Couple crafts ice cream from 1900 equipment |

Couple crafts ice cream from 1900 equipment

Kelly Ragan
Greeley Tribune
Marvin and Violet Knopp work to make ice cream Sunday using the hit and miss ice cream churn Marvin restored. The wagon and engine are both from 1900.
By Kelly Ragan/ |

Making ice cream used to require a hand crank, ice, salt and a lot of elbow grease.

Marvin and Violet Knopp, both 85, brought some of those old methods back Sunday for the Adventure Seventh Day Adventist Church’s fourth annual Summer Fiesta.

Marvin restored a wagon, built in 1900, that his son-in-law bought from an antique dealer. The original wood rotted badly in a century. Now, the green and yellow wagon has shiny new wood and is back in action. Marvin rebuilt it by looking at old designs and systems. Wheels and gears sit mounted on the wagon.

“When I saw it, I didn’t know how he was going to put it together,” Violet said.

But he did.

“It was pretty complicated,” Marvin said. “I wanted to make it look like new again.”

Once he got a hold of a one-cylinder engine built in 1900, Marvin set off to make ice cream.

“They call it a hit-miss engine,” said Dan Oster, who was also at the celebration. “The big fly wheels are what carries the momentum between the time it fires and the time it’s coasting.”

Marvin and Violet poured the smooth, white cream into a metallic cylinder. A pulley attached to the top of the cylinder once it was closed and rotated it. Marvin poured ice into the barrel surrounding the cylinder, and Violet sprinkled salt onto the ice, making it colder.

It’s no surprise the two worked together well as they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

Oster remembers when hand-crank ice cream makers were standard at every party. They’d take turns cranking until it became too hard and solid to crank. That meant the ice cream was done.

“This is the first one I’ve seen with an engine,” he said.

With the engine, the ice cream took a little more than 40 minutes to make.

Marvin’s restored five tractors. The oldest one was a 1935 John Deere. His fascination with rebuilding things started when he was 9 years old. Then, he rebuilt a little red wagon.

“I’m getting pretty old,” he said. “I can’t do it anymore.”

When he finally clasped the scoop in his hand, excited bystanders hollered the ice cream was ready.

Children laughed and squealed and ran to get their scoop. Some loaded it up with syrup and sprinkles.

Cory Alejandro, 11, squirted chocolate sauce on his scoop.

“Now this is ice cream,” he said.

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