Alfred L. Cralle died over 100 years ago, but his invention continues to provide an essential part of your summer experience. Alfred L. Cralle The African Man who invented the Ice cream Scoop
July 15 is National Ice Cream Day, and while you’re feverishly shoveling spoonfuls of your favorite flavor into your mouth, it’s Cralle you can thank for those picture perfect scoops.
While working as a porter in Markell Brothers drugstore and St. Charles Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa, Cralle noticed that ice cream stuck to the spoons and ladles the servers used, and they usually had to use two hands to separate them.
Cralle responded to this ice cream crisis by creating the ice cream scoop — originally called the Ice Cream Mold and Disher. It was designed to be strong, inexpensive and easy to operate with one hand. It had no moving parts that could break or malfunction.
On February 2, 1897, thirty-year-old Cralle applied for and received the patent #576,395. He was the first African-American in Pittsburgh to receive a patent.
Alfred L. Cralle Biography
Alfred L. Cralle (September 4, 1866 – May 6, 1919) was an African-American businessman and inventor of the “Ice Cream Mold and Disher”.
Cralle was born in Florida Wesley Chapel in 1866 just after the end of the American Civil War (1861–1865). He attended local schools and worked with his father in the carpentry trade as a young man, becoming interested in mechanics. He was sent to Washington, D.C. where he attended Wayland Seminary, one of a number of schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to help educate African-Americans after the Civil War.
Ice Cream Mold and Disher
He then settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he first served as a porter in a drug store and at a hotel. Alfred noticed that servers at the hotel had trouble with ice cream sticking to serving spoons, and he developed an ice cream scoop.
On June 10, 1896, Alfred applied for a patent on his invention. He was awarded patent 576,395 on 2 February 1897. The patented “Ice Cream Mold and Disher,” was an ice cream scoop with a built-in scraper to allow for one-handed operation. Alfred’s functional design is reflected in modern ice cream scoops.
He later become a general manager for the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise and Business association.
Cralle died from tuberculosis on May 6, 1919, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
What is Ice cream?
Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from dairy milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit such as strawberries or peaches. It can also be made by whisking a flavored cream base and liquid nitrogen together. Colorings are sometimes added, in addition to stabilizers. The mixture is cooled below the freezing point of water and stirred to incorporate air spaces and to prevent detectable ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth, semi-solid foam that is solid at very low temperatures (below 2 °C or 35 °F). It becomes more malleable as its temperature increases.
The meaning of the name “ice cream” varies from one country to another.
- proper Ice Cream: Cream from milk is collected, flavored and frozen.
- Frozen yogurt: milk fermented with Lactobacillus, then flavored and frozen. Can also refer to Frozen kefir.
- Frozen custard: made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar.
- Ice milk, Gelato: Milk flavored and frozen
- Sorbet/Slushy, Ice pop/Popsicle/Icicle: water flavored and frozen. Example: Frozen cola, Frozen lemonade, Frozen tea, etc.
In some countries, such as the United States, “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients, notably the amount of cream. Products that do not meet the criteria to be called ice cream are sometimes labelled “frozen dairy dessert” instead. In other countries, such as Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all variants. Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes (e.g., soy, cashew, coconut, almond milk or tofu), are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan.
Ice cream may be served in dishes, for eating with a spoon, or licked from edible cones. Ice cream may be served with other desserts, such as apple pie, or as an ingredient in ice cream floats, sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream cakes and even baked items, such as Baked Alaska.
- Jump up to:a b c d “Afro-American Notes”. The Pittsburgh Press. February 14, 1897. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- “The Gifts of African American Innovation”. Desmond Tutu Foundation USA. February 12, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- “| The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed”. www.blackpast.org. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
- “United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) : nombre de brevets délivrés à certains quelques opérateurs de télécommunications”. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
- “History of Ices & Ice Cream”. What’s Cooking America. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- “A. L. Cralle Ice Cream Mold and Disher Patent Number 576395”. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- Stradley, Linda (2015-05-14). “Ice Cream History, Whats Cooking America”. What’s Cooking America. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
- “Death certificate #52299, Alfred L. Cralle”. Pennsylvania Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. via Ancestry.com.
- https://www.facebook.com/nyongesande, “Black African Inventions That Changed the World yet No One Talks about Them – Nyongesa Sande” (Nyongesa SandeSeptember 21, 2020) <https://www.nyongesasande.com/black-african-inventions-that-changed-the-world-yet-no-one-talks-about-them/> accessed October 16, 2021.
- Wikipedia Contributors, “Alfred L. Cralle” (WikipediaSeptember 21, 2021) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_L._Cralle> accessed October 16, 2021.
Was this article helpful?