Get the ice cream maker out! It’s summer, and there’s nothing so fine as freshly made rock salt ice cream. Just make sure you gather every kid in the neighborhood to take a turn cranking the dang thing.
In 1843 Nancy Johnson developed the first hand-crank ice cream maker (her basic design of the freezer is still used today), and received Patent No. 3254 for it. Much of the confusion (and lack of credit) to Ms. Johnson comes from the fact that she sold her rights to William Young for just $200 (still a pretty good sum in those days.) He at least had the courtesy to call the machine the “Johnson Patent Ice-Cream Freezer.”
Johnson’s invention simplified the process of making ice cream, marking a revolution in the history of the dessert. From this time on, anyone could make the very best quality ice cream at home (especially since rock salt, which came to be commonly called “ice cream salt” until the early 20th century, had became a cheap commodity).
The inner can was placed in the outer bucket, and ice and salt were placed between the inner can and outer bucket. The salt lowered the freezing point of the ice, and contact with the inner bucket made a thin layer of milk freeze on the inside of the inner can. The rotating paddle, turned by a crank, scraped off the frozen milk, and let a new layer freeze.
Meantime, by 1919 the ice cream industry was churning out (NOT by hand!) 150 million gallons a year, so if you really didn’t want to wait the time it took to hand-crank your own, you could probably scoot down to the general store for a cup or a cone.
However you take your ice cream, can Ice Cream Socials be far away?