Today in History: William Young Patents the Ice Cream Freezer

| May 30, 2019

savoury-Ice-Cream-ConesAugust Bank Holiday – a tune on an ice-cream cornet. A fanfare of sunshades opening.  A wince and whinny of bathers dancing into deceptive water. A tuck of dresses. A rolling of trousers. A compromise of paddlers. A sunburn of girls and a lark of boys. A silent hullabaloo of balloons.
— Dylan Thomas. Holiday Memory, 1946

Although I was grateful to earn a little pocket money after school by shelving children’s books in the local public library, I by far preferred working at Swensen’s right across the street. The Dewey Decimal system was a little tricky to master, and in the quiet of the afternoon it always seemed to take a long time to correctly order all the books. But at the ice cream parlour, I thrived as a waitress on the rush of orders and satisfied customers, while my brother made the goods in the gorgeous glass room beside the buzzing soda fountain. He’d haul in big buckets of fine cream on a bright red dolly and crank the flavors — tubs of strawberries, chocolate sauce, caramel, marshmallows, nuts — into a giant ice machine that caught the attention of our eager customers; chrome glistened under vintage fixtures to the tune of the Beach Boys or Rod Stewart wafting from the corners of the tin ceiling; it was a bustling, happy place for everyone — not only to feast on dozens of delicious frozen treats — single scoop to cable carfait or banana split —  but also to learn how they were made. One could say that ice cream became a staple part of our diet which fed our knowledge of food, especially after long nights of service during the otherwise lazy hot days of summer at the beach.

Nancy Johnson created a hand-cranked freezer that established the basic method of making ice cream; paddles moved inside a vessel, surrounded by ice and salt, which held the ingredients. But William Young of Baltimore patented an improveice_cream_Youngd model of the ice cream freezer on May 30th, 1848: his invention stirred the ingredients of the inner vessel through the movement of a perforated plunger, while spinning that vessel as it sat inside of an ice and salt-filled outer container. There was a weighted handle on the outside top that increased the coldness of the cream and accelerated the process of  freezing. Young’s ice cream freezer was in common use by 1854, until technical refrigeration came along, followed by the continuous process freezer which allowed the industry to develop and meet growing demand.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

Tips:  190530_Special_Slide

Images:

  • Savoury Ice Cream Cones, Courtesy of BizNews
  • William Young’s Patent, Courtesy of For the Love of History blog
  • Special Slide Courtesy of Edlab Studios

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