The first ice cream cone created during the St Louis World Fair on July 23, 1904. There are many versions of the creation of the ice cream cone at the St Louis World Fair, with different people taking credit as its’ creator.
The first version, which is also verified by the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers, credits it to Earnest Hamwi, a pastry maker. During the fair, Hamwi had his stall beside ice cream seller Arnold Fomachou. When Arnold ran out of dishes in which in he was serving ice cream, Hamwi quickly rolled his wafer-like waffles into a cone shape and gave it to him. Arnold began serving his ice cream in these cone shaped waffles. After the fair, it is believed, Hamwi sold his waffle-baking oven to J.P.Heckle and together they developed and opened the Cornucopia Waffle Company. Hamwi marketed the company and travelled far and wide promoting it. Later in 1910, he opened his company, the Missouri Cone Company.
Another claim has been made by two Syrian immigrant brothers, Nick and Albert Kabbaz. They might have been helpers in Hamwi’s booth and actually, the ones who would have come up with the idea of rolling the cakes into cones. Nick Kabbaz later became the president of the St. Louis Ice Cream Cone Company.
Another claimant to this invention is Abe Doumar, another Syrian immigrant. According to him, he was given the task of vending unique items at the St. Louis Fair. One evening, while talking to a waffle concessionaire, he offered to turn a penny waffle into a ten-cent cone if ice cream was added to it. He called this invention ‘ a kind of Syrian ice cream sandwich’. He claims to have shared this idea freely and supposedly this is how it spread to other stalls. Later when the Fair closed, he was gifted one of the waffle irons. He worked out a cone oven and got a foundry to make it. His family joined him from Syria to help him further the cone business.
David Avayou, a Turkish native, who owned several ice cream shops in Atlantic City, New Jersey, claims to have started selling edible ice cream cones at the St. Louis Fair. According to his version he had seen paper and metal cones in France and had applied this idea to create edible cones.
The last claimant to this creation is Charles Menches and his brother Frank. Taking a cue from a lady friend, who just for fun rolled over a baked waffle around some ice cream, in a cone shape, gave them the idea. After the Fair, the brothers started a business by the name of Premium Ice Cream Cone and Candy Company in Ohio.
Apart from all these claims, the first person believed to have produced the ice cream cone is Italo Marchiony, in 1896. He invented it in New York City and was granted a patent in 1903.
So the next time you take a bite of your waffle cone along with your favourite ice cream, the stories behind its creation is sure to make you smile.
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala