I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!


Making ice cream at GlanmoreOne of the more popular programs at Glanmore comes when we pull out our reproduction ice cream churn and freezer to make homemade ice cream.  Throughout the summer there are two opportunities for the public to join in ice cream making (and eating) as well as countless times when we make ice cream with day camps, tour groups and seniors residences.
You might be surprised to know how long ice cream has been around. In fact, there is evidence that ice and milk based desserts have been enjoyed for thousands of years.
The Ancient Romans, for example,  were known to eat flavored ice desserts.  The Roman Emperor Hadrian was known to send servants to the mountains to collect snow so he could enjoy fruit ices.
Meanwhile, Emperors in Ancient China enjoyed a royal dessert made from heated and fermented milk, flour, camphor and ice.
Ice cream making was an extremely labour intensive activity so it would only have been enjoyed by those that were wealthy enough to afford the materials and time needed to make it.
In 1843, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia patented an artificial freezer, containing a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher and crank.  This invention made ice cream making much more efficient.   Churns such as this were often used at community gatherings or church events. Participants would each take a turn cranking the churn to share in the work.  They would be rewarded with a cold and sweet treat after about 25 minutes of turning the crank.


Here are a few key dates in the history of ice cream:
  • 1744- the first written account of ice cream in the thirteen American colonies.  Recipes were brought from Europe by early colonists.
  • 1782 – George Washington states that he owns a creaming machine for ice.
  • 1850 – The first commercial ice cream factory is opened in Pennsylvania.
  • 1880s – The ice cream sundae starts appearing with various cities in the United States claiming to have invented it.
  • 1903 – An application is made to patent the ice cream cone.
  • 1930s – Grocery stores begin to sell ice cream.
Ice cream churn
Glanmore uses a reproduction White Mountain Ice Cream Churn and Freezer in our programs and events.
The White Mountain Company has been making ice cream churns since 1853. The freezer consists of a pine bucket, a metal inner-canister with lid and a twin-blade dasher, all connected with a hand crank.  The ice cream ingredients are poured into the canister, the dasher set in place and the lid closed.  This is secured inside the bucket with the crank mechanism.  Ice and course salt are then packed in the pine bucket to surround the canister.
There is a bit of science behind the addition of salt to the ice.  The salt slows the melting rate of the ice and increases the freezing rate.  The result is a temperature drop that can be as low as -21°C. The metal canister then absorbs the cold from the salt water.  The milk mixture inside the canister freezes along the inside edges. Triple motion dasher system When cranked, the inner canister turns clockwise and the interior blades turn both clockwise and counter-clockwise. That triple-motion action continuously folds the ice cream ingredients adding air to make it light and fluffy while simultaneously scraping the frozen bits from the walls of the canister and mixing it back into itself.
The end result is a rich, creamy and cold dessert that is hard to resist!


Ice Cream Fun Facts:
  • July is National Ice Cream Month
  • Canada ranks #7 in the top most ice cream consuming countries.Ice Cream ready to be eaten.
  • The biggest ice cream sundae in history was made in in Edmonton, Alberta in 1988 and weighed over 24 tonnes. 
  • Top flavours for ice cream in Canada are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch, caramel, coffee, mint chocolate chip and maple walnut.
  • One out of every five ice cream eaters share their treat with their dog or cat!


Join us at Glanmore as we make ice cream using the reproduction White Mountain churn and freezer on Wednesday, July 25 and again on Wednesday, August 22 from 2 – 4 pm.  Regular admission charges apply.



Melissa Wakeling has a Bachelor of Arts from Trent University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship from Fleming College. Melissa works as Education and Marketing Coordinator at Glanmore National Historic Site in Belleville, Ontario.