I’m writing this post today because, last night, I was at a super-wacky baseball game at Coney Island; play-by-play here. On that note…
On Memorial Day 1934, Thomas A. Carvel found that, on the chief ice-cream buying weekend of the year, his truck had suffered a flat tire. Parking it next to a pottery store in Hartsdale, Long Island, NY, he found that he sold more parked than when driving – and the Carvel ice cream store, one of the first ever stationery ice cream parlors, was born.
Carvel’s innovation is extensive – he was one of the first to use a franchise-style system for his ‘ice cream supermarkets’ (which he pioneered); he was the first to promote soft-serve ice cream from a secret recipe that claims to not use infusion of air, and he was a believer of having himself (gravelly voice and all) in his ads, such as this voice-over:
Oh, and his death has controversy. Brilliant.
Four more bits of trivia on ice cream after the jump!
- While Carvel was the first to promote soft-serve, it was created by a team of British scientists (including later PM Margaret Thatcher) to use less ingredients by infusing it with air.
- Just like Carvel began at an interesting location (a refurbished pottery store), Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first ice cream shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, VT.
- While ice-cold desserts have been a fixture in human civilization since the Persians around 400 BCE, it wasn’t until the 10th Century in the Islamic Caliphate that ice cream really was perfected, using milk and sugar rather than fruit juices.
- Ice cream became more common after World War II, when refrigeration was cheaper – prompting Howard Johnson’s to advertise its 28 flavors, and Baskin-Robbins and its 31, one for each of the month.