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Cool Things - Ice Cream Company Objects

1930s sign featuring Popsicle PeteA Topeka company made and marketed frozen treats to thousands of satisfied customers for over a century.

Just like the sign says, "Everybody likes Popsicle"—especially from Scott Brothers Ice Cream Company of Topeka.  Far more than just an ice cream store, Scott Brothers sold a wide range of dairy products for three generations. 

The company got its start in 1879, when Delana Scott asked husband Harry to make ice cream for a party.  The treat was a hit.  Encouraged by the partygoers' compliments (and struggling to make ends meet as a carpenter), Harry decided to try selling ice cream for a living.  Soon afterward, he opened the Scott Brothers Ice Cream Company with brother Will. Their business would last for a century.

Scott Brothers sign listing ice cream flavorsOriginally the Scott brothers made their product using blocks of ice harvested from the Kansas River during the winter months.  The blocks were stored in an icehouse until the summer, when they were used to make ice cream.  After their shop became successful, the brothers were able to purchase ice rather than harvesting it themselves. 

Two of Harry's four sons took over the business after World War I.  They delivered ice cream door-to-door by packing tin cans of it into ice-filled quart-sized wooden tubs.  The Scotts also delivered ice cream to the neighboring towns of Silver Lake and Rossville by wagon and train.  At their downtown Topeka store, customers could enjoy a variety of flavors served in cardboard ice cream cone trays.  There even was a special rectangular scoop for creating ice cream sandwiches. 

Cardboard cap for Scott Brothers sherbetThe Topeka company's last owner, John F. Scott, Jr., specialized in making shaped ice creams for catered events such as weddings and parties.  John packed soft ice cream into old metal molds dating from 1900 to 1930.  Once the dessert had fully hardened in the freezer, it was released from the molds to reveal perfectly shaped animals, hearts, roses, and bells. 

In addition to ice cream, Scott Brothers also provided other dairy products.  It was the first company in Topeka to offer pasteurized milk, and was the city's first Grade A dairy.  Scott also was quick to market the latest manufactured frozen treats.  In 1934 it sold Fudgsicles under their original name, "Fudgicle" (sticks pictured at bottom, left), and in 1932 sold Popsicles with the mascot Popsicle Pete (sign pictured at top, right). 

"Fudgicle" sticks from Scott Brothers Ice Cream CompanyScott Brothers closed its doors in 1979 after a century in business.  The counter was worn from the hands of thousands of customers, but third-generation owner John Scott mourned the shop’s closure less than the loss of neighborhood children's smiles when he topped a cone with their favorite ice cream flavor. 

John F. Scott, Jr., donated these materials from Scott Brothers Ice Cream Company.  They are in the collections of the Society's Kansas Museum of History.

 

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Entry: Cool Things - Ice Cream Company Objects

Author: Rebecca Martin

Date Created: July 2011

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.