[Ads-l] "Banana Split" - Slight antedating, September 1905

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 12 19:48:51 UTC 2023

Great work, Peter and Barry.
This June 1905 citation might be of interest, It describes a
concoction with overlapping ingredients called a "Coney Island"
consisting of a banana split in two, ice cream, nuts, fruit, and
sherbet. It was sold at a soda fountain in Cleveland, Ohio.

Peter mentioned he already had earlier citations for desserts made
with similar ingredients, but it might be useful to have the name
"Coney Island" for this concoction. Note: whipped cream was not

Date: June 17, 1905
Newspaper: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Newspaper Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Article: Jap Suey Sundae: A Very Popular Dish of Refreshment—The
Modern Soda Fountain Furnishes Many Novel Beverages
Quote Page 12, Column 1
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
The modern soda fountain is no longer simply a place to get a little
carbonated water with some flavored syrup In it, like the one of a
decade ago.
. . .
One of the most efficient dispensers in the country is Mr. Slinghart,
who has charge of the Soda Fountain for Tho Standard Drug Co. in their
new Store corner Euclid ave. and Erie st., in the Schofleld building.
. . .
Another popular Sundae, especially with the ladies, is called "Coney
Island" and consists of a banana split in two with a mold of ice cream
at one end and sherbet at the other and fruit or nut salad in center.
More words cannot do justice to this toothsome dish.
[End excerpt]


On Tue, Apr 11, 2023 at 5:15 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Barry Popik has “banana split” from October 9, 1905, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
> https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/banana_split
> I found “banana split” from September 28, 1905, in Boston, Massachusetts, in a report of the national convention of the National Association of Retail Druggists, held September 18-22 that year.
> [Begin Excerpt]The Murray Co. showed a complete line of soda water flavors, so complete that they had undertaken to supply the big Puffer “Constellation” fountain in the next booth with everything used or which might be called for. . . . A “banana split” was the piece de resistance of their menu.[End Excerpt]
> Pharmaceutical Era, Volume 34, Number 13, September 28, 1905, page 305. (HathiTrust)
> The appearance of “banana split” in a report from the convention is significant (to the extent that anything about the history of the banana split can be significant) in that it is consistent with another early reference, from Soda Fountain magazine in October 1906, that refers to the banana split being popularized there, and includes comments from a Boston soda dispenser apparently describing how he invented the dessert a little more than a year before October 1906.  That article is difficult to find – HathiTrust has many years of Soda Fountain magazine, but not that year.  The only excerpts from it are quoted in a few newspaper articles, and a more extensive excerpt in a book called Ice Cream Joe, which I accessed through interlibrary loan.
> Nearly all of the very early examples of “banana split” appear in Boston or New England, or nearby, references, suggesting the Boston origin may be correct.
> However, most ice cream “historians” (to the extent there are such things) credit a guy named David Strickler, from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, with inventing in 1904 – a full year before the NARD convention.
> I wrote a blog post documenting my slight antedating, and analyzing the Latrobe claims.  I am not convinced.  The only documentary evidence in support of the 1904 date is a letter Strickler wrote in 1959 in an effort to get on the TV show, I’ve Got a Secret – his big secret was that he invented the “banana split.”  Other details of the story he told over the years do not match contemporary reporting.  The pharmacy he worked at, and later owned, did not have a soda fountain until 1905.  The person he claimed introduced his invention to the rest of the East coast, through medical school classmates in Philadelphia, did not go to medical school until two years after the banana split appeared in Boston, and soon afterward other places.
> I also found references to a dessert made with bananas split lengthwise, with chilled whipped cream on top – very similar to a banana split, eight years earlier.
> My blog post for anyone interested.
> https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2023/04/banana-split-personalities-who-invented.html
> Interestingly, to me at least, is that I ran across the early banana split antedating while researching the history of paper cups a couple months ago.  The first widely marketed paper cup was given away as free samples at the 1905 NARD convention in Boston, at the same time the first (or very early) banana splits were being served at the same convention.  The history of the paper cup is also different from the one generally repeated by paper cup “historians.”
> My post about the history of paper cups: https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2023/03/rewriting-pulp-fiction-unabridged.html
> Also interestingly, the man who invented machines to make some of the early dixie cup-style paper cups was the same man who invented the stapler, gave the first showing of a projected “movie” and also, believe it or not, invented the paper Chinese takeout container.
> https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2023/02/chinese-food-staplers-and-oysters.html
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