Ice Cream Makers

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

ice cream makers in the form of hand-cranked freezers were patented in the 1840s by a Philadelphia woman and a London confectioner. Their inventions revolutionized ice cream by creating a smooth, creamy texture that previous freezing methods did not produce. Other inventors improved upon their designs to create better ice cream makers for both household and commercial use.

In the ancient world, people used snow and ice to cool foods, but these natural refrigerants were in short supply during hot weather. Early scientists searched for a more reliable coolant, and someone discovered that putting saltpeter (potassium nitrate) in water produced a very cold liquid. By the mid-sixteenth century, Italians knew about this phenomenon and used it to make frozen concoctions called ices. See italian ice. The French also learned the secret, and recipes for ices were published in Europe before 1700.