Jun
21

Good Humor Ice Cream Truck, 1938

Good Humor, the well-known “ice cream on a stick,” was created by candy-maker Harry Burt in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1920.

His first candy invention was the Jolly Boy Sucker, a lollipop on a stick. While working in his ice cream parlor, Burt created his own recipe for a smooth chocolate coating that would be compatible with ice cream. His daughter Ruth performed the first taste test. Although it tasted good, Ruth thought it was too messy to eat. To solve this problem, Burt took the advice of his son, Harry Jr., who suggested freezing wooden sticks used for the Jolly Boy Sucker into the ice cream as handles. He named his new creation the Good Humor bar, capitalizing on the belief that a person’s “humor” or outlook on life was related to the humor of the palate. Burt immediately sent the patent to Washington, D.C.

From the beginning, Good Humor bars were peddled in gleaming white trucks by salesmen in white uniforms. By the mid-1930s, Good Humor bars were sold throughout most of the country.This 1938 Chevrolet truck is believed to have operated in the Boston area.

This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is not on display.

(Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History)


Posted: 21 June 2011
About the Author:

Jessica Porter Sadeq has worked in the Central Office of Public Affairs since June 2007. In August 2008 she joined the Internal Communications department as an internal communications coordinator.

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