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On this day in black history: The ice cream scooper is invented Black History Month: The Undefeated edition Feb. 2

Because of Alfred L. Cralle, nobody has to use a regular spoon to struggle to make scoops of ice cream. On this day in 1897, Cralle invented the ice cream scooper (U.S. Patent #576395), although he never profited from it.


He was a businessman who worked for his father in the carpentry trade. He later moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended Wayland Seminary, a branch of the National Theological Institute. He moved to Pittsburgh and worked at a hotel drugstore. He noticed that ice cream servers were having a hard time inserting chunks of ice cream into a cone.

Cralle’s invention was originally called the Ice Cream Mold and Disher and was designed to keep ice cream and other foods from sticking.

According to, Cralle was also a successful business promoter. When local investors created the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise and Business Association in Pittsburgh, he was selected as assistant manager.

More on-this-day facts:

1915 — Biologist Ernest E. Just receives Spingarn Medal

Biologist Ernest E. Just receives the Spingarn Medal, awarded annually by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by an African-American, for his pioneering work in cell division and fertilization.

1948 — Truman sends Congress anti-lynching message

President Harry S. Truman sends Congress a special message urging adoption of a civil rights program, including establishing a fair employment practices commission and anti-lynching and anti-poll tax measures.

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