Even though modern era of ice cream started in early 20th century after new refrigeration techniques enabled the start of industrial ice cream manufacture, this extremely popular summertime treat can be traced to the early days of the modern human civilizations. Some 2500 years ago ice creams first appeared in the hot environment of Persian empires, and ever since then it continued spread, rise in popularity and boosts the imaginations of countless cooks and innovators who wanted to improve the process it was made. This was possible not only because ice creams tasted great and provided relief during hot summer months, but also because they were for the longest time very expensive to produce. This economic value of ice cream industry fueled its development, and was responsible for incredible breakthroughs in refrigeration techniques.
History of ice creams begun around 500 B.C. in the Persian Empire where ice was used in combination with grape juices, fruits, and other flavors to produce very expensive and hard to produce summertime treats. Recipes of this ice based ice creams (sorbets) traveled to Ancient Rome, where they were welcomed with open hands by Emperors and nobility. Tales from this period of time tell of armies of runners, who carried ice from mountains to big Roman cities during summers. With enormous price tag and inability to easily storage ice, ice creams remained expensive until 17-18th century when organized collection of ice and its underground preservation started to spread across Europe and North America. However before that happen, 9-11th century innovations that were made in China and Arab countries appeared in Europe and changed the way we looked at ice creams forever. Milk based frozen products enabled cooks to produce wide variety of new ice creams, starting the era of Neapolitan Ice cream, Gelato and others.
After Catherine de'Medici introduced ice cream to France in mid-16th century, ice creams started their incredible rise. Production capabilities changed with century to century, new recipes and fashions were formed, refrigeration techniques and automated machines were introduced, and ice creams traveled to all four corners of the world. United States received their first ice cream in mid-17th century, few decades later it was sold in public, and in 1851 it was made by large commercial enterprises.
Modern age of ice cream history started shortly after the end of World War I when commercial and continuous electrical refrigerators become available. Powered with this great invention, ice cream industry rose hundred fold, enabling creation of cheap and easy to produce ice creams, especially in United States. International acceptance of ice creams can partly be contributed to the years of World War II, when flash frozen and dried ice creams became part of the official US Army rations, which were distributed on all fronts across Europe, North Africa, East Asia and Pacific. After the war ended, people all around the world started viewing ice creams as American invention, and quickly developed their own industrial capabilities to produce them. In second part of 20th century personal refrigeration become commonplace, Hollywood movies and fashion incorporated ice cream regularly in their products, and new production capabilities enabled creation of many new types of ice cream (most notably, soft ice cream and sundae).