What Ernest Hamwi, Abe Doumar, Albert “Nick” Kabbaz, Arnold Fornachou and David Avayou had in common was that they made and sold confectionery at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1904, also known as the St. Louis Worlds Fair. It was during this time of the fair that an edible cornucopia of cones made from rolled waffles gained popularity in the United States. The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis celebrated the centenary of the Louisiana purchase a year earlier.
Once the cone cooled down for a few seconds, the sellers could put ice on it, and the cone was invented, and it became part of a great American institution. One of the earliest ice cream parlours had a major innovation in the use of dry ice to transport ice cream and they were the first to patent a covered curling stick in 1939. Ice cream cones are said to have been made at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904.
Italo Marchiony (1868-1954) is believed to have made the first ice cream cone in New York City in 1896. In 1904, the ice cream cones were introduced by chance at the World’s Fair of St. Louis, when Ernest Hamwi, an immigrant concessionary who sold Zalabias, a crispy waffle-like pastry from his native Syria, was the next ice-cream seller. Due to the popularity of ice cream, the vendors ran out of plates, and Hamwi saw the opportunity to roll one of his Zalabia-shaped cones and give it to a vendor.
Businesses and locals took advantage of the invention and created special baking devices to make cones to feed the masses. According to Hamwi’s account, the Cornucopia Waffle Company 5000 free ice cream cones at the fair served and introduced the product to the public. After the World’s Fair, skittles were sold in catalogues for $850 apiece.
Italian-American ice cream salesman Italo Marchiony used a molder to shape edible sundaes by rolling warm waffles into cone-shaped containers of his ice cream. Marchioni’s claim to have invented the edible ice cream cone is somewhat controversial, since the claim in his patent followed Antonio Valvona. The cone began to gain popularity in 1904 when a fortune event at the St. Louis World’s Fair led to widespread love of the cone.
Our local connection to the invention of the ice cone is Charles Menge from Akron and his brother Frank from St. Louis, Mo., who ran Ice Concessions at fairs and events in the Midwest. The most popular story about the invention of the cone locates the cone at the 1904 World’s Fair, but whether it was invented at the fair or the real story behind the use of rolled wafers to serve ice cream is an opaque story. Others claim that the world’s royal family was first behind the ice but there is little doubt that the cone started at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, when Albert Doumar (a relative of Abe Doumar) had the brilliant idea of rolling waffles into a ball and supplying them with ice.
One of the most popular legends tells the tale of an ice cream salesman named Arnold Fomachou whose products were so popular he ran out of bowls to serve his treats. In 1906, Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, served ice cream cones at the Cornucopia Worlds Fair, where he was called the “modern lumberjack of America” because the Sullivan family rolled out the Frisco Logs.
A Syrian-Lebanese concessionary called Arnold Fornachou ran out of paper cups when he noticed that his nearest waffle seller Ernest Hamwi was selling his waffles. Another plaintiff, Italo Marchiony, obtained a patent in 1903 for a device for making an edible cup handle.
According to a newspaper article at the time, Frank Marchiony, an Italian immigrant from New York, went from the driving carts to operating two large waffle ice factories with a fleet of 200 carts in 1904. A patent drawing shows a device for making edible cups with handles from shaped containers with rolled wafers, as seen at trade fairs. Marchioni’s vendors at the St. Louis Exposition ran out of edible waffle cones because of the painstaking work to make them.
In Saratoga Springs, New York, George Crum worked as a chef at Moon Lake Lodge. In Brooklyn, Frank Marchiony’s business, the Valvona-Marchiony Company, flourished. But Marchiony and his car had plenty of competition on the streets of Manhattan including his cousin Italo Marchioni who worked for the company. He made a patented cup of ice cream and sold it to an established rival ice cream company in 1903.
Some consider an Italian-American immigrant by the name of Italo Marchiony credible. A popular folk story about invented ice took place during the 1904 St. Louis, Missouri World Fair. However, there is no contemporary evidence to support the history of the World Exposition.