Click for the TGIF home page.
Your host Phil Ament Click to visit One Small Step Feature

Fascinating facts about the invention of the
ice cream cone
by Ernest A. Hamwi in 1904.

In its purest form an ice cream cone should be of conical shape. The first true edible conical shaped cone for serving ice cream was created at the St. Louis Worlds Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904. His waffle booth was next to an ice cream vendor who ran short of dishes. Hamwi rolled a waffle to contain ice cream and the cone was born.
Invention: ice cream cone in 1904
Definition: noun / edible cone shaped container for ice cream
Function: An ice cream cone is a cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, in which ice cream is served, permitting it to be eaten without a bowl or spoon.
Patent: 1,342,045 issued June 1, 1920
Inventor: Ernest A. Hamwi  
Criteria: First to invent. First conical shaped. Entrepreneur.
Nationality: American of Syrian descent
1770 researchers have found cook books that mention pastry and creams in the same recipes
1807 a painting shows a women eating from what appears to be a cone
1888 Mrs. Marshall's Cookery Book contains the first mention of cones used to serve ice cream
1896 Italo Marchiony begins selling ice cream in a container from his pushcart in New York City
1901 Antonio Valvona (A.Valvona & Co. Ltd) was an ice cream manufacturer in England
1902 Antonio Valvona invents and patents a machine for creating ice cream biscuit cups
1903 Italo Marchiony, New York, NY granted patent for ice cream mold making machine
1904 St. Louis, Missouri hosts the World's Fair, Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Olympics
1904 more than 50 ice cream vendors and more than a dozen waffle stands were working the events
1909 the "World's Fair Cornucopia" are renamed "ice cream cones".
1909 Leonard L. Westling, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania invents and patents Edible-Cone Shaper
1911 John P. Groset, Bothell, Washington invents and patents Ice Cream Cone Cooking Apparatus
1913 Frederick Bruckman, from Portland, Oregon, patented a machine for making rolled cones.
1913 John P. Groset, Bothell, Washington improves and patents Ice Cream Cone Cooking Machine
Albert George, along with other family members started the George & Thomas Cone Company
1924 patent for an ice cream Cone Rolling Machine issued to Carl R. Taylor of Cleveland, Ohio
1924 the cone obviously gained popularity, Americans were consuming 245 million cones per year.
cone, ice cream cone, ice-cream cone, ernest hamwi, Antonio Valvona,
Italo Marchiony, Albert George, Leonard L. Westling, invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
The Story:
For over a century, Americans have been enjoying ice cream in an edible cone. Whether it's a waffle cone, a sugar cone, a wafer cone or a cake cup doesn't matter. Just add a double scoop of your favorite ice cream and lick to your hearts content.

Paper, glass and metal cones, cups, and dishes were used during the 19th century in France, Germany, and Britain for eating ice cream. Many cooking books, some as early as 1770, according to researchers mention pastry and creams in the same recipes. But there is no evidence that they are describing the ice cream cone that we know today. Ice cream was an expensive desert that only the wealthiest could enjoy. They certainly would not be eating anything with their hands. The same holds true for the 1807 painting that shows a women eating from what appears to be a cone.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's as ice cream became less expensive and more popular, they began to be sold by street vendors. Most ice cream from vendors was sold in serving glasses called "penny licks" (because you'd lick the ice cream from the glass, and it cost a penny to do so). There was a major problem with sanitation (or the lack thereof), and another problem was that many people would accidentally break the glasses, or not so accidentally walk off with them.

Two enterprising ice cream salesmen independently invented and patented edible containers for ice cream. In 1896 Italo Marchiony was a successful  ice cream salesman with over 40 push-cart vendors selling his edible containers filled with ice cream on the streets of New York City. He obtained a patent for a machine to make the containers in 1903. At about the same time an ice cream merchant in Manchester, England named Antonio Valvona obtained a U.S. Patent (1902) for a machine for producing edible biscuit cups. Examination of the patent drawings show that both inventions were for edible ice cream cups with flat bottoms and tapered sides. (see Patent list below)

In 1904 St. Louis, Missouri was the place to be. That year three major events plus the invention of the ice cream cone took place. They hosted the 1904 World's Fair, the centennial of the Louisiana land purchase from the French (one year late) with a Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the 2004 Olympics.

