A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 27, 2006
Penny Lick
A 'penny lick" was a glass of ice cream that sold for a penny. The term was popular in the 1890s, just before the invention of the ice cream cone.

It is not known if the "penny lick" (and also the "ice cream cone") originated in New York City.

A delightful English Victorian 'Penny Lick' or ice cream glass with a tear-drop shaped bowl.

A solid blown glass with a knop just below the bowl. This piece is unusual due to the additional detail to its bowl.

'Penny Licks' were used as ice cream glasses during the Victorian period in the same way we use ice cream cones today. They were known as 'Penny Licks' as it cost a penny for one 'lick' of an ice cream!

There is a pontil scar to the base.

Measurements: 3.95ins (10 cm) high
Bowl: 2 ins (5 cm) diameter
Foot: 2.5 ins (6.3 cm)
Price: £45.00

These pastry cups had to be tiny, to fit 10 of them in a waffle-size iron, and they wouldn't be like today's cup cone, but an edible "cuplet," to replace the "penny licks" - small, glass containers used by street ice cream vendors. But Marchiony's grandson. Bill, claims that Italo used these cuplets, made on his patented mold, to increase the efficiency of his street-vending business, and thereby made the first ice cream cones.

Bryce Thomson, author of The Sundae School Newsletter, a monthly publication distributed by the National Ice Cream Retailers Association, strongly believes that Ernest Hamwi should be credited as the originator of the ice cream cone. However, he does write that "[Marchiony] belongs in the history books for inventing the edible ice cream dish!" His little containers were more sanitary than the shot-size glasses they replaced. Penny Licks remained popular for a long time [as noted in Ed Marks' book. Ice Cream Collectibles], even though they were the cause of many health problems. Most vendors seldom washed them as they were passed from one customer to the next. But Thomson agrees with the late Jack Marlowe, who wrote that "the bottoms of [Marchiony's] cups were flat, not conical and thus his post-Exposition claim that the burgeoning cone manufacturers were all violating his patent melted under the hot gaze of the law."

10 June 1921, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 18:
Do You Remember Way Back When:
You could get a penny lick of ice cream from the hokey-pokey man? -- W. E. G.
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, June 27, 2006 • Permalink