Snow cones During The Amercian Industrial Revolution

Did you know?

In the 1850s the American Industrial Revolution made ice commercially available. Ice houses in New York would commonly sell ice to places like Florida. To transport the ice to Florida, the ice houses would send a wagon with a huge block of ice south. The route to Florida would pass right through Baltimore. In Baltimore, children would run up to the wagon and ask for a small scraping of ice. Before long, mothers started to make flavoring in anticipation of their child receiving some ice. The first flavor these mothers made was a current Baltimore favorite: egg custard. Egg custard was an easy flavor to make as all that was in it was eggs, vanilla and sugar.

Snow cones sold in theatres during the 1870’s

Did You Know?

Old Time Cane Sugar Snow Cone Syrup

By the 1870s, the snowball’s popularity had risen to the degree that in the warm summer months, theaters would sell snowballs to keep their patrons cool. Because of this association with the theater, snowballs were thought of as an upper-class commodity. Signs in theaters instructing patrons to finish their snowballs before coming in to the second act are the earliest tangible evidence of snowballs. In the theaters in Baltimore during the time hand shavers were used to shave the ice. Around the city, snowballs were served on newspaper, but in the classy theaters, butchers’ boats were used. In the 1890s, many people started to invent easier ways for snowballs to be made. In that decade, six patents for electric ice shavers were filed.

Would love for modern theaters to bring this back!

“Hard Times Sundae” Snow Cones In World War II & Great Depression

During the Great Depression and World War II, snowballs came to be available outside of Baltimore. As snowballs were so cheap, they were one of the few treats that people could afford. This inexpensiveness earned snowballs the nicknames “Hard Times Sundae” and “Penny Sundae”. People in need of a job would sell snowballs as it required little overhead. The treat became more popular during World War II, when all available ice cream was sent to soldiers, creating a need for an icy treat. This new found lack of competition helped snowballs became popular across the country

Shaved Ice Sales Skyrocketed In 2012

Hot Dry Weather Boosts Snow Cone Sales

The winter of 2012 was mild, the spring was warmer than normal and the summer saw sweltering temperatures that were still balmy in the fall. High temperatures coupled with extreme drought conditions led to failed crops and higher food prices. 2012 was the hottest year on record.

On the other hand, these adverse weather conditions were directly responsible for record snow cone sales in 2012. I use to hear my mother say “Something good comes out of every bad thing that happens”  While no one wishes for extreme weather, if you were in the snow cone business in 2012, it should have been financially rewarding.

Some climate experts believe that the adverse weather of 2012 is going to be the new normal. If you’re in the snow cone business, be prepared to be very busy in the coming years. Add a few new snow cone syrup flavors. Customers are always looking for interesting new snow cone flavors. More flavors translate into increased sales. Snow Cone Profit Potential Is High and rags to riches stories are not uncommon.