According to most accounts there were more than 50 ice cream vendors and more than a dozen waffle stands selling their wares at these events. With all these events running concurrently and the number of vendors involved selling ice cream and waffles, finding the real inventor of the ice cream cone had to end in controversy. (see St. Louis Events  1904 below)

Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamwi rolled up some of his “zalabia” (a waffle-like pastry) from his pastry cart into cones and gave them to Arnold Fornachou, who had run out of paper dishes to serve his ice cream. Word spread quickly though the Fair and many other vendors began selling ice cream in waffle cones. These edible ice cream cones became so popular that everyone wanted to take credit for there invention and many did.

After the fair, Hamwi joined with J. P. Heckle and helped him develop and open the Cornucopia Waffle Company. Ernest traveled throughout the United State introducing the World's Fair Cornucopia as a new way of eating ice cream. In 1910, Hamwi opened the Missouri Cone Company and called his container, the ice cream cone, to avoid a conflict with Cornucopia.

In 1920 Ernest Hamwi was issued a patent for a pastry cone making machine. His Missouri Cone Company later became the Western Cone Company as the market for ice cream popularity spread and the company grew.

In its purest form an ice cream cone should be of conical shape. The first true edible conical shaped cone for serving ice cream was created at the St. Louis Worlds Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904. The cone obviously gained popularity across the United States because by 1924 Americans were consuming upwards of 245 million cones per year.

Today, the largest ice cream cone company in the world is the Joy Cone Company of Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The company is baking over 1.5 billion cones per year to satisfy the world's demand. Albert George, along with other family members, bought some second-hand cone-baking machines and started the George & Thomas Cone Company in 1918. Today, that company now called Joy Cone Company after its signature cone. is still owned/operated by the George family, together with their employees.

St. Louis Events of 1904
The city of St. Louis, Missouri hosted the World's Fair of 1904, the 100th anniversary (one year late) of the Louisiana Purchase with an Exposition and the 1904 summer Olympics. According to most accounts there were more than 50 ice cream vendors and more than a dozen waffle stands selling their wares at these events. With all these events running concurrently and the number of vendors involved selling ice cream and waffles, finding the real inventor of the ice cream cone had to end in controversy. Listed below are the names of the people who have at some point since 1904 claimed to have invented the "cone".

  • Ernest Hamwi waffle* vendor creates cone to help ice cream vendor Arnold Fornachou
  • Ernest Hamwi waffle* vendor creates cone to help ice cream vendor Charles Manches
  • Charles Manches ice cream vendor uses Ernest Hamwi waffle* as a container
  • Nick Kabbaz, claimed to have worked for Hamwi and said that the invention was his idea
  • Abe Doumar waffle* vendor claims he invented the cone
  • David Avayou ice cream vendor claimed that he started selling edible cones
  • Frank and Charles Menches baked waffles, in Parisian waffle irons, and topped  with ice cream.

*Zalabia (a flat, crisp, wafer-like pastry sold with syrup) popular in Syria, Lebanon and parts of Iraq and Turkey..

Patented Ice Cream Cup/Cone Machines
From the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database.

  • 701,776 (US) issued June 3, 1902 (filed July 12, 1901) for Apparatus For Baking Biscuit Cups For Ice Cream to Antonio Valvona
  • 746,971 issued December 15, 1903 (filed September 22, 1903) for Mold to Italo Marchiony
  • 913,587 issued February 23, 1909 (filed May 19, 1908) for Edible-Cone Shaper to Leonard L. Westling
  • 1,010,619 issued December 5, 1911 (filed November 1, 1910) for Ice Cream Cone Cooking Apparatus to John P. Groset
  • 1,075,625 issued October 14, 1913. (filed May 11, 1910 and updated July 20, 1912) for Ice Cream Cone Machine to Frederick A. Bruckman
  • 1,079,697 issued November 25, 1913 (filed February 26, 1912) for Ice Cream Cone Cooking Machine to John P. Groset
  • 1.119,548 issued December 1, 1914 (filed March 11, 1912) for Pastry Baking Machine
  • 1,293,819 issued February 11, 1919 (filed February 19, 1917) for Pastry Making Device to Lewis Lewison
  • 1,342,045 issued June 1, 1920 (filed November 5, 1918) for Apparatus for Making Pastry Forms to Ernest A. Hamwi
  • 1,417,757 issued May 30, 1922 (filed December 31, 1919) for Apparatus for Manufacturing Cup Pastry to Walter McLaren
  • 1,481,813 issued January 29, 1924 (filed February 16, 1921) for Cone Rolling Machine to Carl R. Taylor



History of Snacks and Food    from The Great Idea Finder

The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages
(1999) / Puffin
Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.
Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition (September 1989) / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items, expressions and customs

