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The Origin of Ice Cream
(First American advertisement for commercially-made ice cream - 8 Jun 1786)



The Origin Of Ice Cream.

as described in Harper’s Bazaar (1899)

The New York Post Boy, of June 8, 1786, makes this announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen may be supplied with ice cream every day at the City tavern by their humble servant, Joseph Cowe*.” At a ball given by Mrs. Johnson in New York on December 12, 1789, there were “served pyramids of red and white ice cream, with punch and liquors, rose cinnamon and parfait amour.” Ice cream was first introduced at the national capital by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, who had it at her home in New York. She used to tell with amusement of the delight with which President Jackson first tasted it, and how he promptly decided to have ices at the executive mansion. Accordingly, guests at the next reception were treated to the frozen mystery, and afforded considerable fun to the initiated by the reluctance with which they tasted it. Those from the rural districts, especially, first eyed it suspiciously, then melted each spoonful with breath before consuming it. Their distrust was soon removed, however, and plates were emptied with great rapidity.

The man who made the cream was, oddly enough, a negro by the name of Jackson, who in the early part of the present century kept a small confectionery store in Washington. Cold custards, which were cooled after being made by setting them on a cake of ice, were very fashion able, and Jackson, at Mrs. Hamilton’s suggestion, froze them by placing the ingredients in a tin bucket and completely covering it with ice. Each bucket contained a quart, and was sold for $1. It immediately became popular, and the inventor soon enlarged his store, and when he died left a considerable fortune. A good many tried to follow his example, and ice cream was hawked about the streets, being wheeled along very much as the hokey-pokey carts are now, but none of them succeeded in obtaining the flavor that Jackson had in his product – [Harper’s Bazaar]

* Seen spelled as “Crowe” in Walter Warner Fisk, The Book of Ice-Cream (1919), 291 (source).

Text of an article in Harper's Bazaar, reprinted in Christian Work: Illustrated Family Newspaper  (5 Jan 1899), 66,  39 (source) .

See also:
  • Today in Science History Icon 8 June - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of first U.S. advertisement for commercially-made ice cream.
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Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
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