I. The Beginnings of Dairy Queen
The founders of Dairy Queen's famous soft serve ice cream, John Fremont 'Grandpa' McCullough and his son Alex McCullough, originally established the Homemade Ice Cream Company in 1927 in Davenport, Iowa. The father and son duo originally sold an assortment of ice cream products in and around places like Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, until the need to expand in the early 1930's caused the McCullough's to decide to relocate their ice cream mix plant to a former cheese factory in Green River, Illinois. The process the McCullough's used to make ice cream was difficult and complex:
Butterfat, milk solids, sweetener, and stabilizer were first combined, then mixed, and finally put into a batch freezer where the combination was chilled, given a specific amount of air (technically called 'overrun'), and flavored. The product was denser and richer than most ice creams, with less overrun. When the temperature reached 23 degrees Fahrenheit, a spigot was opened in the freezer and the soft ice cream flowed into three- gallon containers. The containers were covered with lids, frozen at minus-ten degrees Fahrenheit, and delivered to customers. When an ice cream store was ready to serve the product, the ice cream was put into a dipping cabinet and the temperature increased to five degrees Fahrenheit. (IDQ 1920-40)
At the time, ice cream was frozen solid to accommodate manufacturers and store owners when they transferred the ice cream from one location to another location. However, when ice cream is served at such cold temperatures, it causes consumers taste buds to become numb which, subsequently, meant that consumers could not get the full flavor of the ice cream. Grandpa McCullough knew this and he also knew that ice cream tasted best when the fresh, soft ice cream is drawn from the spigot in the vicinity of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, so he set out to find a way that ice cream could be served in a partially frozen state that would also maintain it's form. Grandpa McCullough soon found that the batch freezers he and his son used to make ice cream did not work satisfactorily to store the new soft serve ice cream. Not only was a completely new freezer design needed but any store that desired to sell the revolutionary product would first have to purchase and install the new freezer units. After deciding that the effort needed to follow through on this new concept would be infeasible, Grandpa McCullough gave up on the idea. (IDQ 1920-40)
A few years later, Grandpa McCullough decided to give his new idea a test run after all and see how the public would respond to the new soft serve ice cream. He talked his son and one of his friends and customers, Sherb Noble, to run an “All You Can Eat for 10 cents” trial sale at Noble's walk-in ice cream store on August 4, 1938 in Kankakee, Illinois. They used a normal commercial batch freezer to put the soft ice cream into five gallon...