“Cool” Ice Cream History


Isn’t ice cream just the best?

Who can turn down a triple scoop on a hot day or resist the call of the ice cream truck moving slowly down your street? Nobody, that’s who!

Ice cream rules the land in the United States and has done so since the late 1800s. The only country in the world that loves it more than the good ol’ U.S of A is New Zealand (by a slim margin). Ice cream has been the undisputed dessert king since its creation. But where did it come from and how did it get to the States? What was the first flavor?

Here are a few fun ice cream facts:

  • The first known creation of ice cream traces back to AD 618-907, when King T’ang of Shang supposedly kept 94 “ice men” on hand to lug ice to the palace to make a dish made of koumiss (heated milk), flour and camphor.
  • A love for ice cream exploded in Europe when explorer, Marco Polo, brought the recipe back to Italy from China.
  • The first written account of ice cream in the U.S. hails back to 1744, after Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen tasted the dessert for the first time. The first flavor was strawberry.
  • The father of the American ice cream industry is Jacob Fussell of Baltimore who opened the first ice cream factory in 1851.
  • Ice cream sodas were invented in the 1880s but were soon banned for being far too “sinfully” rich to be eaten on Sundays. To get around the ban, soda shops began using flavored syrup instead of soda, and added an “e” to the word to remove any connection with the sabbath, leading to the creation of the ice cream sundae.
  • The waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the World’s Fair when a vendor ran out of regular cones and turned to a waffle vendor nearby for help. They came up with the idea to merge the two treats.
  • In the 1930s, Mussolini banned ice cream due to its association with the “ice cream-crazy” United States.


  1. I’d like to see the source about Mussolini banning ice cream, because I’m pretty sure it’s a myth. I have never heard or read if that anywhere but in trivia articles like this, and I’ve been a student of that era of Italian history for many decades.

    The Italians were making ice cream for centuries before the USA even existed, so why would Mussolini think it was “too American”? That’s nonsense. I know for a fact that gelato was being produced, advertised, and sold in Italy all during the years of Mussolini’s regime.

    • Sponsored Content on

      We apologize for the confusion. The story was meant to be a fun quick thing to read. We try to be as accurate as possible with these facts. We verified the Mussolini fact from the sixth edition of the book entitled, Ice Cream.

      Here is the reference: Marshall, R. T., Goff, H.D. & Hartel, R. W. (2003). Ice Cream, 6th Ed. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

      We do not know if the researchers in the book may have made a mistake. If you know of an additional reference that disputes the fact, please let us know as we would be interested in the truth.