The invention of the ice cream soda is usually attributed to Robert M. Green of Philadelphia (at the Franklin Institute in 1874) or Fred Sanders of Detroit (in 1880). John Robertson and Francis Tietz claimed they made the first ice cream soda at Kline’s drug store at Canal and Varick streets in Manhattan in 1872. Other claimants include Joseph R. Royer (Lancaster, PA, also in 1870s), Joseph Anton Euper (Dennison, TX, in 1873) and G. O. Guy (Seattle, WA, in 1872).
An ice cream soda consists of ice cream, carbonated water (soda water), and flavored syrup and is so simple that many people probably though up the idea. “Sheldon’s Celebrated Ice Cream Soda,” from P. Sheldon’s drig store in Newport, RI, is cited in print in 1862. Dows, Clark & Van Winkle of Boston, MA, patented an ice cream soda water apparatus and displayed it at the Paris Exposition of 1867.
Wikipedia: Ice cream soda
The ice cream soda, float or spider (as referred to in Australia and New Zealand) is a treat that is typically made by mixing ice cream with either a soft drink or flavored syrup and carbonated water. The microscopic bubbles present in the ice cream act as “nucleation sites” which trigger the formation of large bubbles of carbon dioxide. The drink originated in the United States in the late 19th century, and was most likely created by either Robert M. Green of Philadelphia or Fred Sanders of Detroit.
Green’s account, published in “Soda Fountain” magazine in 1910, states that while operating a soda fountain at the Franklin Institute’s semi-centennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1874, he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from another vendor who had a fancier, bigger soda fountain. After some experimenting, he decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with 16 different flavors of soda water. The new treat was a sensation, and soon other soda fountains began selling ice cream sodas.
Sanders owned a successful confectionery, the Pavilion of Sweets, in Detroit, first opened in 1875. One night, some customers came in shortly before closing time and ordered sweet cream sodas. Since Sanders had run out of sweet cream, he quickly concocted a new treat by adding ice cream to soda water.
Regardless of its origins, it quickly became very popular, to such a degree that it was almost socially obligatory among teens, although many adults abhorred it. According to legend, it was banned, either entirely or on holy days, by some local governments, giving rise to the ice cream sundae.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
1886 Mobile (Alabama) Daily Reg. 23 Apr. 2/3 (Advt.), Drink Ice Cream Soda.
1887 A. A. HAYES Jesuit’s Ring 56 The days of bright summer, and lawn tennis..and ice-cream soda.
1889 A. T. PASK Eyes Thames 123 Three Italian ice-cream men, with their heavy barrows.
1893 Critic (U.S.) 8 Apr. 226/1 Our national beverage ‘ice-cream soda’.
4 August 1862, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 3, col. 2 ad:
P. SHELDON’S BRANCH DRUG STORE
In Downings Block.
In Downings Block.
Opposite the Naval School;
Opposite the Naval School.
On Touro Street.
On Touro Street.
Sheldon’s Celebrated Ice Cream Soda.
Sheldon’s Celebrated Ice Cream Soda.
Sheldon’s Celebrated Ice Cream Soda.
Try It, Try It, Try It, Try It.
Try It, Try It, Try it, Try It.
17 June 1863, Constitution (Hartford, CT), pg. 3, col. 3 ad:
Ice Cream Soda Fountain
If you want a cool glass of SODA with any kind of Syrup—try it.
LIST OF SYRUPS.
FERREE & HUBBARD’S
No. 158 Main-st.
12 July 1866, Trenton (NJ) State Gazette, pg. 2 ad:
Ice Cream Soda Water,
With a choice selection of Syrups, at
McDONALD’S New Drug Store
23 July 1868, Edinburgh (Scotland) Evening Courant, pg. 1, col. 5:
AMERICAN ICE CREAM SODA WATER.
OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.
THE TIMES.—“The American drinks are the most popular in the Champs de Mars.”
THE SCOTSMAN.—“Now that the warm weather has set in, those who have visited the PARIS EXHIBITION last year are likely to have grateful recollections and longing for the Ice Cream Soda Waters. The beverage is most pleasing and refreshing.”
78 PRINCES STREET, EDINBURGH.
Making of America
Title: Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition, 1867. Published under the direction of the Secretary of State by authority of the Senate of the United States. Edited by William P. Blake.
Author: United States. Commission to the Paris Exposition, 1867.
Publication Info: Washington : Govt. Print. Off., 1870.
