With the hot weather of summer at times we are looking for something pleasant to cool ourselves. In the past, more so than today, people went to soda fountains or ice cream parlors for a cool treat. People usually sat on round stools in front of the counter and could watch the soda jerk prepare their orders. These parlors were generally associated with pharmacies.

A popular treat was the ice cream float. This is a combination of vanilla ice cream and soda water with the choice of 16 different flavored syrups. The floats came about because of Robert McCay Green running out of ice during a public celebration. He substituted ice cream in the dish and they quickly became very popular. Because carbonated liquid was also considered alcoholic in some areas, it was banned to be used on Sundays and holy days. The soda fountains quickly renamed the treat 'Sundaes' and could serve them.

Another popular drink was the milk shake or malted milk shake. Initially these drinks were made with whiskey and eggs and served as a tonic. This changed to consist of milk, ice cream and flavorings. Before a blender was invented in 1922, mixing shakes was done by hand. For malted milk shakes, malted milk powder is used. This was invented as a restorative health drink by William Horlick in 1897. It also became popular as a drink for others. The mixture consists of evaporated milk, malted barley and wheat flour. By mistake a Walgreen's employee, Ivar 'Pop' Coulson added two scoops of ice cream to a malted milk drink when serving a customer. Ice cream malted milk drinks quickly became very popular. In fact, June 20 is National Vanilla Milkshake Day.

One hundred seventeen years ago a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist, David Evans Strickler, developed what was to become known as the banana split at the Tassel Pharmacy in Latroba, Pa. It quickly became popular, even though it cost twice the amount of an ice cream soda - 10 cents.

Brown or black cows were not animals running around in soda fountains. They were named for a drink consisting of chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream and root beer for a brown cow or substituting Coca-Cola for the root beer became a black cow. Both had a Maraschino cherry on top!

There are many other ice cream novelties such as ice cream cones, ice cream cookie sandwiches, ice cream cakes just to name a few.

Today we do not need to go to a soda fountain for our ice cream as there is a carton in the freezer. Yet for many people for many years, this was a popular destination.

Something to think about: 'Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.' Henry Ford


This was generally served in a long container known as a 'boat.'

For each split, cut one banana lengthwise. Lay in the boat. Add one scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream along the length of banana. Drizzle either chocolate syrup or pineapple sauce over ice cream. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts or peanuts. Top all with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry.


In the bottom of a glass, place several Tablespoons of chocolate syrup. Fill the glass only half full of root beer and mix. Add several scoops of vanilla ice cream and fill glass to the top with more root beer.


Slowly fill a glass 3/4 full of cold Coke. Add one scoop vanilla ice cream. More may be added if desired. Slowly pour more Coke over the ice cream to fill the glass. It will foam. Let the drink sit a few minutes for the ice cream to melt a bit. Stir until slightly thick. Eat with a spoon and drink the liquid with a straw.