A.D 54-68: For centuries, iced desserts were a luxury. Roman Emperor Nero is said to have sent his slaves into the mountains to fetch snow to mix with nectar, fruit pulp, and honey, although this widely told tale may be only a myth.
A.D. 618-907: The origins of ice cream date back to The Tang dynasty of China, probably as a dish for the rulers of the country. The founder of the dynasty kept ninety-four “ice men” on hand to lug ice to the palace to make a dish made of koumiss (heated, fermented milk), flour, and camphor.
1744: American colonists brought along recipes from Europe. on May 19, 1744, a group of VIP’s dined at the home of Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen. Present was a Scottish colonist who described “a Dessert…Among the Rarities of which is was Compos’d, was some fine ice cream which, with the strawberries and milk, eat most deliciously.” This is the first written account of ice cream consumption in the new colonies.
1782: Ever hear how Martha Washington left a bowl of sweet cream on the back steps of Mount Vernon one night, and the next morning discovered ice cream? Nice story, but not true. George Washington did have, described in his ledger, “a cream machine for ice.”
1843: Until September 9, 1843, ice cream was made by the “pot freezer method,” but on this day, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia got her “artificial freezer” patented, containing a tub, cylinder, dasher, lid, and crank. Today, this design is still widely used.
1851: Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream plant. Maryland was the first to manufacture ice cream on a large scale. He bought fresh dairy products from farmers in York County, Pennsylvania, and sold them in Baltimore. Two years later, he moved his factory to Baltimore. Business boomed, and Fussell became the father of the wholesale ice cream industry.
1870: Invention of the Neopolitan ice cream. It was also the first time multiple flavors of ice cream were compressed in a single ice cream mold.
1880: Buffalo, NY; Ithaca, NY; Two Rivers, WI; and Evanston, IL all claim to have invented the ice cream sundae. The sundae is a sweet ice cream dessert. Wherever it happened, it first started appearing in soda fountains during the 1880’s. It was invented because the drinking of soda was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois, the ice cream sundae was a way to circumvent that restriction. On September 22, 1903, there is a recorded application for a patent for the ice cream cone by Italo Marchiony.
1882: Charles Ranhofer invents the “Baked Alaska” to commemorate America’s purchase of Alaska.
1903: Italo Marchioni patents the edible ice cream cone in New York.
1904: David Strickler invents the banana-spit in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
1905: Frank Epperson (at age 11) invents the “Popsicle” or “ice on a stick”. It was patented in 1924.
1919: Under pressure of the Prohibition Act, some large beer manufacturers in the United States convert to ice cream making and turn bars into ice cream parlors.
1921: Christian Nelson invents the “Eskimo Pie”, a foil wrapped, chocolate covered ice cream.
1923: Factory-filled, paper cups of ice cream maked their first appearance.
1929: William Dreyer invents the “Rocky Road”.
1939: Grocery stores didn’t start selling ice cream until the 1930’s, and by World War II, ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol. Ice cream was great for troop morale, and in 1943, the U.S. Armed Forces were the world’s largest ice cream manufacturers!
1989: Scientists at the Smithsonian invents the freeze-dried “space bar” ice cream that is also known as “astronaut ice cream”. Because it is freeze-dried, astronaut ice cream never melts.
1990: Frozen yogurt became the craze among more health-conscious consumers.