Ice cream cone

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This article is about the cone itself. For the confection that goes into the cone, see Ice cream. For the breakfast cereal, see Ice Cream Cones (cereal).
Ice cream cone
Strawberry ice cream cone (5076899310).jpg
A wafer style ice cream cone with strawberry ice cream.
Type Pastry
Serving temperature Dry and cold
Main ingredients Flour, sugar
Variations waffle cone, cake or wafer cone, pretzel cone, sugar cone, chocolate-coated cone, double cone, vanilla cone
Food energy
(per serving)
23 kcal (96 kJ)
Cookbook: Ice cream cone  Media: Ice cream cone

An ice cream cone, poke (Northern Ireland and Scotland) or cornet is a dry, cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, which enables ice cream to be held in the hand and eaten without a bowl or spoon. Various types of ice cream cones include wafer (or cake) cones, waffle cones, and sugar cones.

Many styles of cones are made, including pretzel cones and chocolate-coated cones. A variety of double wafer cone exists that allows two scoops of ice cream to be served side by side. Wafer cones are often made with a flat bottom instead of a pointed, conical shape, enabling the ice cream and "cone" to stand upright on a surface without support. These types of wafer cones are often branded as "cups".


Traditionally ice cream cones were conically shaped. The first true edible conical shaped cone for serving ice cream was created at the St. Louis World's Fair by Ernest Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire 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. Paper, glass and metal cones, cups, and dishes were used during the 19th century in France, Germany, and Britain for eating ice cream. While many cooking books, some as early as 1770, mentioned pastry and creams in the same recipes there is no evidence that they are describing the ice cream cone that we know today.

Ice cream was originally an expensive dessert that only the wealthiest could enjoy, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s 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", named due to their cost at the time (1 penny) and the method of ingestion was to simply lick the ice cream from the cup. However, there was a major problem with sanitation and hygiene concerns as the cups were not washed from customer to customer, as well as theft of the cups.

Two enterprising ice cream salesmen independently invented and patented edible containers for ice cream. In 1896 Italo Marchioni (sometimes Americanized as 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 1904 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 through 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 this 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.

The iconic sugar cone, with chocolate ice cream.

Edible cones were mentioned in French cooking books as early as 1825, when Julien Archambault described how one could roll a cone from "little waffles".[1] Another printed reference to an edible cone is in Mrs A. B. Marshall's Cookery Book, written in 1888 by Agnes B. Marshall (1855–1905) of England. Her recipe for "Cornet with Cream" said that "the cornets were made with almonds and baked in the oven, not pressed between irons".[2][3]

In the United States, ice cream cones were popularized in the first decade of the 20th century. On December 13, 1904, a New Yorker named Italo Marchioni received U.S. patent No. 746971 for a mold for making pastry cups to hold ice cream.[4] Marchioni claimed that he has been selling ice cream in edible pastry holders since 1896. However, Marchioni's patent was not for a cone and he lost the lawsuits that he later filed against cone manufacturers for patent infringement.

Abe Doumar and the Doumar family can also claim credit for the ice cream cone. [5]

At the age of 16 Doumar began to sell paperweights and other items. One night, he bought a waffle from another vendor transplanted to Norfolk, Virginia from Ghent in Belgium, Leonidas Kestekidès. Doumar proceeded to roll up the waffle and place a scoop of ice cream on top. He then began selling the cones at the St. Louis Exposition. His "cones" were such a success that he designed a four-iron baking machine and had a foundry make it for him. At the Jamestown Exposition in 1907, he and his brothers sold nearly twenty-three thousand cones. After that, Abe bought a semiautomatic 36-iron machine, which produced 20 cones per minute and opened Doumar's Drive In in Norfolk, Virginia, which still operates at the same location over 100 years later.[6][7]

Commercial cones[edit]

The earliest cones were rolled by hand, from hot and thin wafers, but in 1912, Frederick Bruckman, an inventor from Portland, Oregon, patented a machine for rolling ice cream cones. He sold his company to Nabisco in 1928, which is still producing ice cream cones as of 2012. Independent ice-cream providers such as Ben & Jerry's make their own cones.

The Joy Ice Cream Cone Company, located in Hermitage, PA, was founded in 1918 and began to mass-produce baked ice cream cones to sell to restaurants, as well as the everyday consumer. The company produces over 2 billion ice cream cones (sugar, cake, and waffle cones) a year. It is said that the company is the largest ice cream cone maker in the world as of 2009.[8]

Pre-filled cones[edit]

In 1928, J.T. "Stubby" Parker of Fort Worth, Texas created an ice cream cone that could be stored in a grocer's freezer, with the cone and the ice cream frozen together as one item.[9] He formed The Drumstick Company in 1931 to market the product, and in 1991 the company was purchased by Nestlé.

In 1959, Spica, an Italian ice cream manufacturer based in Naples, invented a process whereby the inside of the waffle cone was insulated from the ice cream by a layer of oil, sugar and chocolate. Spica registered the name Cornetto in 1960. Initial sales were poor, but in 1976 Unilever bought out Spica and began a mass-marketing campaign throughout Europe. Cornetto is now one of the most popular ice creams in the world.

In 1979, a patent for a new packaging design by David Wienstien led to easier transportation of commercial ice cream cones. Wienstien's design enabled the ice cream cone to be wrapped in a wax paper package. This made the cones more sanitary while also preventing the paper wrapper from falling off during transportation, or from becoming stuck to the cone.[10]

Ice cream cones
Sugar cones 
Unwrapped pre-filled cone 
Soft serve ice cream in a wafer style cone 
Sugar cone dipped in rainbow sprinkles 
Waffle cones 
Chocolate soft serve ice cream with sprinkles in a waffle cone from Dairy Queen 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Julien Archambault, Le Cuisinier économe ou Élémens nouveaux de cuisine, de pâtisserie et d'office, Librairie du commerce, Paris, 1825, page 346.
  2. ^ Stradley, Linda. "History of Ice Cream Cone". What's Cooking America. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  3. ^ Weir, Robert. "An 1807 Ice Cream Cone: Discovery and Evidence". Historic Food. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  4. ^ "United States Patent and Trademark Office". Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Marlowe, Jack. "Zalabia and the First Ice-Cream Cone". (Issue July/August 2003). Aramco Services Company. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  6. ^ The Ocean View Nickel Tour - Part VII. Retrieved on 2015-11-20.
  7. ^ History | Doumar's. (2013-06-16). Retrieved on 2015-11-20.
  8. ^ Mans, Jack (1 June 2009). "Labler is a Sweet Solution for Ice Cream Cone Maker". Packaging Digest. 46 (6): 38–41. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Funderburg, Anne Cooper. Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: A History Of American Ice Cream. Popular Press. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The United States Patent and Trademark Office". Retrieved 11 October 2012.