Today, ice cream machines are relatively easy to use and produce a perfect frozen treat. However, ice cream machines have greatly evolved over the years. The machines were once quite a rarity for families to own and operate. In the 1800’s, ice cream was still a delicacy. This was due to the expensive products used to make ice cream like sugar and cream. Also, refrigeration was not readily available for just anyone.
When refrigeration became common and sugar prices dropped, the ice cream machine became popular. There are several different forms and methods that went into early ice cream making, many of them sharing similarities.
Hand-cranked ice cream freezer
Nancy M. Johnson from New York applied to get a patent for her hand-cranked freezer in 1843. The machine had a moveable crank with a center paddle that churned the mixture. This method required a lot of patience and muscle to use. However, there are benefits to hand-cranked ice cream machines. You don’t have to pre-freeze and you will get a bucket filled with ice cream when finished. Yet, it is hard work, and requires a lot of ice and rock salt.
Nancy’s machine sold quickly. Within a short amount of time, there were 70 improvements to the ice cream freezer that made the invention more efficient. Today, you can still purchase machines closely related to this invention. The hand-cranked method of churching ice cream remains a staple of ice cream making.
Further development of ice cream machines
Ice-cream machines slowly became smaller around the 1880s and many people had them in their home. They typically consisted of a metal inner pail with a paddle attached to a crank handle. This sat inside a wooden bucket which contained a freezing mixture, ice, and salt. The cream was then poured into the inner bucket where it was churned until it froze.
In 1926, the continuous-process freezer was invented, allowing mass commercial production of ice cream. This gave birth to the modern ice cream industry. Today, there are a wealth of different machines with a wide range of prices. It is now even affordable to own an ice cream machine, although it is easier to buy fresh ice cream from a shop. You can choose to purchase a machine closer to the older models or you can buy an electric machine to do the churning for you. Either way, homemade ice cream is always a special treat.
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