When you are enjoying a cold ice cream float, you probably don’t care much about who invented the concoction – you are too busy savoring the moment. However, that is an interesting question to examine when you are done with your treat. Who came up with this delicious idea? And how did it gain popularity? We are going to take a look at the possible answers to these questions below.
The Common Choice
This tasty item is often credited to Robert McCay Green, who is said to have invented it in Philadelphia all the way back in 1874. As usual, necessity was the mother of invention in this case. Without enough sweet cream to serve in his sodas, Green may have substituted ice cream and the rest is history. Is that story the truth? We will likely never know, but it is a good place to start the exploration of this question.
As is usually the case with questions about the origins of food, there are many individuals who have laid claim over the years to the title of ice cream float inventor. One such man was Philip Mohr, who was a baker in New Jersey in the middle of the 19th century. Mohr may have served a customer by adding ice cream to soda water, and that customer may have happened to be a banker who spread the word about the creation.
Another possibility is the story of George Guy. Back in Philadelphia, George Guy actually worked for the first man mentioned in this article, Robert Green. This story posits that Guy created the ice cream float by accident, when he dropped an ice cream order into a soda water order at the fountain where he was working. A customer asked to taste what had just happened by accident, and it became a hit.
Our fourth contender for this title is a man named Fred Sanders. This story moves over to Detroit, where Sanders said that he substituted ice cream for sweet cream when he ran out of inventory of the latter. The only problem with this story is the timeline – Sanders dates his treat to 1875, which is after ice cream floats are known to have been served by others on the list.
An Ongoing Debate
With the origin of the ice cream float nearly a century and a half in the past, all of the players in this saga are long since departed. With that in mind, we will almost certainly never know more than we know now about where this treat came from and how it developed such a following. Of course, it doesn’t really matter in the end. As long as you can order a cold ice cream float at your local burger joint, you are going to be happy regardless of who was the true inventor some 150 years ago.