Posted by Turkey Hill Team on July 16th, 2008

The ice cream soda (a.k.a the ice cream float) was invented in Philadelphia in the late 19th century by Robert Green. Mr. Green operated a soda shop in Philly and used carbonated water, syrup and cream to make his tasty treats. Legend has it, Green ran out of cream on day and instead used ice cream. Soon thereafter, his daily earnings soared from $6 to $600.

P.S. – Stay tuned, our weekly “Taste of Lancaster County” entry will be posted tomorrow!

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  1. mary frey says:


  2. Kathy P says:

    I learn so much by reading these journals daily! I all of this information so interesting and love that I can share these facts with my family too. The 7up icecream float directions is an excellent added touch to today’s journal! I look forward to reading tomorrow’s entry.

  3. CeeBee says:

    Yes! 7up floats are the way to go! I remember them well as our Sunday evening treat. I especially liked slurping up the foam—yum!

  4. Cyndee says:

    Love 7-UP!

  5. Ruth K says:

    We love floats!!!

  6. Donna McMinn says:

    My mom used to make us floats on occasion when we were little. A few weeks ago I had one the first in years, I used Turkey Hill frozen yogurt. Yum!

  7. alicelynne says:

    Some of my tastiest memories growing up included the ice cream float…..vanilla ice cream in coke with a bit of chocolate syrup was a favorite!!

  8. Debbie L says:

    Wow, Turkey Hill’s little daily history lessons are great! Who doesn’t love ice cream??!!!!

  9. Carol Triano says:

    I am glad he ran out of cream…love making ice cream sodas with my favorite Turkey Hill Ice Cream.

  10. Susan says:

    Keep the history lessons coming. It is good to know where our “favorites” have come from

  11. BETTY BABCOCK says:

    both kids and adults love ice cream sodas

  12. ida says:

    i like floats with root beer and vanilla ice cream.

  13. Jacqueline says:

    I love ice cream sodas. Interesting info. Thanks.

  14. Liz Conforti says:

    Now I know what to do with leftover 2-liter 7-UP! Put Turkey Hill Ice Cream in it-good old vanilla…
    time to see if mom has float glasses in her kitchen from when we were little so it looks as authentic as picture…

  15. Sharon says:

    there’s nothing like root beer with vanilla ice cream!

  16. Rebecca S. says:

    mmm, rootbeer floats, orange cream, YUMMY! I sure could use one right now with the heat.

  17. Charlotte Park says:

    As someone who grew up in Philadelphia, I had my share of ice cream floats. Reading about them makes me want one now.

  18. Charlotte Park says:

    As someone who grew up in Philadelphia, this brings back happy memories. I wish I could have one now.

  19. Barbara says:

    A tradition for my in-laws in the summer was to invite everyone over after the concert on Saturday nights in the Great Auditorium for root beer floats!

  20. Karen says:

    I was never a big fan of ice cream floats but the article is fun to read.

  21. Lori says:

    My husband loves ice cream floats and has a “special” cup here at home that is large enough to handle his yummy creations! As for me, just give me the ice cream, I am a purist! ha

  22. Caroline says:

    And I always thought it was invented in a luncheonette in Brooklyn. I hope no midwesterners read this since their sodas all have ice cream in it and the one without ice cream are called “POP” while here POP is ice cream on a stick which in the Midwest is a BAR. My hubby when he went to college in the midwest had to learn the definations of different things

  23. Rosemary says:

    I love ice cream floats but not with 7-Up. That doesn’t sound so good. Just give me Turkey Hill vanilla bean ice cream and coke and I am in heaven!

  24. Sue says:

    Ice cream floats remind me of the good ol’ hot & lazy days of Summer growing up. There always seemed to be 7Up & Vanilla ice cream on hand!

  25. Debbie F says:

    Root beer floats are my kids favorites.
    I love the flavor combination….that’s why love the Root Beer Duetto

  26. Deb says:

    I’d have never thought of putting ice cream in 7-up. We all grew up on root beer floats — vanilla ice cream in root beer — life doesn’t get any better!

  27. Robbin L. Netz says:

    WOW! What an enormous change in the profit margin! Mr. Green may have been unhappy the moment he ran out of cream, but totally rejoiced with the end result of using ice cream. Think about it..$600.00 a day. That is a lot of money in today’s world, to earn that much in the 19th century was probably unheard of. How many “floats” did he sell each day, and how much did a float cost? I agree the Root Beer Duetto is awesome, plus it makes an outstanding float. Also love the billboard for the Root Beer Duetto. The Duetto calf is just too cute!

