The ice cream cone was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair when vendor Ernest Hamwi began forming his thin waffles — called zalabias — into cones for an ice cream vendor who had run out of serving dishes. Hamwi probably did make ice cream cones, but other fair concessionaires were also filling cones with ice cream – and the question is who did what first, says Pam Vaccaro of St. Louis, who has written a new book about food at the fair.
While some people argue that Marchioney’s flat-bottomed waffle cup was different from the waffle cone invented at the fair, Vaccaro says all can agree that ice cream cones were popularized at the exposition.
“With 20 million people and a hot summer in St. Louis – it’s most likely we did help put ice cream cones on the map,” she said. “We pushed its popularity right out there.”
In her book, “Beyond the Ice Cream Cone; The Whole Scoop on Food at the 1904 World’s Fair” (Enid Press), Vaccaro puts to rest the myths that hot dogs and iced tea were invented at the fair, offering documentation that both appeared much earlier. Also not invented at the fair: hamburgers, peanut butter and the club sandwich.