Five Women Who Whipped Up Ice Cream History

And Other Heart Warming Historical Stories of a Frozen Delight

Meet five women who made history — along with some weird and wonderful flavors — in the early days of the ice cream business.

Some folks take their time with long, slow licks while others just bite right into it. We eat it from cones, in cups and with big soup spoons right out of the carton in front of our TVs. It gives us headaches and brain freeze, but we keep coming back for more. It’s ice cream. And long before anyone ever heard of two guys named Ben & Jerry; even before Philly’s own William Breyer hand-cranked his first batch of ice cream during the Civil War, these four women were making names for themselves, serving up everyone’s favorite summer treat.

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Blanche Scott: America’s First Female Aviator… or Was She?

An early female pilot and promoter who claimed several aviation “firsts” that weren’t

Blanche Scott in an early Curtiss aircraft
Daughter of a 19th-century patent medicine huckster, Blanche Scott proved herself as good a pilot as she was a shameless promoter claiming a number of early aviation “firsts” that weren’t.

Blanche Stuart Scott couldn’t stand the thought of “being a nobody and a nothing in New York’s millions.” So this only child, spoiled by wealthy parents and described as stubborn, adventurous, competitive and fiercely determined, became somebody, racking up a slew of firsts along the way. Unfortunately, some of those firsts weren’t. Some were more like close, but no cigar.

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Mary Anning – Britain’s Forgotten Fossil Hunter

A Pioneering 19th-Century Paleontologist Who Changed Science

Mary Anning and the Jurrassic Coast fossil cliffs of Lyme Regis, England
Now known as the Jurassic Coast, the massive cliffs that break off into the English Channel at Lyme Regis in England expose rock formations that go back more than 185 million years. In the early 1800s, Mary Anning made major discoveries here.

In the opening decades of the 19th century, Mary Anning, a country bumpkin who lived in a town overlooking the English Channel, made some of the earliest landmark discoveries in the emerging new science of paleontology. Yet male scientists often ended up taking all the credit.

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Code Cracker Extraordinaire Elizebeth Smith Friedman

A Cryptographic Sleuth Who Took Down Mobsters, Spies, and Nazis

Top secret Cryptoanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman cracked the Nazi military's Enigma code systems.
A driving force in the creation of the modern craft and science of cryptography, or code cracking, Elizebeth Smith Friedman spent a top secret career bringing down mobsters, spies and Nazi enemies.

Most people can’t name anyone whose career took them from searching for hidden messages in Shakespeare’s works to Nazi code busting to foiling Prohibition rum runners and sending mobsters to the slam. But that’s exactly how Elizebeth Smith Friedman liked it. She was perfectly happy working in the shadows as a complete unknown.

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America’s First Lady of the Air: Harriet Quimby

Pioneering the Path of Females in U.S. Aviation History

Aviatrix Harriet Quimby in front of her 1911 airplane.
Ablaze in fame as the country’s first licensed female pilot, Harriet Quimby flew to celebrity, mesmerizing international audiences with the airborne derring-do that paved the way for later women fliers like Amelia Earhart.

In August of 1911, 36-year-old Harriet Quimby became America’s first licensed female pilot. Dubbed “America’s First Lady of the Air,” she couldn’t know she had less than a year to revel in her title before falling from the sky to her death.

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Engineer Mary Pennington, America’s “Ice Woman”

A Refrigeration Pioneer Who Surmounted Gender Barriers to Revolutionize The Way Food is Shipped, Stored and Sold

Engineer Mary Pennington on top of a rail car collecting food samples.
Mary Engle Pennington pioneered systems of refrigerated rail cars and practices that revolutionized the food shipping industry. She is shown here, atop a rail car, collecting food samples for testing.

For most women, being dubbed America’s “Ice Woman” would be cringe-worthy at best. But Mary Pennington, whose pioneering work in storing, shipping, refrigerating and flash-freezing perishable foods revolutionized America’s food supply, wore it as a well-deserved badge of honor.

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