The Birth of a Soft-Serve Empire
There’s a charm in remembering the past, the life we once knew. Picture Leo Morans, a bright-eyed graduate with a mechanical engineering degree from Chicago, starting his journey in the world of electric refrigeration. In the early 50s, he crosses paths with Harry Axene, an ex-employee of the Dairy Queen chain. Together, they mold an innovative idea – Tastee-Freez – a soft-serve pump that would revolutionize the ice cream world.
From Novelty to Necessity
The 1950s were an era of swift service and speedy consumption. Morans and Axene’s creation perfectly fit the bill, allowing ice cream shops to offer faster service and a superior product. Instead of merely selling their invention, the duo astutely used it as a stepping stone to enter the restaurant business more directly. It’s fascinating to ponder the moment when the number of Tastee-Freez franchises skyrocketed from 315 in 1952 to nearly 1800 across the country by 1957.
The Creamy Revelation
Although Tastee-Freez’s soft-serve might bear a striking resemblance to ice cream, it isn’t ice cream at all. It’s a frothy wonder, devoid of eggs but filled with air, making it lighter and, dare we say, more delightful than its denser cousin. There’s no doubt about it – the soft-serve was an exciting novelty for the consumers of the 1950s, and Tastee-Freez was a trailblazer in introducing it to a large fan base.
A Twist in the Tale
As Jesus had his share of trials, so too did Tastee-Freez. After an unsuccessful expansion venture into England, the company found itself declaring bankruptcy. Yet, it rose again, like the Phoenix from the ashes, under the guidance of Herbert Mullner, the assistant to Morans. The chain was revamped, older stores were closed, and hot dogs and hamburgers were introduced, diversifying the menu.
Today and Beyond
Despite the ups and downs, Tastee-Freez remains a beloved part of our shared past. Even today, you can find their soft-serve being served at select locations across the country. Because, sometimes, all it takes is a spoonful of soft-serve to transport you back to the sunny afternoons of yesteryears, when the sweet melody of an approaching ice cream truck was the highlight of your day. So why not revisit those memories? Watch the video below, like it, and share it with your friends.