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A Legacy of Tramp Art
by Clifford A. Wallach



This book presents over 600 historical images and introduces newly discovered artists of tramp art. Made from society’s discards, primarily wooden cigar boxes and wooden crates, tramp art is the story of the common man, unschooled in the arts, taking a simple tool to carve a legacy from the heart for all to enjoy and celebrate.
                                   
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QUESTION:  

I remember when I was a kid and my dad would take my sister and I to get ice cream at the local ice cream parlor. My eyes didn’t know which flavor to choose, so I’d end up with plain old vanilla. My dad and sister laughed at me. But what fascinated me was how the

attendant would scoop out the ice cream into perfectly round balls of goodness, then mount them on top of a delicate sugar cone. So when I became an adult, I started collecting ice cream scoops. And even though I have about 35 of them, I honestly don’t know much about them. What can you tell me?


Thanks,
Harold

_________________________________________________________

ANSWER:  

It seems everyone takes the ordinary ice cream scoop for granted. Without it, ice cream cones would not be possible. Godey's Lady's Book stated in 1850 that ice cream had become one of the necessities of life. It said, "A party without ice cream would be like a breakfast without bread or a dinner without a roast."

Ice cream is the most popular dessert in the United States. It’s a frozen food that not only tastes good but is good for you. And while there are many collectibles associated with the ice cream industry, one of the most popular is the ice cream scoop.

But before answering your question about ice cream scoops, let’s take a look back to where ice cream originated. Historians believe ice cream originated in China about 2,000 BCE. It began as a mixture of ice, milk, and rice and soon became a favorite dessert.

Marco Polo introduced ice cream to Italy. From there it spread to the rest of Europe in the 17th century. About 1660 an Italian called Procopio opened the Cafe Procuge, where he sold ices. Fifteen years later there were about 250 ice cream dealers in Paris, France.

There are many legends about the origins of ice cream that are very interesting. Ladies of Rome liked to chew ice. Nero enjoyed snow flavored with honey. And Roman writings mention a frozen cream called “melca.” In the 17th century Charles I of England was having a state banquet. Although the menu consisted of many delicacies, the hit was a new dish—a dessert served cold that was sweet and creamy. It delighted his family and friends, so Charles paid the cook that created this new dinner dessert not to divulge the secret of how he did so. Needless to say, the cook did not keep his promise.



Though ice cream appeared in the American Colonies in the 1600s, the first recorded instance of its appearance in America was in 1744. A gentleman, visiting the governor of Maryland, said, "We had a dessert no less curious among the rarities of which it was composed was some fine ice cream, which with strawberries and milk was most delicious." Ice cream became big business around the start of the 19th century.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friends, so we buy ice cream." Evidently, it put a smile on people’s faces.

In 1846 Nancy Johnson invented an ice cream freezer for home use. Present day ice cream freezers use the same principles. These ice cream freezers enabled people to make and eat ice cream in their own homes.

In 1904 the ice cream cone was introduced at the St. Louis World's Fair. By the 1920s, people realized the nutritional value of ice cream, and the industry took off. Today Americans eat far more ice cream than any other country.

Ice cream scoops
Originally, ice cream scoops came in many different sizes and shapes, such as cone, cylinder, round and square. Though people call this device an ice cream scoop today, it had many other names, including disher, dipper, spoon, ladle and dispenser.

William Clewell of Reading, Pennsylvania patented the first ice cream scoop in 1876. It had a cone shape made of tin and steel and used a key on the top of the cone to release the ice cream. It required both hands to operate it.



Edson C. Baughman developed the first scoop, made by the Kingery Company, for one-hand operation in 1894. All a "soda jerk" had to do was squeeze the split handle to release it.

While working as a drugstore porter in Pittsburgh, African American Alfred L. Cralle noticed that the popular treat of ice cream was sticking to spoons, making it difficult to serve to customers. He decided to design an implement that would keep the ice cream from sticking and be easy to use with one hand. He solved the sticking problem in 1897 with a new type of scoop that had a revolving ring. Originally called an Ice Cream Mold and Disher, it kept ice cream and other foods from sticking. But he didn’t become famous for his invention because it spread widely so quickly that people soon forgot or never knew Cralle as the inventor.

Cralle’s scoop enabled the creation of the ice cream cone during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. From then on, people used his ice cream scoop both commercially and in their homes.

Ice cream scoops are interesting and practical to collect. Reading about their development and the people responsible for it is fascinating and serves as a good history lesson.

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