As we draw to a close on Black History Month we’ve been thinking a lot about our role in our community and, as business owners, the folks that forged the path before us. Today we wanted to celebrate the transformative role African-Americans played in the modernization of the form and business of ice cream.
The accomplishments of African-Americans, though rarely recognized, touch every aspect of modern life, from space travel to government to the textile industry, we want to focus on two great thinkers, dreamers, tinkerers and inventors who helped make ice cream what it is today.
Also, they both came from or lived in Pennsylvania. And for us, it’s the cherry on top.
Augustus Jackson – Chef, Inventor and Business Man
In the 1820’s Augustus Jackson left his job as a White House chef to start a successful catering business in Philadelphia. By 1832 he developed a more efficient modern method for making ice cream, using salt to lower the temperature of ice and more efficiently churn ice cream.
For the people who aren’t ice cream freaks like us, THIS IS A HUGE DEAL. With this advancement, Jackson was able to sell his ice cream to individuals and ice cream parlors at $1.00 per quart. In the 1830’s that was a ton of money.
Jackson soon became known as “The Father Of Ice Cream” and enjoyed a monopoly on ice cream in Philadelphia for years. By the end of Jackson’s life he was one of the richest men in Philadelphia.
Alfred Cralle – Inventor
Alfred Cralle haled from Virginia and was born just after the Civil War. By the age of 30 he was granted a U.S. Patent for an “Ice Cream Mold and Disher” or what we like to call an ice cream scoop.
After working with his father in the family wood shop, Cralle became interested in mechanics and went on to continue his education at Wayland Seminary. Eventually settling in Pittsburgh, Cralle worked as a porter at a drugstore and hotel where he noticed the difficulty people were having putting ice cream into cones.
The idea for the ice cream scoop was born. Alfred Cralle created a mechanical tool that easily removed ice cream from its container and released it from the scoop. While Cralle didn’t become famous or profit from his invention, he did create one of the most useful and essential items in the modern ice cream industry.
Thank you Augustus and Alfred.