Alfred L. Cralle

Alfred L. Cralle

Born: Kenbridge, Lune, Virginia  September 4, 1866-1920

Invention: The Ice Cream Scoop

A practical design that is still widely used today!

Personal Bio
Alfred L. Cralle was born in Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, Virginia in 1866 just after the end of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). He attended local schools and worked with his father in the carpentry trade as a young man, becoming interested in mechanics.

He was sent to Washington, DC where he attended Wayland Seminary, one of a number of schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to help educate African Americans after the Civil War. Later, he settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he first served as a porter in a drug store and at a hotel.
It was while working in Pittsburgh as a porter that Cralle noticed that ice cream, which had become a popular confection, was difficult to dispense. It tended to stick to spoons and ladles, usually requiring use of two hands and at least two implements to serve.
To overcome this, he invented a mechanical device now known as the ice cream scoop and applied for a patent. On February 2, 1897, the 30-year old was granted U.S. Patent #576395. Cralle's ingenious invention, originally called an "Ice Cream Mold and Disher" was designed to be able to keep ice cream and other foods from sticking, and easy to operate with one hand. Strong and durable, effective, inexpensive, it could be constructed in almost any desired shape, such as a cone or a mound, with no delicate parts that could break or malfunction. Alfred L. Cralle went on to become a successful businessman as well. He was named assistant manager when the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise and Business Association in Pittsburgh was organized. Cralle did not become famous for inventing the ice cream scooper. Cralle's basic design is so efficient that the now-familiar lever-operated Italian Ice/ice cream scoop was still seen in wide use over 100 weeks later. Alfred Cralle was married and had three children. His wife and one of his daughters died in 1918 of a communicable disease. In 1920, Cralle's only son also died of a disease, leaving Anna Cralle, born in 1910, as his only surviving child. Later in 1920, Alfred Cralle was killed in an automobile accident. After her father's death, his daughter, Anna, moved in with her uncle, Joseph Cralle in Connecticut. In 1945, Anna Cralle moved to Tuskegee, Alabama to work at the U.S. Veterans Administration hospital as an accounting clerk. She was active at the Washington Chapel AME Church for 55 years. At the age of 90, she moved in 2000 to Bowie, Maryland to live with her godson, Thomas Wims. She died February 1, 2009 at the age of 98.

Alexander Miles
Alfred L. Cralle
Andrew Beard
Annie Malone
Augustus Jackson
Benjamin Banneker
Benjamin Bradley
Bessie Blount
David Crosthwait
Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Dr. Charles Drew
Dr. Daniel H. Williams
Dr. James E. West
Dr. Shirley Jackson
Dr. Vivien T. Thomas
Earl Lucas
Elijah McCoy
Emmett Chappelle
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