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Whip It

This month Becky is stepping out of the spotlight to share the work of Kristen Rowley, our Collection Technician, which features one very “sweet” artifact. Read below as Kristen shares about what she found out about this item.

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In preparation for our last Museum Insider tour, the various parts of a Whirla Whip machine in our collection were reunited after several years of living in separate rooms. The Whirla Whip machine was invented by Claude Reed in the 1930s. Reed was from Des Moines and moved to Omaha when he was 18. He had grown up in the ice cream business – his family started a wholesale ice cream manufacturing company in 1910 and opened a retail store in Des Moines in 1922. At one time, there were 63 Reed’s Ice Cream stores in the Omaha area, as well as some in Des Moines and St. Louis.

Claude wanted to create a machine that would allow you to customize flavors for single servings of ice cream, and the Whirla Whip was born! The operators would scoop ice cream and any added flavors (candies, fruits, etc.) into the cone of the machine and pull the handle. The machine would then put 150 pounds of pressure on the ice cream, turning it into a flavored soft serve!

As of last year, there was one Whirla Whip machine still in commercial use at a drug store in North Dakota.

Now I want ice cream and North Dakota sounds far away, so I’ll just see you all at the soda fountain! Thanks, Kristen

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Thank you for reading and see you next time,
Becky

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