  28. Judy says:

    Never heard of a float w/ 7-Up! Just good, old-fashioned root beer ice cream float.

  29. Thomas says:

    Haven’t had one in decades—think I’ll try one next week

  30. Lorraine says:

    I still remember seltzer and syrup being delivered to my grandmother’s home by the case. Great memories. Thanks for the seven-up ice cream soda recipe.

  31. lee carr says:

    this is cool news, I have to share it with my hubbie, he is a root beer float man.

  32. Dot says:

    Ya gotta love Mr. Green and his floats!

  33. Dot says:

    Cream soda and vanilla ice cream…YUM

  34. Janet Smith says:

    I can’t imagine mixing cream with soda. Ice cream is so much better.

  35. Carol says:

    My dad is 92, and he still loves root beer floats!

  36. David H says:

    1 scoop Turkey Hill French Vanilla and 1 scoop Turkey Hill Dutch Chocolate in a mug of root beer. To me, that’s a float.

  37. Paula says:

    Floats were a very special treat when I was a kid, but we always made them with our own homemade root beer and ice cream.

  38. Victoria Corum says:

    We loved black and white sodas. It was made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup and a little milk and a can of cream soda.

    OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!! what great memories.
    Love to use Turkey Hill Ice cream because it comes so sMOOOOOTH.

  39. Joe says:

    Ice cream soda yes

  40. Peg Cramer says:

    I spent my childhood in Alabama, where 7-up floats were made with lime sherbet (or orange, or lemon sherbet).

  41. Florence says:

    Turkey Hill floats are the “cream of
    the crop”!

  42. Carol Byrnes says:

    I grew up in a little ice cream shop with root beer floats—- root bee soda with vanilla ice cream and a little milk!!! mmmmmmm good!!!

  43. Stefanie Schmidt says:

    Wow these floats look so good! Any float tastes great with Turkey Hill. This ice cream really “floats” my boat.

  44. jane says:

    To me any kind of ice cream, i put the ice cream in a bowl pour the soda over it best refresing drink ever, but i eat it with a spoon.

  45. beccah says:

    My kids LOVE rootbeer floats. It’s the ultimate reward for a good job done!

  46. Raymond P says:

    Interesting story. Now that I know the instructions for making one, I’ll have to give it a try!

  47. Mary Lou says:

    I like “Birch Beer Floats” Pennsylvania Birch Beer and Turkey Hill Vanilla Ice Cream YUMMY!

  48. Jackie P. says:

    I love a Dr Pepper float :)…you can use either vanilla or chocolate and is it ever good!

  49. Deb says:

    It has been so great to read all of this history and see the old ads. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  50. Eileen Grumbine says:

    Ice cream…….love it…..sometimes
    when it’s hot I have waffles and ice cream for breakfast……minus the waffles….think I’ll try the a little
    root beer and start my day with a fizz.

  51. Susan C says:

    I LOVE rootbeer floats and chocolate ice cream sodas-YUM!!!!

  52. Lois S says:

    Our Sr. Center has “beer and pizza” nights . Of course the “beer” is root beer floats. With pizza? Yummy

  53. KAREN says:

    Our parish runs a vacation bible school each summer, and this year a root beer float was one of the snacks – it was an instant hit! The adult leaders were going back for more!

  54. Vonnie in VA says:

    You know it’s really true “You learn something new every day” – Thanks for sharing these history lessons. I love to hear about how things got started. I’ve had lots of ginger ale floats, but I don’t think I’ve ever used 7-up. My all-time favorite is root beer floats with vanilla Turkey Hill ice cream. I think I’ll fix me one tonight!

  55. joannie says:

    back in the late 40s when i was a kid, mom would buy coke and dixie cups and make the floats. the best!

  56. pamela w says:

    I LOVE rootbeer floats. We use to get them at the teen hang out when I was a teenager back in the 60’s. Great stuff and still to this day having some.

  57. Jeffrey Hersh says:

    Ice cream floats were one of the greatest treats of my youth.

  58. JJ says:

    As a kid we used to stop at a local drug store that had a “soda Fountain” hand dipped ice cream and Ice Cream Soda’s were a great treat.

