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Penny Licks
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London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road King's Cross
London N1 9RT
United Kingdom

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Penny Licks

Licking Glasses or "Penny Licks," thus named because vendors sold them for a penny, were small servings of ice cream that became popular in the mid 19th and early 20th century. The glass of these 'penny licks' was very thick with a very shallow depression in the top, to give an illusion of more ice cream in per serving than was actually there.

Licking glasses were banned in London in 1899, due to the belief that glasses (which were given back to the vendor after use) were not cleaned well enough and that they were causing the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

Did you know?
The questions of hygiene surrounding these licking glasses, led ice cream vendors to seek out alternatives, paving the way for the invention of the ice cream cone!
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