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Who invented ice cream? - 5000 years of history at a glance

The history of ice cream takes us far back in time. More precisely to the Chinese antiquity about 5000 years ago.

There, natural ice or snow was added to drinks to cool off in the Asian summer heat. Back then, it was still a long way from an ice cream machine with a compressor for domestic use.

Ice cream as we know it grew in popularity in the 17th century. However, it is difficult to determine a single ice cream inventor.

Rather, over 5000 years ice cream developed into what we love and appreciate so much today. Let's embark on an exciting journey through time through the history of cool desserts.

Article by: Lukas
last updated on: April 30, 2019

Who invented ice cream - beginnings in antiquity

5000 years ago, the Chinese probably first used snow and ice to cool their drinks. To do this, they set up special ice stores far below the earth. In these cool camps there was then ice or natural snow. So the origins of our ice cream are very likely in ancient China.

King Solomon also rejoiced 930 BC Chr. to something that is much closer to today's ice cream. He enjoyed a mixture of snow water with honey and fruits.

600 years later, Alexander the Great was also served ice cream. For him, snow was mixed with wine, milk and honey or fruit juice.

Ice-cream-like mixtures also gained popularity in ancient Europe. There, ice cream was mixed with crushed fruit and honey.

Curious: The most famous doctor of the ancient world, Hippocrates, even used the ice cream mixture as a remedy. He used it to treat all kinds of diseases. Ice should relieve pain, inflammation, swelling, or abdominal pain.

Who invented ice cream - The Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe did not look very comfortable for a long time. The “dark age” was characterized by intrigues, diseases and an overpowering church.

That it until the 13th century lasted before Europe's upper class regained access to ice cream, so it is not surprising. Marco Polo came back from an expedition from Asia and brought an ice cream recipe with him. He described the production of a cold mixture from snow and saltpetre.

It looked very different on other continents. Possibly the Chinese invented 600 AD a predecessor of milk ice cream. To do this, they froze dairy products for the first time. In addition to China, ice cream was particularly widespread in the Arab region.

Who invented the ice cream - upheaval in the Renaissance

The renaissance led to a major change in society. Humanity continued to develop.

1597 For example, a German cookbook was published with the name “A delicious new cookbook of all kinds of dishes”. In this Anna Wecker mentions a recipe for making ice-cold milk cream.

According to legend, Caterina de Medici was looking for "the strangest dish ever prepared" in a competition. The poultry trader and hobby chef Ruggeri won with his "Sorbetto„.

Caterina was so convinced of the dessert that she took Ruggeri to France with her. There he was commissioned to make the dessert during the wedding of Caterina and Heinrich, the Duke of Orleans.

Who invented ice cream - ice cream for everyone

In the golden age, it was Louis XIV who 1673 came up with the idea of ​​the ice cream tax. This made ice cream accessible to the common people for the first time.

Then everything happened incredibly quickly during the Age of Enlightenment. Around 1700 ice cream became known in coffee houses around Europe. In 1799, what was probably the first ice cream parlor in Germany, more precisely in Hamburg, opened its doors.

So ice cream spread tirelessly. Until 1843, it was still a complex and tedious job.

Who invented the ice cream - 1843

Who invented ice cream? Nancy Johnson wasn't. To do this, she invented the first patented ice cream machine. This ice machine, operated by a hand crank, revolutionizes ice cream. 1851 opened the first ice cream factory in Pennsylvania, USA.

To 1876 However, one had to rely on ice sticks from the winter and table salt for the cold mixtures.

Then came the German engineer Carl von Linde. This inventor not only paved the way for the home refrigerator. With his refrigeration machine, he made technical cooling possible.

Until the 1930s Ice cream production continued to develop over the years. 1899 August Gaulin, for example, invented the process for homogenizing dairy products. This has significantly increased the quality and shelf life of ice cream.

Who invented ice cream - industrialization and new types of ice cream

Industrialization was no exception for our beloved ice cream. The first ice cream factories opened in Germany in the 1930s.

Between 1900 and 1930, the ice was not only industrialized. More and more types of ice cream never seen before came onto the market. For example, soft ice cream, which is popular especially in America, was created around 1930. The matching ice cream cones were probably created around 1900. After all, the first machine dates back to 1902 and was invented in Manchester.

Frank Epperson supposedly invented the popsicle 1905, aged 11 years. He says that at that time he stirred lemonade with a wooden stick.

This ice cream van is not quite as old as popsicles - it is still old.

He forgot the lemonade at the open window overnight. The next morning he found the first popsicle there. The patent for this is from the year 1923.

Who Invented Ice Cream - The 2000s

And already we are back in the present age. In the past few decades, the ice cream industry has made further leaps forward.

There are now professional ice machines for home use. Industrial ice cream is cheaper than ever. But: The quality of industrial ice is declining more and more.

The trend is moving more and more towards quality ice cream. This can be seen in “luxury” ice cream flavors such as Ben & Jerry’s. The number of ice machines used for home use is also increasing.

The situation is similar with the invention of unusual types of ice cream. Chewing gum ice cream, ice cream rolls or hearty smoked ham ice cream. Nowadays almost any type of ice cream can be made.

Who invented ice cream - our conclusion


German champion in ice cream food

So who invented ice cream? We cannot and do not want to commit ourselves to a specific person. Between 1600 and 1880 the ice cream industry was revolutionized in historical seconds. Ruggeri could just as easily be considered the inventor of ice cream as the ancient Chinese did 5000 years ago. Who do you think is the inventor of ice cream? Let us know what you think about this in the comments below.