Aug 19, 2010
National Soft Ice Cream Day ~ August 18
There are actually two differing stories as to who may lay claim to the invention of soft serve ice cream. The first one goes something like this:
Carvel Ice Cream
In 1929, Tom Carvel borrowed $15.00 from his future wife, Agnes Stewart, and began selling ice cream from the back of his truck. On a hot Memorial Day weekend in 1934, his vending truck got a flat tire on a street in Hardsdale, New York. Carvel began selling the melting ice cream to anyone who'd buy it, and discovered - they liked it!
In 1935 Tom Carvel began manufacturing equipment to sell to the ice cream industry. And in 1936, (the same year he opened his first ice cream store on the very site that he got that flat tire two years earlier) he developed his secret soft serve ice cream formula. Then in 1939 Tom Carvel patented the first soft serve ice cream machine.
The second story (and probably the more widely accepted one) comes out of Illinois. In 1927, J.F. McCullough and his son Alex, opened an ice cream shop in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930's, they moved their operation to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois. The older McCullough, known as "Grandpa", always thought that ice cream tasted best just before it had reached it's final frozen form because he felt that the completely frozen ice cream numbed the taste buds and the softer version was more flavorful. He wondered if the ice cream eating public would feel the same. To find out, they held an "all-you-can-eat ice cream for 10 cents" event, and decided they had a hit when over 1,600 customers came to devour the cold and creamy creation.
Alex McCullough, upon seeing the machine used by a street vendor selling frozen custard, procured a similar machine and had it tweaked to create the perfect soft serve ice cream machine. (Yes, frozen custard was invented before soft serve and no, although similar, frozen custard and soft serve ice cream are not the same thing). The McCullough's, in 1940, teamed up with a man named Sherb Noble, who owned an ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois, and they named it Dairy Queen. Yep, that Dairy Queen! And the rest is cold and creamy, oh so dreamy, even better dipped in chocolate, ice cream history!
Doesn't a soft serve ice cream from Dairy Queen or Carvel's sound good about now? Yum!
Source 1 Source 2 Source 3