One Scoop or Two

Little girl with ice cream cone in the zoological park, Detroit, Mich. 1942. Prints and Photographs Division.

The weather of late has been particularly hot, and I’m sure many of us have been looking for ways to cool off. Perhaps it’s very appropriate, then, that July is National Ice Cream Month. I’m a rocky road fan, and I love to scoop some ice cream between two warm cookies for a ice cream sandwich!

On this day in 1904, the ice cream cone was invented, according to the July 23 entry from the Library’s American Memory Today in History presentation.

Charles E. Menches and his brother Frank were ice cream purveyors in their hometown of St. Louis, Mo. During the St. Louis World’s Fair, the two were on hand scooping up the sweet confection for the hungry – and hot – masses. On July 23, so much ice cream was being sold at the fair, that the Menches brothers ran out of serving bowls. Next to their tent was pastry-maker Ernest A. Hamwi, who was selling sweet wafer pastries. Needing to come up with another way of serving the ice cream, Charles bought all the pastries, rolled them into cones and began scooping the dessert into them. And, thus according to popular legend, the ice cream cone was born.

It should be noted that no one really knows for sure who made the first cone. Paper and metal cones had been used in Europe for some time, and edible cones were mentioned in French cooking books as early as 1825.

And, if you want to know even more about the sweet treat, including how to make vanilla ice cream courtesy of Thomas Jefferson, you should read this Inside Adams blog post from the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division.

What’s your favorite ice cream and way to eat it?


  1. Theodore Swann
    July 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    one of the best treats I have found while I was at work was the ice cream that I found there at the Smithsonian their they have freeze dry ice cream that the when to the moon and back that taste just as good as the cold one do

  2. Joann
    July 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Unfortunately for the waistlines of both my brother and me, our favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. Yum! We tend to eat it in a cup or bowl but have to admit to sometimes digging straight into the pint container. The setting? At home or at a B&J’s store.

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