Ice cream cone

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Ice cream cone

An ice cream cone is a cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, in which ice cream is served, permitting it to be eaten without a bowl or spoon.


Paper and metal cones were used during the 19th century in France, Germany, and Britain for eating ice cream. The first reference to an edible cone can be found in Mrs A. B. Marshall's Cookery Book, written in 1888 by celebrated British cookery writer Agnes Marshall. The recipe for "Cornet with Cream" indicates that - "the cornets were made with almonds and baked in the oven, not pressed between irons". She adds - "these cornets can also be filled with any cream or water ice or set custard or fruits, and served for a dinner, luncheon, or supper dish". Mrs Marshall was an influential innovator and greatly popularised ice cream in Britain. She published two recipe books specifically about ice cream and also patented an ice cream making machine.

On December 13, 1903 a New Yorker named Italo Marchiony, received U.S. patent No. 746971 on an ice cream cone-like invention he had been selling since 1896. Despite these prior claims, the popular belief is that the ice-cream cone was invented in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, where the story goes that a Syrian pastry maker, Ernst Hamwi who was selling zalabia, a crisp pastry cooked in a hot folding waffle-patterned press, and dribbled with syrup, came to the aid of a neighboring ice cream vendor, perhaps Arnold Fornachou or Charles Menches, who was running out of dishes, by rolling a still-warm zalabia into a cone that could hold ice cream. However, numerous men who sold pastries at the World's Fair claimed to have been the inventor of the ice cream cone, citing a variety of inspirations. After the fair the ice cream cone became popular in St. Louis and within a few years, the ice cream cone was being sold nationwide. Hamwi's story is largely based on a letter he wrote in 1928 to the Ice Cream Trade Journal, long after he had established the Cornucopia Waffle Company, which had grown into the Missouri Cone Company. Nationally, by that time, the ice-cream cone industry was producing some 250 million cones a year.

The first cones were rolled by hand, but in 1912, Frederick Bruckman, an inventor from Portland, Oregon, patented a machine for rolling ice cream cones. He sold his company to Nabisco in 1928.

The idea of selling a frozen ice-cream cones had long been a dream of ice-cream makers, but it wasn't until 1959 that Spica, an Italian ice-cream manufacturer based in Naples conquered the problem of the ice-cream making the cone go soggy. Spica invented a process, whereby the inside of the waffle cone was insulated from the ice-cream by a layer of oil, sugar and chocolate. Spica registered the name Cornetto (ice-cream) in 1960. Initial sales were poor, but in 1976 Unilever bought out Spica and began a mass-marketing campaign throught Europe. It is now one of the most popular ice-creams in the world.

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