The Greek who brought revolution with machine ice cream to America

Thomas Karvelas or Tom Carvel through an accident, managed to become the "king of ice cream"

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Can a simply unfortunate moment become the occasion for something big, something great that will bring you to the top? Maybe yes maybe no. In his case, however Thomas Karvela (or Tom Carvel) only the first applies.

And a flat tire was the reason or rather the idea for the demon Greek immigrant in America, not only to live his dream, but to be the tangible proof of what an "American dream" is. And from one moment to the next to bring revolution to its market ice cream and become its "king", introducing Americans to new habits.

Thomas Karvelas was born in 1904 in Athens. At the age of 4, his family decided to immigrate to America, specifically to New York, for a better life. The first time was not easy, but over the years his father managed to "push" in the period of prohibition supplied Greek restaurants in New York with wine.

As for Thomas himself, for the livelihood of the family, from an early age he went out into the bio-fight doing various chores. He started working for a car company, however, when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and doctors advised him to move to an area outside New York. Eventually it turned out that the doctor's opinion was wrong.

Tom Carvel, as he was now called, had shown from a young age that he was a demonic mind, with a business acumen. Until he tried to make ready-to-sell chicken coops, while trying his luck in music as a member of a jazz band.

At 26, he moved to Westchester where he got a job as a driver in an ice cream truck. And this work was the beginning of its subsequent establishment. In fact, he had to borrow $ 15 from his wife to buy his own truck and take to the streets selling ice cream.

Until a flat tire gave him the big idea…

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It was the summer of 1934 when Carvel was driving his van on the streets of New York. On a very hot day, his truck had a flat tire and the ice cream he was carrying was in danger of melting under the hot sun.

So he ran to a nearby pottery store to get electricity and save his wares. But that had almost melted. The demonic Greek, however, was not discouraged and started selling it. Passers-by loved this kind of almost melted ice cream and within a short time, Carvel sold all his merchandise.

In fact, it is said that that day, he put $ 3.600 in his pocket, an outrageous amount for that time. And that was it. The demonic Greek had just conceived an incredible idea. To sell to the world this almost melted ice cream or soft ice cream.

For the next two years, at the point where his truck tire burst, he set up his counter, selling (or rather selling) the ice cream that had excited people. In fact, thanks to his mechanical knowledge, he built a machine in which he made with confectionery cream, the well-known ice cream machine, further securing the patent.

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After the end of World War II, his business began to grow rapidly. Within a short time he sold the ice cream machine in stores in America. And in 1947 he moved on to another advanced idea: the company's franchise, while also founding his own school, where he trained new employees.

In the following years, Tom Carvell, the Greek child of America, saw his business become an empire and call himself the "king of ice cream". And for good reason, by 1980 there were more than 700 stores on the East Coast.

He always had an active role and never sat comfortably in the big boss's chair. He came out ahead, and because he believed that image played a key role in promoting products, he was the first general manager of a company to star in television and radio commercials.

When asked why he took the initiative to become the protagonist, he replied with humor: "I could not find someone cheaper than me." Seriously, though, Tom Carvel believed that advertising of products should be aimed at people who look like themselves. "Our commercials are aimed at people who look like us, talk like us and sound like us," he used to say.

Carvel ice cream is especially popular in America. In fact, they appeared in episodes of Simpsons, but also many TV series. While they are consistently one of the favorites of consumers, young and old.

In the early 80's he started making original ice cream cakes, as he always wanted to make a difference. These cakes had original shapes, such as that of "Santa Claus" and of course they were also breathtaking.

Professionally, Tom Carvel reached the top, making an untold fortune. In his personal life, he and his wife failed to have children. He died in 1990 at the age of 84, and it is said that a year ago he tried - unsuccessfully - to change his will, as he suspected that his lawyer and secretary were acting behind his back.

In fact, for many years his niece was in a legal dispute with his uncle's employees, whom he suspected of embezzlement, while leaving suspicions that her uncle did not die of natural causes. She even asked for an exhumation, but the judicial authorities rejected her request.

A story that had many aspects…