It’s late August and autumn’s cooling temperatures seem months away in the United States. “Fro Yo” (frozen yogurt) places do a brisk business. My daughter’s friend worked at a Hawaiian-style Shave Ice (yes, it’s just “shave” when referencing Hawaiian-style yumminess) until school started. I regularly see people hit the Dairy Queen drive-through for a cone. We’re far from hot chocolate weather.
I’ve written an article about homemade ice cream in the Victorian Era United States. It’s no big surprise Americans enjoyed ice cream at home and in restaurants/cafes.
Ice-cream based milk shakes as we know them today came into being a decade into the 20th century.
Shave ice and milk shakes? In the Old West? In the heat of summer?
VICTORIAN MILK SHAKES
The “Milk-Shake Fad” hit by August 1888. “No country drug shop or cross-roads store is now considered complete without a machine for making milk-shakes,” San Francisco’s Evening Bulletin reported in California. “The milk-shake is the craze, and the city people on their vacations come upon it everywhere. The shake is merely a glass of milk and an inch of fruit sirup [sic]. The glass that contains it is put in place in a machine that jolts and bounces it terrifically for a minute or two, mixing in into a light substance like whipped cream.”
ICE CREAM SODAS
“Shave ice can be used for making water ices…”
$0.40 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $11.43 in 2015 (latest year available) [source]
“…adapted for use in making “snow balls,” which are variously flavored and sold to children on the streets and at their schools, also to the general public at fairs. Men engaged in making “snow balls” are making from $5 to $9 per day.”
$0.50 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $14.29 in 2015 (latest year available) [source]
$0.53 of 1898 dollars would be worth: $15.14 in 2015 (latest year available) [source]
MILK SHAKE MACHINES
“Magic” Milk Shake Machine is a counter machine made to do the work as effectively and satisfactorily as the famous A. & W. floor machines. It has a direct up and down movement, thoroughly mixing the contents of the tumblers, and there is no swinging motion which leaves the ingredients unmixed. Diameter of fly wheel, 1 3/4 in. Machine, with four tumblers and four glass tops, price $6.00
~ 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog
$6 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $171.43 in 2015 (latest year available) [source]
The Imperial Milk Shake Machine, handsomely painted with nickel-plated trimmings. Glass caps for tumblers. The most noiseless and easily-operated machine in the market. It can be securely fastened to the floor and does not shake counter or jar bottles off the shelves. One half-dozen tumblers packed with each shake, and directions for making syrups included. Weighs, packed for shipment, 73 lbs.
Imperial Ice Shave, nickled legs galvanized top. Finely finished hardwood base. Occupies but little space; can be conveniently used on soda counters.
~ 1895 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalog
Note the charcoal-filled (for insulation), like the icebox of the day.
$1.55 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $44.29 in 2015
$2.50 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $71.43 in 2015
$8.35 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $238.57 in 2015 (latest year available) [source]
Nineteenth Century Ice Cutting, Part 3 Nineteenth Century Ice Cutting, Part 2 Nineteenth Century Ice Cutting, Part 1 Ice Cream: Comfort Food Then & Now (on Romancing the Genres) Victorian Refrigerators (a.k.a. Icebox) Victorian America’s Ice Delivery Victorian Lawn Mowers Telephones for Sale by Sears Roebuck Old West Mason Jars
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt, LC