Call me old-fashioned but I do believe there is a reason why Alfred L. Cralle invented the ubiquitous ice cream scoop in 1897. While technically Cralle did not invent the ice cream scoop, that distinction rightfully belongs to George William Clewell in 1878, it was Cralles design that endured almost 120 years and is still pretty much used up to this very day. Sure I admire single-piece simple ice cream scoop designs that integrate a heat-conducting fluid in its handle so that the metal will not freeze and let the ice cream stick to it, but I am a sucker for the old ice cream scoops.
Too bad, the original Cralle design can only be bought now from antique shops and other stores that sell collectible items, so you know where to go if you are collecting vintage ice cream scoops. There is really a sense of mysticism in the traditional vintage metal ice cream scoop design that I find very appealing.
When Clewell designed the first ice cream scoop, you would have to hold the utensil with both hands. One hand will be holding the handle while the other hand will be turning the knob located at the tip of the cone-shaped scoop. Yes. You read that right. The Clewell design was a cone with a scraper mechanism on the inner surface of the scoop. This had to be operated from the outside by turning the knob at the pointed end of the cone. So, I could just imagine the challenge it poses to many diners serving a lot of people at any given time.
Now I understand why Cralle improved on the Clewell design by removing the knob that operated the scraper and instead attached it to a lever-action mechanism that allowed the scoop to be operated by one hand. This greatly improved the efficiency of scooping and serving ice creams to customers. In fact, after the Cralle invention, many more improvements were made including the cylinder dipper or the hemispherical dipper the ice cream disher is known for today. The very first hemispherical or cylindrical ice cream scooper was invented by Frank Hayden in 1900. The Cralle design was perfect for soda fountains while the Hayden design was good for sodas, cones, and sundaes. It is for this reason that I consider these three men Clewell, Cralle, and Hayden to be the icons in the storied past of the antique ice cream scoop.
I have been looking for ice cream scoops for sale that closely resembles the vintage designs of the early 20th century. My search landed me on Amazon where I was introduced to the SuperEze Ice Cream Scoop. It is very easy to use, sturdy, and inexpensive all the qualities of the original Cralle design. And with the Hayden design-inspired hemispherical scoop, I am in heaven.
I have to admit I used dishers before. That is part of the reason why I always stick with a disher. Now that I have SuperEze, I can safely say that I will never have to look anywhere else again. The SuperEze Ice Scooper may not have the Cralle sign but it does epitomize the vintage spirit of pioneering Americans.