Italo Marchioni was an Italian immigrant who worked on Wall Street – selling ice creams. Although business was tickety-boo, the cups and containers were a problem: when they didn’t get broken by careless customers, they had to be washed… which was a hassle. So, on 15 December 1903, Italo Marchiony (his name had already been Americanised) deposited his patent for moulding apparatuses to be used in the manufacture of ice cream wafer cups.
In those days if you heard the word “toot” near an ice cream push cart in Manhattan, it meant that there was an Italian there urging someone to eat up “tutto” (all) his/her ice cream.
Marchioni’s edible cups however ended up leaving a somewhat bitter aftertaste in his own mouth. After being awarded the patent, his paternity of the invention was contested in court. No doubt a lot of trial notes, scribbled by many a pettifogger, got crumpled up and thrown into the waste-paper basket: they certainly didn’t make it as design items into the MoMA where, on the other hand, Italo and his cone have conquered a rightful place.