  59. brenda says:

    Good Morning to all Turkey Hill fan,
    I did not know that. I am happy to say he ran out of cream. Now I know turkey hill make the best ice cream soda….Turkey hill why don’t you come up with a recipe call Turkey Hill Ice cream soda, ice cream. I know it would sale and taste good too. Again turkey hill think’s for the history on ice cream soda.

  60. mary frey says:


  61. Will says:

    When we moved to California in the early 1950’s the local soft serve sold Vernors freeze – Vernors Ginger Ale and soft serve mixed like a malter. My father found this to be a most refreshing drink.

  62. Vikki C. says:

    I love reading your stories about the history of different things, more please!!

  63. Ed B says:

    Good thing he ran out of cream, made a great treat

  64. Gloria says:

    We’re having a 90+ heat wave here in PA so an ice cream soda sounds wonderful…even at 9:00 in the morning…of course, I want Turkey Hill ice cream in it!

  65. Ernie says:

    I like ice cream soda’s with cream (vanilla) soda but I think I like thick milk shakes just a little better.

  66. Elizabeth says:

    Mmmmmm yummy. And good facts to know.

  67. Carolyn says:

    A double shot of sugar!

  68. Ella says:

    You are bringing back so may delightful and delectable memories of the past!

  69. Denise says:

    hmmm so where did the root beer float come from?

  70. Bonnie Traher says:

    Sounds really good right about now.

  71. Niecarrah says:

    I certainly am glad he thought of a float, Love ’em!

  72. Carroll Good says:

    I just recently subscribed to the Ice Cream Journal and find it interesting, informative and fun. Thanks for a great web site.

  73. Maryann says:

    Ice Cream Floats are GREAT! My mom is 94 and once a week she likes to have a root beer float. She enjoys them soooo much. She will say “How about a float”. When shes finished the ice cream is always on the tip of her nose, cause she slurps out the last bit! Thank you Mr. Green.

  74. Sarah says:

    My way of having a great refreshing treat without all the calories is to combine TH vanilla frozen yogurt with diet black cherry cola. Munch a few pretzels with that and you have a guilt free treat. Of course the lazy way to have a float is to just scoop up a dish of root beer Duetto.

  75. paul says:

    I love the new light moose tracks,,, just awsum

  76. Bert says:


  77. Dani says:

    Don’t you just love those happy accidents… didn’t know it happened in Philly! Woot!

    My favorite ice cream soda is a root beer with vanilla bean — yum!

  78. Sherry alias moosetracks says:

    Great Job, Mr. Green!

  79. Jennifer says:

    Mr. Green’s a genius!hehe

  80. Kathleen Giampetro says:

    Philly and Mr. Green, perfect together!
    Ice cream sodas are great but ice cream alone, especially if it is Turkey Hill Strawberries and Cream, is terrific!!!!!

  81. Keller Family says:

    I love using Turkey Hill’s Vanilla and pouring Cherokee Red pop on it….yummy~!

  82. Heidi says:

    Hey Eileen-ice cream for breakfast? Now don’t be giving me such good and dangerous ideas!!! One thing is for sure- you can always count on these blog comments and TH to put a smile on your face!

  83. Rose says:

    Icecream floats? Yummy, never thought of 7 up. Rootbeer or coke is the best with vanilla bean.

  84. Bob Kessler Jr says:

    It’ hard to improve on an ice cream float. Of course that’s always true when you use Turkey Hill.

  85. Terri D says:

    UMMM, it is hot outside, I am thirsty, I have some Turkey Hill Vanilla ice cream and some rootbeer, I think I need a float right now!!! I have not had one in ages!!! Byeeeeeee

  86. Ms. H. Golightly Perlo says:

    Came in out of Manhattan’s heat, humidity, and bad-air-alert and
    revived with TURKEY HILL ICE CEAM flavor BLACK RASPBERRY and a fresh Banana. Perked up my electrolytes and my taste buds and my spirits AGAIN!

  87. peg says:

    I never made icream floats. But it is never too late to try..

  88. Nancy N says:

    I love ice cream floats, especially root beer! Great on a hot day like today!

  89. Cheryl W says:

    Glad someone came up with this recipe! Although I do like root beer better than 7-up with ice cream.

  90. Nancy N says:

    I love ice cream floats, especially root beer! Great on a hot day like today!

