The history of ice cream vans
Selling ice cream on wheels is not a new phenomenon. The first ice cream van selling softly whipped cream appears to have appeared around the 1950s in the historical town of Philadelphia in the United States. It is said that two Irishmen by the names of James and William Conway took their ice cream van called “Mr. Softee” out for a spin in a Philadelphian neighbourhood. Since then, the ice cream van became a hit.
Ice cream on wheels around the world
With the potential business opportunity picked up by the British, ice cream vans soon made their appearance on the streets of London around 1959.
However, the popularity of this frozen dessert started in the 1850s and early 1900s with horse-drawn carts, tricycles, and bicycles being equipped with cool boxes to store ice cream – driving around streets and selling ice cream as they go. The first edible ice cream cone seems to have made an appearance as early as 1888. It can be argued that ice cream desserts became a global phenomenon as soon as refrigeration became cheap enough to own for common households.
Why classic designs are staying
The classic ice cream vans invoke a sense of nostalgia. The colourful and bright design schemas make them easily recognisable. This is why brightly coloured painted ice cream vans are easy to spot as they make the corner towards customers waiting in anticipation for their sweet treats. The colourful designs on the vans are always appealing to younger children and thus form part of a marketing strategy that will likely remain for some time.
How do ice cream vans get supplied?
Ice cream vans that form part of a franchise normally have a hub where they meet up to restock on ice cream supplies. This central hub is a convenient way for an ice cream van business to take stock of supplies. Private ice cream van owners will likely make their ice cream at home, and stock their vans before they head out into neighbourhoods selling their delightful treats.
Are Ice Cream Vans custom-made?
Some custom-made vans seem to have been designed in the early 1950s. This resulted in a creative blend of designs that succeeded in captivating younger generations. Children could identify with the colourful displays bringing sweet homemade ice cream to their doorsteps. The recognisable and highly popular jingle of the ice cream van seems to have made its first appearance in the early 1900s with various custom and classic jingles still resounding to this day.