A snow cone machine is a device that creates shaved ice for snow cones. Although it is possible to make snow cones with a small blender, snow cone machines are necessary for making and selling these desserts in bulk.
Common snow cone features include slanted interiors to draw water away from ice and tinted side panels to slow melting. Snow cones machines are commonly seen at festivals, fairs and other special events, particularly during the summer months. They are also often found at movie theaters and amusement parks. These machines are popular fundraising tools for nonprofit organizations as making snow cones is a simple task that is easy to learn.
Shaved ice desserts became popular in Baltimore by the 1870s. During the Great Depression, these treats were adopted nationwide as they were among the cheapest desserts available. Snow cones saw another boost in popularity during World War II. During the war, ice cream was scarce as it was sent overseas for military service members. As a readily available replacement dessert, snow cones soon became popular with people of all ages. In some parts of the United States, a distinction is made between snowballs and snow cones, which are made from grittier, less fine ice shavings.