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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ever wonder who invented the ice cream scoop?

Vollrath 47140 Jacob's Pride Size 8 Disher

Vollrath 47140 Jacob's Pride Size 8 Disher
U.S. Patent #576395 may not sound all that interesting, but the next time you easily scoop a creamy dish of ice cream from its freezer container into its serving bowl, you will want to thank the man who held that patent. Alfred L. Cralle was born in 1866 and was an African American man who became a very successful business man in Pittsburgh, PA but who is most commonly known for inventing the ice cream scoop or "disher".

The history of the ice cream scoop or disher  is fairly brief because the design that Mr. Cralle patented in 1897 is still in use more than 100 years later. It came about as some of the best designs do, out of a clear need for an improved method of delivery. Mr. Cralle worked in a pharmacy, and this was the era when most pharmacies also had soda shops or counters attached to them. He observed that the soda jerks had a very hard time scooping ice cream from the freezer boxes and into dessert dishes for serving.
In fact, the most common methods - using two spoons or ladles, and usually two hands - were just inefficient and unsanitary. So, Mr. Calle decided that a mechanical device might be a better option. He created the very first official ice cream scoop, and also became the first African American person in the city of Pittsburgh to get a patent from the U.S. government.

One of the interesting things about the history of the ice cream scoop or disher is that it was meant to be a flexible design. Mr. Calle had hoped that it would become a durable tool, but that it would be created in the shape that the maker wanted. For example, it did not have to be formed into a mound because the original design would allow cone shaped bowls to work well too.
The original patent also shows that there were few moving parts and that it was not likely that the ice cream scoop would easily break or require a lot of parts. The history of the ice cream scoop or disher shows that the design is remarkably effective and that many modern cooks will use it to shape dough and other materials into perfect forms. This prevents them from getting their hands dirty and also to enjoy optimal results.
Mr. Calle may never have expected the history of the ice cream scoop or disher to include the making of meatballs or chocolate chip cookies, but his design is so good that it works well on many modern foods!  And because you can find dishers in a wide variety of sizes for whatever food you are preparing, it is one of the handier kitchen measuring tools you can own!