The Ice Cream Cone
September 11, 2021
The ice cream cone is said to have originated at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904. But that leaves out an important part of history: the story of the cone inventor.
The patent for cone-making was awarded to Italo Marchioni (1868-1954) in 1903. Marchioni was a street vendor on Wall Street where he sold lemon ices from a pushcart to Wall Street brokers and runners. He had been working on a cone-making device since 1896 and filed for a patent in 1902.
Thanks to an article written by Jane Marchioni Paretti, Marchiony’s daughter and published originally by the Hoboken Historical Society, we have the full and complete answer.
The story begins on Wall Street where Marchiony, a resident of Hoboken, worked as a pushcart vendor. (Marchiony arrived in this country as a “Marcioni” but he or the fellow on Ellis Island Americanized the name to Marchiony.)
Like many of his countrymen, Marchiony began selling ices from a pushcart. Some customers referred to these Italian vendors as “hokey pokey men,” which derived from the vendors’ cries of Ecco un poco—meaning “here’s a little.”
To present a customer with an individual serving, the men used small glass dishes, which were to be given back to the vendor. But many of the Wall Street traders wandered off with their cups, or the cups fell and broke in transit. Marchiony was tired of the loss and breakage of the glasses, so he wanted to come up with an edible cup in which to serve the flavored ices.