Harford History

Bel Air tinsmith improves ice cream

December 02, 2007

On Dec. 4, 1857, John H. Decker, a tinsmith, ran an advertisement in a Bel Air newspaper, the National American. The ad called attention to his ice cream freezer:

"This article has been used by some of the most respectable families in Harford county with complete success; and as it [sic] cheapness and durability, together with its vast superiority over all others now in use, render it a desirable article. Those who indulge in this excellent refreshment will do well to give me a call."

Decker was awarded a patent for an improvement to the ice cream freezer on Aug. 21, 1849. Decker claimed only the improvement: The actual invention of the ice cream freezer is credited to Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia.

[Sources: Harford Historical Bulletin, No. 103, Summer 2006; research by Harford County Public Library]

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