It's important to remember that ice has not always been as readily available as it is today. Before modern refrigeration techniques, ice was only common in the winter, when everyone was too cold to enjoy it! Preserving ice from lakes and rivers meant burying it in sawdust or underground until the early warmer months. During the Industrial Revolution, inventors finally developed the means of creating and selling ice, but only companies could afford to buy it.
As equipment improved, ice became easier to get, and kids found it easy to beg some shavings of ice from employees transporting large blocks from place to place. They took their shavings home, got their mothers to add some sugar and flavoring to it, and there you have it--the first snow cones!
When the Great Depression struck, ice was common enough that snow cones were a very inexpensive treat, popular with people that had very little cash to spare. They earned the name "penny sundae" because they were a cheap alternative to real ice cream. Even today, they are popular for the same reason, usually costing so little that a kid with some spare change can have a big, frozen, sweet treat all to himself.
During World War II, there was yet another reason for people to choose snow cones over ice cream: In the spirit of sacrificing for the boys overseas, Americans sent all the ice cream they could produce to the troops. They could feel both cooled off and patriotic by enjoying snow cones instead of ice cream...perhaps with red, white, and blue flavorings?
A snow cone machine is a great toy and a great addition to a family reunion or company picnic. It's very easy to find a used one for sale online, and the prices are lower than you might think. Check out our website for more information on how you can get one for yourself! Oh, one more benefit of snow cones: They carry far, far fewer calories than your favorite ice cream flavor.