During the 18th and early 19th centuries, ice cream would’ve been
made in a sorbetiere:
Placed in a tub of ice and salt, it was turned round and round by hand:
In 1843, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia, PA, obtained a patent
for an new type of ice cream freezer. Rather than spin the interior
container by hand, it was turned using a handle placed at the top.
A paddle was added inside to assist with the churning of the cold
mixture. It also scraped any frozen matter off the sides of the cylinder,
sending it to the center to be mixed in and stirred ’round again.
According to Linda Campbell Franklin, in her book 300 Years of Kitchen
Collectibles, there were roughly 60 patents granted for ice cream freezers
between 1844 and 1873. Most were variations of Johnson’s design. Here
are three versions from Kitchen Collectibles (incidentally, all these were
patented by residents of Baltimore):
Eventually, someone figured out that a handle placed on the side made
the process a bit easier:
And the more-refined, early 20th Century model:
Of course, nowadays, most ice cream makers are powered by electricity.
Just pour in your cream mixture, plug it in, and voila! within minutes
you’re enjoying some cold, yummy ice cream. HUZZAH!