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How Zeroll churned out the only ice cream scoop worth buying

There's no industry standard pizza cutter. You won't find the same brand of spatula in use at most burger joints. And Italian restaurants haven't settled on a particular cheese grater. But go to just about any ice cream parlor, and you're likely to see  Zeroll-brand ice cream scoops in use behind the counter.

As legend has it, Sherman Kelly came up with the idea for the iconic ice cream scoop in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1932, after noticing an employee at an ice cream parlor with blisters on their serving hand after hours of digging through frozen-solid ice cream.

While Alfred L. Cralle had patented the original ice cream scoop all the way back in 1897, its one-handed release mechanism only solved the issue of ice cream sticking to the spoon; it did nothing to make the process of scooping easier. But Kelly's Zeroll Ice Cream Dipper, released widely in 1935, was a single piece of metal, with no mechanical parts that could wear out, get dirty, or prove difficult for left handers to operate.

The secret to the Zeroll scoop was the inclusion of a food-safe, heat-conductive liquid in the core of the handle. Within moments of grabbing onto the Zeroll dipper, the heat from the operator's hand is transfered throughout the spoon, allowing the scoop to cut through hard-packed ice cream with surprising ease, and release it without the aid of a spring-loaded sweeper.

Over 80 years later, Zeroll remains the industry standard scoop (just ask Serious Eats, or The Wirecutter, or Epicurious), and hasn't significantly changed since it was first released. You can add it to your own kitchen for under $20 in multiple sizes, including a 2 oz. scoop that's ideal for small sugar cones, and a 4 oz. scoop that's better suited for bowls. And for anyone that packs their own pints with homemade ice cream, the brand also sells an ice cream spade that features the same fluid-filled handle.


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