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The Sound

The distinctly old-fashioned tinkle of the ice cream van is something young and old alike identify with. It is, after all, a sound that has been heard for well over a century. FYM investigates the evolution of this long-standing summertime business

park with friends, a familiar jingle, followed by the shrieks of children, tells you that the summer really is here. In the UK the weather is


unpredictable, so when the temperatures do rise nobody wants to walk far for a perfectly delicious, refreshing and inexpensive treat. So it really isn’t hard to see why the ice cream van is such a successful summertime business, and one that has been around for well over a century. In the UK, this delicious dairy treat was first sold from

horse-drawn carts in the 1850s. Then ice cream was eaten from a reusable glass known as a penny-lick. After these were banned for hygiene reasons in 1926, Agnes B Marshall, a

Victorian entrepreneur known as the ‘Queen of Ices’, created the first edible cone.

By the early part of the 20th century the first motorised

vehicles, manufactured by a well- known company called Whitby Morrison, had made an


t’s a blisteringly hot mid-August day and the stress of exams and coursework is over for another year. Chilling in the

of Summer

appearance. However, in the 1920s Walls introduced the first ice cream trike, emblazoned with the sign ‘Stop Me and Buy One’. People certainly did. By 1924, Walls had 50 trikes in operation and by then were turning over nearly £14,000 in ice cream sales. Things would only get better and by 1927 sales had risen to nearly £450,000. During World War II, however,

milk was in short supply so people ate less ice cream, and

Global Appeal

Ice cream sales on the move happen elsewhere too United States – Mister Softee was the first soft serve ice

cream van - or ‘truck’ as the Americans like to call it - in the US. Today, however, there are many different vehicles which also play music to attract customers. Many have diversified to sell candy floss, drinks and so on.

Canada - Between 1959 and 2002, Dickie Dee sold ice cream from tricycle carts and ice cream trucks.

Scandinavia – Here the trademark light blue Hjem-IS trucks sell ice cream to customers in a box. Customers can keep track of their delivery online.

Peru – Vendors on bicycles sell ice

cream, using a trumpet to attract


the tricycles were requisitioned as military installations.

Boom times In the 1950s and 60s few people in the UK had freezers, so the mobile van was the place to buy this sweet summer treat. Unsurprisingly, business boomed and at this time there were about 20,000 vans in operation. Soft serve ice cream arrived in

the UK in the late 1950s. While holidaying in America in 1958,


fresh young millionaire

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