Mistakes That Worked
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Paperback - 48 pages (1994) / Doubleday
Recounting the fascinating stories behind the accidental inventions of forty familiar objects and products.
Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden / Paperback - 260 pages / John Wiley & Sons; (September 1997)
Filled with wacky and fascinating facts, awe-inspiring success statistics, and rags-to-riches stories, Chronicles the odd origins behind 50 famous inventions and reveals the business side of each product's actual production, marketing, and distribution.
Frozen Desserts:
The definitive guide to making ice creams, ices, sorbets, gelati, and other frozen delights
by Caroline Liddell, Robin Weir / Paperback: 192 pages / St. Martin's Griffin (July 15, 1996)
Combine one part nostalgia, a dash of history, a level teaspoon of advice on equipment, ingredients, terms, and techniques, plus a generous helping of more than 200 recipes, and you have the makings of this loving, dazzling tribute to frozen desserts.Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir have spent eight years in passionate pursuit of everything ice cream.
Ice Cream: Including Great Moments in Ice Cream History
by Jules Older, Lyn Severance / Hardcover: 31 pages / Charlesbridge Publishing (February 1, 2002)
This book answers just about every question kids have about their favorite dessert, and it does so with as much concern for accuracy as for lively, engaging presentation.

Ice Cream Cones for Sale
by Elaine Greenstein  / Hardcover: 32 pages / Arthur A. Levine Books; 1st edition (June 1, 2003)
In this picture book, Elaine Greenstein shows young readers that history is made by ordinary dreamers -- and it can be just as cool and delicious as a fresh cold ice cream cone

I'll Have What They're Having: Legendary Local Cuisine
by Linda Stradley / Paperback: 256 pages /Falcon; 1.00 edition (August 1, 2002)
Part cookbook, part history lesson, this engaging collection celebrates the flavors and traditions that showcase the best of American cuisine.

Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: A History of American Ice Cream
by Anne Cooper Funderburg / Paperback: 225 pages / Popular Press (April 1, 1996)
From hand cranked machines to Baked Alaska, Dairy Queen to Ben and Jerry's, the history of ice cream also becomes a history of American culture and tastes. Inventions of brand names and specialties are also covered in this excellent history.
Beyond the Ice Cream Cone: The Whole Scoop on Food at the 1904 World's Fair
by Pamela J. Vaccaro / Paperback: 174 pages / Enid Pr (April, 2004)
It dispells the myths about the ice cream cone, hot dog, and iced tea and informs the reader about the many ways food impacted the Fair and the development of food products and companies at that time.

 Ice Cream
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 76303 / Less than $25.00
Few treats are as popular or American; immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were once served ice cream as part of their first meal. And it was immigrants which helped popularize this oh-so-American treat--Italian pushcart vendors in New York introduced "Penny Licks" at the turn of the century, and we've been screaming for ice cream ever since.

The Ice Cream Famlies of Ancoats Little Italy

Particular mention must go to Antonio Valvona, whose company created the 'Twist' ice cream cone. The Valvona Company's edible cone was one of the first patented in the U.S..
History of the Ice Cream Cone
There is much controversary over who invented the first ice cream cone. A different point of view on 10 people who invented the ice cream cone. Article by Linda Stradley.
Ice Cream Cone
The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. This according to the International Dairy Foods Association.
World's Fair Cornucopia
Paul Dickson in his "The Great American Ice Cream Book" states that the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers (IAICM) has given Ernest A. Hamwi the credit for inventing the cone.
Zalabia and the First Ice-Cream Cone
No matter how you roll the zalabia, the tales are now part of American folklore, illuminated less by history than by the creative brilliance that joined two ideas from two parts of the world and made from them a national culinary icon. Article by Jack Marlowe.

Woodside Farm Creamery
After the fair, Hamwi joined with J. P. Heckle and helped him develop and open the Cornucopia Waffle Company. Ernest traveled for Cornucopia introducing the new way of eating ice cream. In 1910, Hamwi opened the Missouri Cone Company which later became the Western Cone Company,.In 1918 Hamwi applied for a patent for an
Partners Emerged
Ernest Hamwi made “edible bowls”, Arnold Fornachou scooped ice cream. Back then, they were called “World’s Fair Cornucopias,” and they were the hit of the fair. Today, we simply call them ice cream cones — and they’re still a hit.

