About nine percent of all the cow’s milk produced in the US is used to make ice cream. In 2020, that was about 1 billion gallons of ice cream!.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait for summer weekends, when homemade peach ice cream was on the menu!
My job: sit on top of the ice cream maker (with newspaper padding to protect me from all that ice!) to hold the (first hand-, then electric-) churn in place. Nancy M. Johnson had patented that hand-cranked ice cream maker in 1843 (Patent No. 3254).
Then in 1851 (perhaps on 15 June), Jacob Fussell became the first person in the US to manufacture and sell ice cream at scale.
A milk dealer, Fussell began making ice cream when he had excess milk and cream. And when a deal came his way.
An opportunity arose when a dairyman who operated a small catering business that sold a frozen concoction of milk, eggs, and sugar in Baltimore defaulted on a debt to an older Quaker who had no desire to take over the business. The lender asked Fussell to take on the operation.
Knowing supply and demand of milk was highly unpredictable, Fussell reasoned he could, as a “country produce dealer,” use his surplus milk and cream to manufacture ice cream and market it “for 25 cents per quart, delivered in moulds or otherwise day and night.” Ice cream at the time was selling for sixty cents a quart but Fussell, selling in volume, was reaping handsome profits.
Fussell modified Johnson’s design for mass production (rather than at-home production) and opened his first factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania (York County). He shipped the ice cream, packed with ice for preservation, by rail. In 1854, he moved the factory to Baltimore.
By mass producing ice cream, Fussell created a product that “ordinary people could afford.” He would eventually open factories in Boston, New York and Washington, DC.
By 1909, his factories sold 30 million gallons of ice cream annually.
At the corner of Hillen and Exeter Streets in Baltimore, the Maryland Historical Society has erected a plaque in Jacob Fussell’s honor, proclaiming Baltimore as the “Birthplace of the ice cream industry.” Today Fussell is known as the father of the American ice cream industry.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association:
Like other American industries, ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. In addition, motorized delivery vehicles dramatically changed the industry. Due to ongoing technological advances, today’s total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 6.4 billion pounds.
About the song
Billy Moll, Howard Johnson and Robert King scored I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream in 1927.
However, in 1922, Christian Kent Nelson and Russell C. Stover (of Stover chocolates) patented the Eskimo Pie. Nelson initially called the chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar the “The ‘I-Scream’ Bar.”
Russell Stover pulled out in 1923 to start the candy company that bears his name; in 1924, Nelson sold the company to the firm that made its wrapper, the U.S. Foil Corporation, later the Reynolds Metals Company.
Woody Allen performed the 1927 song on clarinet with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the New Orleans Funeral and Ragtime Orchestra, then included that version in the soundtrack of his 1973 movie, Sleeper.
#scitech, science, society (145/365)
📷 Andrey Kuzmin, Adobe Stock
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