  91. marie giase says:

    Root beer floats bring back great memories. They were great then, and are still a favorite of mine. I love making them for my grandchildren as a special treat either with vanilla or chocolate Turkey Hill Ice Cream.

  92. Debbie L says:

    Keep these history lessons coming. History is really interesting when it’s something as great as ice cream!

  93. Diane says:

    yes I do and I love it all…. no matter the day… or the time

  94. Meghan says:

    I have never heard of ice cream mixed with any other flavored soda besides root beer before. I like the 7-up and ice cream combo idea so much better because I never liked root beer so I could never enjoy the floats. I think I am going to make one of those refreshing treats for myself right now!

  95. Pat says:

    I haven’t had an ice cream soda in years. I think I will go get some Turkey Hill and make one!

  96. Jackie Ford says:

    It’s alwyas interesting to learn how things come to exist. What’s more intersitng is that a lot of recipes comw about as a reuslt of a mistake or need to substitute.

  97. Debbie S. says:


  98. h tina says:

    i had no idea about ice cream and pennsylvania history. i am learning alot from the ice cream journal. every time our grandchildren come to visit they say gram can we have ice cream. we love turkey hill vanilla and chocolate.

  99. Linda L. Leffler says:

    I got my Turkey Hill Jr. Mint yesterday, OMG it is great. I bought 5 boxes of it, I want to make sure I have it on hand when my Nephews son and wife come here tomorrow for a visit, they live in Ohio. Turkey Hill is the best. Linda

  100. Betty Seidel says:

    A brownie, ice cream, chocolate syrup and a cherry
    Is fun, delicious and makes the day merry!

  101. Steve R says:

    Still make the Orange and Root Beer floats with Turkey Hill Vanilla. Nothing better on a hot summer night.

  102. Barbie says:

    one of the best treats we had at birthday parties as a kid were ice cream sodas with root beer and vanilla ice cream. bring on the memories with turkey hill.

  103. Christina M. says:

    My favorite thing to do is to make ice cream floats with Rootbeer Duetto and Rootbeer sodad!!! It’s incredible!!

  104. Mary says:

    My husband and son love root beer floats. Whenever we can we make them–if we’re not making milk shakes instead.

  105. Lisa c. pasternak says:

    just got back from lancaster county, wish i did my homework before i left so we could’ve found the turkey hill plant and taken a tour. loved seeing T.H. flavors in the T.H. Minit Markets that we don’t have in NJ. As for the ice cream sodas, some of the best things in life come from a creation of necessity!

  106. Lisa c. pasternak says:

    Necessity is the mother of invention! Some of the best things in life are made that way!

  107. Kelly Grabey says:

    What a neat ad! I wish that would be available as a tin picture! Now I’m craving a root beer float. Guess it’s a trip to the store for root beer and Turkey Hill vanilla ice cream!

  108. Mary O says:

    As traditional for kids’ birthday parties as Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Clothespins in the Bottle was ice cream soda fizzing over the rim of a paper cup, with everyone laughing and acting surprised as mom changed the paper table cloth. Thank you, Mr. Green.

  109. Anne King says:

    My father loved floats! He used whatever soda he had in the refrigerator. Fond memories for me-thank you.

  110. Kim says:

    My husband loves to make a float in his bowl using Turkey Hill Black Raspberry Ice Cream and any kind of clear soda like sprite or gingerale.

  111. Linda L. Leffler says:

    I had a small restaurant and I can’t tell you how many floats I made in a day. Most of them were for older folks. I just love to put Turkey Hill in my White Birch Beer. Linda

  112. kai k says:

    ice-cream is the most perfect food there is!

  113. torry says:

    go ice cream go ice cream

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  115. […] also National Ice Cream Soda Day— you can even make one with […]

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  124. Kevin B says:

    I have had several types of ice cream floats that I love. I just tonight had one made with strawberry soda and strawberry ice cream. Dairy Queen used to make a wonderful butterscotch soda, made with butterscotch syrup, soda water, and soft serve ice cream. They don’t make them any more. And for a root beer float you can’t do better than an A&W root beer float. And my mom used to talk about her favorite, the Purple Cow. It’s made of grape soda and vanilla ice cream. Be creative!

  125. […] Day Calendar and Days of the Year agree that June 20th is the day. As does the Ice Cream Journal. As focused on All Things American-Victorian as I am, I had to wonder where and how the traditions […]

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