Ernest A Hamwi
A Syrian from Damascus, Ernest A Hamwi is credited with its invention. Apparently, during the 1904 St Louis World's Fair, his waffle booth was next to an ice cream vendor who ran short of dishes. Hamwi rolled a waffle to contain ice cream and the cone was born.

An 1807 Ice Cream Cone: Discovery and Evidence
The many claimants, so far, have been unable to produce any factual evidence to back up their claims. All the evidence we have heard or read so far is purely anecdotal. Article by Robert Weir.
Who REALLY Invented The Ice Cream Cone?
Lots of people claim to have invented the ice cream cone. Some even applied for patents.
An Ice Cream History Mystery
Who Invented the Ice Cream Cone? Ice Screamers Newsletter article.
Great Ice Cream Cone Controversy
There were around fifty ice cream stands at that Fair in St. Louis and a large number of waffle shops. Doubtless, the 1904 Fair was the place where the cone became popular.
Enduring Popularity
Italo Marchiony (1868-1954), his company thrived at 219 Grand Street in Hoboken, NJ turning out ice cream cones and wafers until his plant was destroyed by fire in 1934. He retired from his business in 1938 and died in 1954 at the age of 86.
Celerating the Louisiana Purchase
The 1904 World's Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition) marked the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, a monumental event in U.S. history. Fair organizers set out to celebrate that event and create their own monumental event.
The 1904 St. Louis Olympics
The Olympics organizers repeated all of the mistakes of 1900. The Olympic competitions, spread out over four and a half months, were lost in the chaos of a World’s Fair.
1904 St. Louis World's Fair
Presented by the Missouri Historical Society. They have chosen to ignore the controversity surronding the invention of the ice cream cone

Good Humor - Breyers

As the world's largest ice cream company, Good Humor - Breyers is rich in history, quality, and innovative products. The Good Humor - Breyers family features some of America's most legendary brand names: Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, and Popsicle.
Cup Or Cone? The Results Are In
In celebration of National Ice Cream Day on July 17th, 2004 a new survey commissioned by Dairy Queen reveals that regardless of how it is served, many Americans sure love ice cream.

“The ice cream cone is the only ecologically sound package known. It is the perfect package.” - American government official in 1969

From Cow to Cone
A cyber-guide to the core components of ice cream creation, brought to you by the Hospitality Hosts of the Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour in Waterbury, Vermont. Text Version.


  • Annual sales of ice cream in the United States exceeds $3 billion.
  • The U.S. produces more ice cream than any other country; about 13 quarts a year per capita.
  • It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone.
  • It takes 12 lbs. of milk to make just one gallon of ice cream.
  • All commercial ice cream contains air. Without whipping in the air, ice cream would be a solid block of frozen cream, unable to scoop.
  • Harry Burt invented the chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar on a stick in Youngstown, Ohio in 1920--and Good Humor was born.
  • William A. Breyer began hand-cranking pure, all natural Breyers ice cream in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1866.
  • Samuel Isaly, a descendent of a well-known Swiss dairy farm family, began producing what would eventually become America's #1 selling ice cream novelty--the Klondike Bar--in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1929.
  • Brothers Frank and Charles Menches who, in 1885, were credited with inventing the hamburger in Hamburg, N.Y. also claim credit for Cracker Jack invention in 1893 and finally the ice cream cone in 1904. PR at work GO WONDER!
  • Cone production in 1924 reached 245 million.
  • Today millions of rolled cones are turned out on machines that are capable of producing about 150,000 cones every 24 hours.
  • In terms of supermarket sales, America's top five favorite individual flavors are vanilla, chocolate, nut/caramel flavors, neapolitan and strawberry
  • Total U.S. production of ice cream and related frozen desserts in 2004 amounted to about 1.6 billion gallons, translating to about 21.5 quarts per person.
  • About two-thirds (65 percent) prefer ice cream in a cup.
  • More than one in four (28 percent) prefer ice cream in a cone.
  • Seven percent were non-committal about cone or cup preference.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised August, 2005.

 Tim Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing before.
Learn more


The invention of the Internet, should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
Learn more

  The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend getaway.
Learn more...  
This book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the technologically advanced reader alike.
Learn more
Click to visit FIRST
Click to visit Technology Catagories
Disclaimer   Author    inventors   inventions   timeline  category  games    a-navbarend.gif (873 bytes)
home  | idea history  |  idea showcase  |  special features  | resource center  | guest services  history articles  |  search   a-navbarend.gif (873 bytes)
Copyright © 1997 - 2007  The Great Idea Finder  All rights reserved.