book said "1902" and since that was a year before all of the above hoo-hah, I figured more research was needed, pronto. Bruckman's invention was in 1912, not 1902 (he sold it to Nabisco in 1928), so while there's another Northwest connection to ice cream cones, it wasn't all that earth shattering.
The other factoid isn't either, but it's closer to home. I used to joke that, indirectly, Lewis and Clark were responsible for the ice cream cone, since they explored the Louisiana Purchase, and since the ice cream cone was made popular at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis a hundred years later. Now, another century since then, a picture caption from a historical record brings it full circle.
In “A Pictorial History of Seaside & Gearhart” there is a picture of a small business with the caption, “First ice cream cone shop in Seaside near the turn of the century” (emphasis mine).
Now, given what we know about the birth of the cone, one of three things is possible:
further research is needed. If
anyone has any additional information on Seaside’s early ice cream businesses,
and can clarify this or other early ice cream history, this ice cream lover
would enjoy hearing it. Still,
it’s clear that Seaside visitors had, and still have, a love affair with
scoops of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla…
In April, 2004, Zinger's Ice Cream began making homemade ice cream. Partly to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ice cream cone (or 101st, if you are in the Marciony camp), and partly to offer visitors a better ice cream with more diverse flavors, "Zinger's Homemade" is a combination of old-fashioned creaminess and 21st Century flavors.
Be like Lewis and Clark - make the journey to Seaside to experience a little history of your own! And if you want to wear your history, consider stopping by our NEW "History of Ice Cream" shop for t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel with Great Moments in Ice Cream History at www.cafepress.com/icecreamhistory
website, like our ice cream, is homemade. It's also (c) Zinger's Inc, 2018