Historic Photos

We All Scream for Ice Cream

May 27th, 2014

How long exactly have people been screaming for ice cream? No one really knows for sure; but, I do know that nothing beats the taste of homemade ice cream! Today's ice cream makers aren't much different from those being used over 100 years ago. The ice cream maker pictured to the right (c. 1970) belonged to Paul Benjamin, Jr. of Normal, IL. There are many legends regarding the invention of ice cream. Marco Polo may have brought it back from China. King Charles I may have had his own personal ice cream maker. Who really knows… It is known however, that Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC) would occasionally enjoy icy drinks flavored with honey or wine. But, it wasn't until the 17 century when Antonio Latine (1642 – 1692) wrote down the first recipe for a milk-based sorbet in Naples, Italy. It was his addition of sugar to the mix that leads many historians to credit him with the first “official" ice cream creation. Finally, in 1843 an American woman named Nancy Johnson invented the first hand-cranked ice cream maker. With its simple wooden barrel design, Ms. Johnson's invention simplified a once cumbersome process enjoyed only by the wealthy. Ice cream could now be made and enjoyed by anyone. See photo below (image courtesy of Patent Pending Blog.) Ice cream was available commercially as early as 1850 when local confectioneries and Ice Cream Saloons began to spring up. For more information on the history of ice cream, visit http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-kitchen/explore-the-delicious-history-of-ice-cream/.

Tod Eagleton