In the United States, edible vessels for ice cream took off at the start of the 1900s. Molds for edible ice cream cups entered the scene in 1902 and 1903, with two Italian inventors and ice cream merchants. Antonio Valvona, from Manchester, patented a novel apparatus resembling a cup-shaped waffle iron, made “for baking biscuit-cups for ice-cream” over a gas range. The following year, Italo Marchiony, from New York City, patented an improved design with a break-apart bottom so that more unusual cup shapes could be created out of the delicate waffle batter.
At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, a Syrian/Lebanese concessionaire named Arnold Fornachou was running an ice cream booth. When he ran short on paper cups, he noticed he was next to a waffle vendor by the name of Ernest Hamwi, who sold Fornachou some of his waffles. Fornachou rolled the waffles into cones to hold the ice cream. This is believed by some (although there is much dispute) to be the moment where ice-cream cones became mainstream.
Abe Doumar and the Doumar family of Norfolk, Virginia also claim credit for the ice cream cone. At 16, Doumar began selling paperweights and other items. One night, he bought a waffle from another vendor, Leonidas Kestekidès, who was transplanted from Ghent in Belgium to Norfolk, Virginia. Doumar rolled the waffle on itself and placed a scoop of ice cream on top. He began selling the cones at the St. Louis Exposition. After his “cones” were successful, Doumar designed and had manufactured a four-iron baking machine. 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 Cone’s and BBQ in Norfolk, Virginia, which still operates at the same location.
In 2008, the ice cream cone became the official state dessert of Missouri.
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