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Who Really Invented the Ice Cream Soda?

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WikimediaCommons // Darin House // CC BY 2.0

Happy Ice Cream Soda Day! It's unfortunate that we don't know who exactly invented the beloved sweet treat, because if we did, we could have one in his honor. Though Robert McCay Green is the guy who generally gets credit for the fizzy concoction, at least three others have claimed the idea was originally theirs. Here are their stories.

Robert McCay Green

Even though Green usually gets the recognition, there are still two versions of his story. In one, Green was a vendor at an exhibition in Philadelphia in 1874, serving sweet cream sodas to customers. His stand was so popular that he ran out of sweet cream and was unable to purchase more on short notice. He was able to find ice cream, however, and figured it would be a good substitute once it melted. But customers were anxiously awaiting their sodas, and Green decided that scoops of ice cream would have to do. By the end of the exhibition, he was doing $400 a day in ice cream sodas.

The other story, a first-hand account that’s likely more reliable, says that Green was simply trying to come up with a way to make his soda fountain stand out from others at the exhibition. He stumbled upon his ice cream soda idea while observing people enjoying ice cream with a glass of plain water at a local confectionery. Wondering why no one had ever thought to combine carbonated soda water with ice cream, Green came up with 16 soda combinations to serve with vanilla ice cream at the exhibition. After a shaky first day, word spread, and the ice cream soda became a hit.

Fred Sanders

Fred Sanders of Sanders Candy in Detroit also claimed that he invented the ice cream soda when his store ran out of sweet cream. He substituted ice cream, and voilà! The ice cream soda was born. Sanders didn’t open his store until 1875, however, so we have to give Green the edge on this one.

To be fair, the sweet cream/ice cream substitution makes perfect sense—so much sense, in fact, that seems entirely feasible that two different people could have thought of it independently.

Philip Mohr

Confectioner and baker Philip Mohr's ice cream soda story starts in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1862, when a local banker asked Mohr if he could somehow make his flavored soda water a little colder. Mohr sometimes mixed his own soda water with a little bit of ice cream and thought perhaps the concoction would fit the bill for his customer. He was right—the banker loved the drink and urged Mohr to consider opening a soda fountain in the financial district of New York. Mohr declined, but the banker spread the word to all of his high-powered financial friends, and ice cream sodas were soon in demand across the country.

George Guy

Finally, there’s George Guy. Guy worked for Robert Green at his Philadelphia fountain and was preparing two separate orders—a dish of ice cream and a glass of vanilla soda water. In his haste to get the orders finished, Guy accidentally dropped the ice cream into the soda water. He was getting ready to throw it out when the customer asked for a taste. It turned out to be delicious, and thus, the ice cream soda was born. Guy moved to Seattle in 1888 and set up his own soda fountain, where he liked to tell people the story of how he invented the delicious dessert.

If getting the last word counts for anything, Green definitely wins—his will specified that “Here lies the originator of the ice cream soda” be engraved on his tombstone.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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