The Woman Who Created The First Ice Cream

Beulah Henry’s ice cream machine

Sofia Montaño
Sep 13, 2020 · 5 min read
Ice cream

magine the following, you are on a hot summer day and to combat the fierce heatwave in your city, you decide to go to the store in search of something cold and refreshing, you enter the store and the first thing you see is a freezer full of popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and much more, luckily that delicious ice cream that fascinates you so much is on sale and you do not hesitate to take one to devour it as fast as you can but…

Have you ever wondered who was that wonderfully delicious invention that allows us to survive those hot summer days? Well, today I introduce you to Beulah Louise Henry, also known by her nickname “Lady Edison”, an inventor who among all the wonders she created, she developed the ice cream patent.

Beulah Louise Henry

Are you interested in discovering more about the queen of cold desserts?

Beulah was born in North Carolina, the daughter of Walter R. and Beulah Henry.

She was the granddaughter of the North Carolina Governor WW Holden. Surprisingly she was also a direct descendant of Patrick Henry, a former Virginia governor who was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered mainly for saying: “Give me liberty or give me death”.

As for her education, the most relevant and interesting happens between 1909 and 1912 because, during these years, she attended the Presbyterian school in North Carolina and Elizabeth College, in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was in these places where our beloved inventor developed her first patents, the first of these being the following machine.

First ice cream machine

How did this machine work?

This incredible machine consists of the following. The machine included a freezing chamber surrounded by an insulating structure with which it was achieved very quickly in the manufacture with minimal use of ice, in addition to serving to cool water.

Another important thing is that before this machine, to make ice cream, deep excavations were made in the ground where ice was deposited and then they were mixed with fruit juice. In Europe, large refrigerators were also built, in which the ice collected during winter was stored, until a way of making it was discovered.

It turns out that ancient Arab sages made ice last with salt, and in Spain, the first ice cream shops brought ice from England or the United States in bars wrapped in sawdust. The ice cream parlors made their own ice creams with ice water from the snow mixed with fruit juice, a mold, and a stick inside.

The archaeologist Carlos Caballero tells us: “once the winter season and snow collection were over, it had to be redistributed to urban refrigerators. During the transfer of snow, between 40 and 50 percent of its original weight could be lost. All the hard work that had been done during the winter translated into half the product when it reached the distribution refrigerators.“

Old ice cream vendors

This is when our savior Beulah Louise Henry arrives!

This machine achieves both productions and storing of the snow that would later be used to make ice cream.

This not only helped the cost of ice cream production dropped dramatically, but this also boosted the speed of its production, making it a “business” much more profitable and accessible, thus promoting the sale of different flavors of ice cream and all these thanks to one of the many inventions of Beulah Louise Henry. Since we are talking about this lady, I will mention some inventions of this lady and some curiosities about ice cream!

Beulah Louise inventions:

- Freezer machine to make ice cream
- Umbrella with various colors and Umbrella Bag
- “Dolly Dips” children’s sponges filled with soap
- “Miss Illusion” doll with eyes that could change color and close
- “Photograph” — machine for making four copies of a typed document
- Double Chain Stitch Sewing Machine
- Sewing machine without the bobbin
- Sewing apparatus
- Typewriter machine
- Device to produce articulated sounds
- Can opener

Typewriter

I bet you’ve come to see or even use some of the items on the list, who would say that she was responsible for the invention of so many useful objects, let’s go through some curiosities about ice cream!

ce Cream Curiosities

Which are the most popular ice cream flavors?

There are more and more ice cream flavors and very different, strange, and exotic ice creams, but there are three traditional flavors that are still the most consumed and that are part of the base of other flavors that have appeared, which are, cream, vanilla, and chocolate.

Cream, Vanilla, and Chocolate Ice Cream

In which countries is ice cream most consumed?

You might be surprised to learn that it is New Zealand. And it is that according to data from the International Association of Dairy Products, in this Australian country 26.3 liters of ice cream are consumed each year per person. Almost 4 times more than in Spain.

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

What is the most famous Guinness record for ice cream

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest ice cream cone was made in Norway and was 3.08 meters high, 95.85 kilograms of the wafer, 60 kg of chocolate coating, 1,080 liters of cream, and 40 kg of syrup. A real madness!!!

Worlds Biggest Ice Cream

Without a doubt, the incredible amount of things that this woman invented is impressive, again another inventor shows us what human creativity is capable of doing, each little idea gradually grew, allowing us to have all those resources and tools that make our day to day so unique and above all delicious!

Lessons from History

Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share…

Sign up for Lessons from History

By Lessons from History

Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share ideas and inspirational stories from world history.  Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Sofia Montaño

Written by

Mexican girl willing to learn and share.

Lessons from History

Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share ideas and inspirational stories from world history. The objective is to promote history on Medium and demonstrate the value of historical writing.

Sofia Montaño

Written by

Mexican girl willing to learn and share.

Lessons from History

Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share ideas and inspirational stories from world history. The objective is to promote history on Medium and demonstrate the value of historical writing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store