The Evolution of Ice Cream


It’s officially summer; longer days, warmer temperatures and endless days of relaxing are here.  What better way to enjoy the carefree days than with ice cream?  Ice Cream was brought to the Americas in colonial times with British settlers. This treat was so popular it was often found on the tables of our Founding Fathers. However, in that era it was much more of an extravagant item to serve than it is today.

The 1800s

In the 1800s the delivery ice to ones home exploded.  As more and more companies were able to deliver ice to homes at reasonable prices, the technology for hand-crank ice cream machines continued to improve.  This in turn made it easier for hand-scooped ice cream to be eaten at one’s very own house. In no time at all, ice cream parlors began to appear.  By the 1830s, Ice Cream had already become known as an Independence Day treat. For those that were unable to afford the technology to make ice cream at home, street vendors came to the rescue.

One of the most popular treats of this age was the “hokey-pokey”.  This was a Neapolitan striped creation that was cut into two-inch squares.  It was the perfect bite sized confection and was popular as a street food.

The 1900s

The ice cream sandwich was really a difference maker in the world of ice cream social status. You could find blue and white collar employees enjoying these treats side by side next to the street carts. In the 1920s ice cream took one more leap forward when a candy maker added a stick to the confections.  This further lead to the inventor, Harry Burt, to develop refrigerated trucks that ran on specific routes to get the ice cream bars in the hands of children. From the 1920s on the popularity of ice cream trucks continued to grow and different brands emerged. By the 1960s the trucks were more perfected and could be heard coming down the streets with their jingles.

The New Millenium

In the 2000s some claimed that the lure of the ice cream truck had passed. “I hated the way they tasted,” Ben Van Leeuwen said.  This led to Ben and his brother to purchase their own truck and develop their own batch of flavors. Today there is not a lack of ice cream truck owners in any market. There are more than 700 trucks operating in 15 states across the US.

Whether you like to get to your ice cream in an old fashioned parlor or from the truck driving through your neighborhood, there aren’t many other treats that taste as sweet and cool on a hot summer day. Visit Sinful Sweets in downtown Pittsburgh for a variety of flavors and ice cream confections. Tell us your favorite flavor when you stop in today!