Collection: Making of America Books
DOWS, CLARK & VAN WINKLE, Boston, Massachusetts.—Ice cream soda water apparatus and fountains, carbonic acid gas generators.
Making of America
August 1872, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, “Soda-Water” by J. H. Snively, pg. 344:
Soda-water with cream sirups when well iced as above has been fancifully named “ice-cream soda.”
26 July 1873, Williamsport (PA) Gazette and Bulletin, pg. 4, col. 5:
THE best and richest flavored Ice Cream, Strawberries and Ice Cream Soda Water at Rohm & Eschenbach’s, No. 58 West Fourth street.
13 June 1874, Steubenville (OH) Daily Herald, pg. 1, col. 2:
Call and get a glass of ice cream soda at Smith & Morrison’s, North Fourth Street.
November 1906, Confectioners Journal, pg. 94 advertisement:
Fred Sanders of Detroit (...) Mr. Sanders is well known as the “Originator of Ice Cream Soda.”
27 April 1914, Miami (FL) Herald, “Ice Cream Soda 40 Years Old,” pg. 8:
This bit of lusciousness was born in Philadelphia, and Robert Green, a civil war veteran, was its creator.
“In 1874,” said Mr. Green, “the Franklin Institute was having a big exhibition at Thirteenth and Market streets. I was making soda water fountains, and had one at this exhibition. So I decided to try something new and novel.
“Putting some ice cream in a glass I poured the flavored soda upon it, and that was the start of ice cream soda. The first day I took in $8, but before the exposition ended I sold $200 worth of ice cream soda in a day.”
From that modest rivulet at Thirteenth and Market streets has poured a very Amazon of ice cream sodas all over America.—Philadelphia Public Ledger.
3 July 1916, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 2:
INVENTED ICE CREAM SODA
Philadelphia Is Credited with Dis-
covery of Combination
Various persons have claimed the credit of discovering or inventing the ice cream soda, out of which developed the sundae, the latter fame having been applied to it, according to legend, because a druggist originated the decoration on the first day of the week.
According to general judgment, Robert M. Green, of Philadelphia, was the first man to serve an ice cream soda. In the spring of 1874 Mr. Green was agent for John Matthews, of New York, and at the same time had begun the manufacture of smaller fountains of his own. He obtained a concession to dispense soda water at an exposition, held under the auspices of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, and stress of business compelled him to attract the attention of the public. So he advertised ice cream in soda water at a soda fountain; and is entitled to the honor of originating “ice-cream-soda” which, as years have passed, has developed an enormous demand and given a great impetus to the business of soda water dispensing.
On the other hand, the credit for commercializing ice cream as a adjunct to soda water, even though Mr. Green was the first to use it, belongs to Fred Sanders, of Detroit, a confectioner of the Michigan city. The inspiration to use ice cream with soda water came to Mr. Sanders one night when his plain cream had soured, and without the knowledge that it had already been used as a component of soda water in the East. Mr. Sanders used ice cream and featured it. He probably did more to popularize “ice-cream-soda” than any other fountain owner in the country.
30 July 1919, Duluth (MN) News Tribune, pg. 6:
Joseph R. Royer Had
Credit for First Ice-
While history does not make sure that Dolly Madison made ice cream popular in the United States, it is generally assumed that the odd child of that delicacy, ice cream soda, was invented 50 years ago by Joseph R. Royer, who died the other day in Lancaster, Pa., at the age of 85, says the New York Sun. It is the tradition we believe, that he brought about the union of frozen cream—yes, it was made of cream in the ‘60s—and carbonated water for the pleasure of a child who liked both soda water and ice cream so well that she could not decide which she would have first.
Royer, a confectioner, showed her that she could have both together.
14 July 1922, Wilkes-Barre (PA) ,Times-Leader, pg. 12:
BIRTH OF ICE CREAM SODA
New York.—Claims of Philadelphians that ice cream soda was invented in the Quaker City are denied by old New Yorkers, who assert the drink was created here.
27 March 1925, Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel, “In New York” by James W. Dean, pg. 10, col. 2:
The man who invented the ice cream soda water has been found and, as is often the case with inventors, he made not a cent with his discovery. The man is John Robertson, a Madison avenue restaurateur. As a newsboy he mixed ice cream with soda pop in Kline’s confectionery on Canal street near Varick street. Old man Kline began to mix the drink for him and his gang. Within a week he had hired four boys to help mix the ice cream sodas and within a month he had four girls waiting on tables. Women and girls from the toney sections began to visit his humble place and before long he was prosperous and had many competitors. The idea of putting ice cream into a flavored charged water was never patented.
