ST. PAUL -- The big scoop this summer is that the ice cream cone is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. The sweet topping on that scoop is that July is National Ice Cream Month.

The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 and patented in 1903 in New York city by Italo Marchinoy, an Italian immigrant, said Kevin Stiles, vice president of marketing and industry communications at Midwest Dairy Association.

"It's been a big hit throughout the country ever since," he said in a press release. "We plan to honor this important event at state fairs in the MDAarea, from Minnesota and North Dakota all the way down to Oklahoma. We already participate in these events every year by serving some of the best ice cream available anywhere, so this ice cream cone celebration will be a natural extension of what we're already doing on behalf of dairy farmers to promote their products."

Although ice cream dates as far back as the second century B.C., when Alexander the Great reportedly enjoyed bowls of snow, ice, honey and nectar, it wasn't served in cones until much later. After Marchinoy patented his cone in 1903, the waffle cone made its appearance at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Earnest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire, was selling wafer-like waffle pastries called zalabia in a booth next to an ice cream vendor, when the vendor ran out of bowls. Hamwi quickly rolled one of his zalabia into a cone shape, let it cool a few seconds and gave it to the ice cream vendor. Customers were happy, and the rest, as they say, is history.


News of the ice cream cornucopias, as they were first called, spread, and St. Louis capitalized on the cone's success. Many people began independent operations of producing cones.

Hamwi also cashed in on his brainstorm. He began the Cornucopia Waffle Company and in 1910 founded the Missouri Cone Company, later called the Western Cone Company.

As the modern ice cream cone developed, two distinct types of cones emerged. The rolled cone was a waffle baked in a round shape and hand- or machine-rolled as soon as it came off the griddle. In a few seconds it hardened in the form of the crisp cone of today.

A second type of cone was molded either by pouring batter into a shell, inserting a core on which the cone was baked and then removing the core, or by pouring the batter into a mold, baking it and then splitting the mold so the cone could be removed easily.

In the early 1920s the cone business expanded. Cone production in 1924 reached a record 245 million. Nowadays, machines roll out about 150,000 cones a day.

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