Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Birth of the Ice Cream Industry

A U.S.A. without ice cream? No, it’s not an idea for a terrifying new movie. We’re just looking back into history to try to find out just when people started making and selling ice cream. While we know that exceptionally wealthy people—including George Washington and his family—enjoyed ice cream for a few special weeks between winter and spring each year, it was nearly impossible to keep it cold long-term without the freezers we take for granted today.

Historians think they’ve tracked down the first man to makeselling ice cream a vocation: Jacob Fussell, an inhabitant of York County, Pennsylvania. Apparently, he started mixing up tasty ice cream sometime during the 1850s, taking it into Baltimore, Maryland to sell it to hungry city slickers. It seems funny to us now, but Fussell’s ice cream was just an afterthought at first—a way to make some extra money off the cream that was left over after making milk.

Fussell’s dairy factory in Seven Valleys, PA continued to churn up delicious ice cream for about two years, but transportation and communication problems eventually made Fussell decide to set up shop in Baltimore itself. But those two years of initial production are enough to make York County’s inhabitants proud to call their home the birthplace of America’s commercial ice cream industry.

Researchers have had a tough time confirming Seven Valleys’ claim by examining documents from the period. The oldest piece of evidence so far seems to be a newspaper article from 1928 that mentions the “first ice cream factory.”

To celebrate National Ice Cream Month (July, in case you didn’t know), Pennsylvania plans to place a historical marker in York County commemorating Fussell’s ice cream business. If you can’t make it there for the big day, maybe you can celebrate by stopping by one of the countless ice cream shops that his idea has spawned.

Selling ice cream has certainly become a huge industry in the United States. Have you ever thought about trying your hand at it yourself? If you have a good business mind and a love for ice cream, a franchise opportunity may be just right for you. On our website, you can browse the many different kinds offranchises available across the country and start thinking about what could be possible. Who knows; maybe you’ll have the biggest new idea in selling ice cream since Jacob Fussell!

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