30 July 1927, Abilene (TX) Morning News, “They Invented The Ice Cream Soda And Their Reward Was Not A Cent” by Hortense Saunders (NEA Service Writer), pg. 3, col. 4:
NEW YORK, July 29.—John Robertson and Francis Tietz were born 50 years too early. They invented a popular temperance drink in a day when the world generally did not appreciate a temperance drink. They are the fathers of the ice cream soda.
Had their creative genius flowered years later, ice cream soda might have made them millions. As it was, it didn’t even bring them free drinks—or fame.
Back in 1872, Robertson and Tietz were pals.
“One rainy day,” Robertson recalled, “we went into Kline’s confectionery store in New York. We had at least 50 cents with us, enough to buy out the store, and we ordered everything the place offered, all at one time.
They Tried Mixing
“We found that if you dumped the ice cream into a glass of soda, and added a few strawberries or some pineapple, you had something that was infinitely superior to any ingredient taken separately.”
‘After that we always ordered fruits, ice cream, soda water, or ginger ale, then mixed our own at the table. What we considered the triumph of our collective intelligences was made by putting a chunk of ice cream into a half cup of strong, cold coffee, adding chopped cherries, pineapple and dry ginger ale to fill up the cup, with a dash of cinnamon on top.”
September 1931, Soda Fountain, pg. 38, col. 1:
Father of Ice-Cream Soda
Hailed as “The Father of Ice Cream Soda,” G. O. Guy, establisher of a group of fountains and drug stores in the pioneer Northwest, had his memory perpetuated recently by the Guy fountains which he left behind in Seattle, Wash., with a son to operate them, and which effervesced with their celebration in his honor.
In the Pacific Northwest, this pioneer is generally regarded as the first man to combine as an innovation that has lasted through the years ice-cream and soda. G. O. Guy was at that time operating a store in Chicago, before his footsteps turned to the new lands opening in “the last frontier,’ where new people were arriving in large quantitites, and building a civilization with their homes, new businesses and drug stores.
The innovation of the ice-cream soda which later became an institution of this country, and the basis for the founding of many fountains, dates back fifty-nine years this summer. This June the 59th anniversary of the invention was elaborately celebrated in the Guy fountains of Seattle.
At all the G. O. Guy fountains in the chain of drug stores in Seattle, the “59th anniversary of G. O. Guy’s great achievement—the ice-cream soda” was made the occasion for the type of celebration in which the public is more prone to participate than any other. For three days the Guy fountains held a celebrant sale with two ice cream sodas offered for a single price.
During the public celebration with many new fountain fans attracted to the Guy fountains, the management pointed out certain facts behind the celebration:
“Fifty-nine years ago, G. O. Guy, the pioneer founder of Guy’s drug stores, originated the first ice-cream soda. Millions from all corners of the world have benefited by this invention and this week all G. O. Guy’s stores are celebrating the fifty-ninth anniversary of the event.
There’s nothing that can quite take the place of Guy’s famous Ice Cream Sodas....Made at all Guy Fountains at that exact mixing point of coldness....fizzy, tangy, soda water....pure, wholesome fresh flavorings...and a heaping ball of velvety ice-cream....these treats make you smack your lips and wish you had room for a dozen. Now, during this special event, take advantage of our most worthwhile offer. Treat your friends to a soda....”
Thus like a monument at Seattle, the memory of the late pioneer is kept green with the anniversary of his great discovery, as the Guy fountains prepare to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary next summer.
28 April 1933, Fresno (CA) Bee-Republican, pg. 52, col. 1:
The man who is said to have invented the ice cream soda has just died in Los Angeles at the age of 82.
The invention is supposed to have been made at a drug store in Dennison, Texas, sixty-three years ago. Apparently, it was not patented.
A large majority of those under forty years of age to-day probably were under the impression that ice cream soda never was invented at all—that it just happened, like the climate or the San Juaquin River.
But it did not just happen. Sixty-three years ago Joseph Anton Euper conceived the brilliant idea of mixing soda water, a flavoring syrup and a jigger of ice cream, little aware, perhaps that the concoction was to become a national drink and follow the American flag into practically every country on earth.
What about the “Dolly Varden”?