On this date in 1904 … in St. Louis…

Ice cream cone3The International Association of Ice Cream Makers says Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamwi invented the ice cream cone at the World’s Fair on this date. Hamwi sold zalabia, a crisp wafer-like pastry from Syria. When ice cream vendor Charles Menches ran out of dishes, Hamwi supposedly plunked a scoop of ice cream atop a zalabia. Other ice cream vendors bought his waffles, and called the new treat a “World’s Fair Cornucopia.” Hamwi was certainly the man who popularized them.

Other sources say Menches came up with the idea on July 23rd. Still another says Arnold Fornachou was the vendor that Hamwi helped out. A Syrian immigrant named Abe Doumar claimed he first sold cones in Old Jerusalem. Nick and Albert Kabbaz also said it was their idea. They reportedly worked for Hamwi and may have come up with the idea to fold the zalabia into a cone shape. Nick Kabbaz went on to become president of the St. Louis Ice Cream Cone Company.

Some claim Italo Marchiony of New York City invented the cone seven months earlier. On September 22, 1903 he filed a patent for a device that was “split in two like a waffle iron and producing small pastry cups with sloping sides.” They were cups, not cones. After cones became popular, Marchiony sued, but failed to protect his patent.