The History of the Ice Cream Cone
At Joy Cone Co., a world without ice cream cones feels incomplete. However, the ice cream cone wasn’t officially invented until the early 1900s.
Conical pastries were referenced in the 1800s in Julien Archambault’s French cooking books, as well as Mrs. Agnes B. Marshall’s “Cornet with Cream” recipe. However, there was no official documentation, mass production, or sales of the ice cream cone until the turn of the 20th century.
In 1902, Italian entrepreneur and ice cream manufacturer Antonio Valvona patented a machine for baking biscuit cups for ice cream. This appears to be the first patented device used to create edible ice cream dishes.
However, Italo Marchiony, Italian-American ice cream salesman, filed for a patent just one year later in 1903 for a molding apparatus to form edible ice cream cups. He used the apparatus to roll warm waffles into cone-shaped containers for his ice cream.
Marchiony claims to have invented the edible ice cream cone, but there is a bit of controversy around his claims since his patent followed that of Antonio Valvona. Further controversy was sparked by the ice cream cone’s rise to fame, which neither Marchiony or Valvona could claim.
The ice cream cone began to gain popularity in 1904, when a serendipitous event at the St. Louis World’s Fair led to a widespread love for the ice cream cone.
As the story goes, Albert Aboussie, a Lebanese ice cream concessionaire, was working at a booth next to Ernest Hamwi, a waffle concessionaire. During the fair, Aboussie ran out of paper cups for his ice cream. Hamwi noticed the shortage next-door, and while his waffles were still warm, he rolled them into cones and filled them with ice cream. The fairgoers loved it, and the ice cream cone quickly became a favorite among fair and street vendors.
Throughout the early 1900s, businessmen such as Abe Doumar and Frederick Bruckman paved the way for mass production of the ice cream cone, allowing it to be sold in brick-and-mortar ice cream stores. Large machinery was patented and sold with the sole purpose of rolling ice cream cones in mass quantities.
This opened the door for Albert George, a Lebanese-American immigrant who started the George & Thomas Cone Company in 1918. What began as a family business with a mission to bring small moments of joy to families around the country, grew into a worldwide ice cream cone manufacturer and distributor. George & Thomas Cone Company later became Joy Cone Co. and is now the largest ice cream cone company in the world.
Check out the full history of the ice cream cone in the graphic below.
Head on over to the Joy Cone blog for more ice cream cone fun!