On This day: Ice Cream Cone

July 20, 2023

July 23, 1904

On this day more than a century ago, a mysterious (and delightful) invention was born: The Ice Cream Cone.


  • No one knows with 100% certainty who invented the ice cream cone.
  • FOR YEARS, however, the commonly-believed date for its founding in the United States has been July 23, 1904.
  • One potential inventor? An original foodie, Charles E. Menches, who reportedly thought of the idea at the 1904 St. Louis Fair.
  • A twist? Others who claim to have invented the ice cream cone *also* appeared at the 1904 St. Louis Fair.
"It is from the time of the Fair that edible 'cornucopia,' a cone made from a rolled waffle, vaulted into popularity in the United States."

The Library of Congress. One story of the ice cream cone’s founding goes: Menches observed girls using baked goods as a serving bowl for ice cream. He took a cake (some say a waffle), rolled it around his finger, and filled it with ice cream.

Something To Consider: An Italian patented an ice cream cone concept in 1903, but it described “edible cups with handles,” the Library of Congress explains. Brothers and cooks Charles and Frank Menches also claim to invent the hamburger. Did you know? According to the International Dairy Foods Association, “The average American eats roughly 20 pounds of ice cream each year, or about 4 gallons.”

Read more about the heated controversy over “who owns the cone” on our source page.

Today in History – July 23, The Ice Cream Cone

One story about Charles Menches: Ice Cream Cone is Popularized at St. Louis World’s Fair

July is National Ice Cream Month

by Jenna Lee,