I thought it would be fun to do a series of Blog Posts about the history of Ice Cream Vans, Cornets and the frozen stuff itself, there’s some bizarre facts and events associated with their invention. Since I found Daisy I’ve become more and more obsessed and interested in Ice Cream Vans, I love the old ones, the really old ones. They seem to have always been here but I wondered where, how and why they appeared.
Ice cream vans happened because ice cream melts, so you had to eat it where you bought it and before home freezers appeared ice cream had to come to you.
They are amazing vehicles entirely unique in their time, nomadic, popping up here, there and everywhere.
They had and still have the ability to transform the space around them, turning anywhere and everywhere into instant cafes and spontaneous events. They made a jingley jangley noise to alert the world of their arrival.
And who didn’t hate the moment Willy Weasel stepped off the pavement on a Saturday lunchtime ….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxqiXqghedY
Motorised hard ice cream vans appeared in the early 1900’s, there are recorded stories of the early mobile ice cream vendors trading in the 1850’s with horse drawn and hand drawn carts around the old cobbled streets of the UK selling flavoured ices and ice creams, ringing a large hand-bell as they went.
In 1923 Walls introduced an ice cream trike it proved so popular they ordered another 50 and up to the second world war the ice cream trikes were a familiar site. Although the continuous freeze process was invented in 1926, only the middle classes could afford such a luxury item for many, many years.
The 50s and 60s were the hey day of the ice cream van, when everything from a Bedford (Daisy) to a Ford Anglia and even Mini Clubmen were stretched, cut up and spliced together to create hybrid vehicles that worked as Ice Cream Vans.
The first ice cream van with soft whip ice cream emerged in 1956 on the streets of Philadelphia on St Patrick’s Day. It was two Irish brothers William and James Conway they took their first Mister Softee van out on St Patricks Day and gave all their customers free soft whipped green ice cream. It was the first time the air whipped frozen cream had been made available outside of a shop.
Nowadays there are companies set up purely for converting vehicles into ice cream vans and catering trucks of any kind, there’s lots to take into account with our modern, stringent Environmental Health Laws but anything is possible.
Personally I’ll always love the personality and uniquity of the classic vehicles, and I love that Daisy The Vintage Ice Cream Van really is associated with some amazing pieces of history.