A device that became part of the social fabric of the nation for more than a century was patented on this date in 1833 — the soda fountain. It was some years before the soda fountain achieved its well-known form — a long marble counter, with customers sitting on high stools. The ice cream soda came along in 1874 — and was immediately scorned by authorities as frivolous. Many communities outlawed their sale on Sunday. This, in turn, led to the development of the ice cream sundae, which did not use soda water. For decades, soda fountains served as a meeting and gathering place for young people. Soda fountains have gone but the ice cream they served remains popular. Americans eat an average of just over 24 pounds of frozen dairy products annually.
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