(Photo: Anja Johnson)
That's about 7,290,000 gallons of slushy sugar! It's taken a long time to get this point. Zachary Crockett has written a brief history of the treat that is an icon of lazy, hot summer days in the United States.
It all started with Omar Knedlik, a struggling businessman from humble origins. He owned a Dairy Queen in Kansas. Knedlik didn't have a soda fountain, so he kept bottles of soda in his freezer. They'd get slushy if he didn't mind them carefully, but his customers actually seemed to like the chilly drinks.
Knedlik saw an opportunity to make money, so he spent 5 years working with an air conditioning manufacturing company to develop a machine that would produce the ideal drink:
Five years of trial and error ensued, resulting in a contraption that utilized an automobile air conditioning unit to replicate a slushy consistency. The machine featured a separate spout for each flavor (only two at this point), and a “tumbler” which constantly rotated the contents to keep them from becoming a frozen block.
Knedlik's marketers dubbed the product "ICEE." His ICEE company eventually licensed its product as "Slurpee" to the 7-Eleven company. As that chain swept across the United States in the 1960s and 70s, so did Slurpees.
-via American Digest