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In 1897, African-American inventor Alfred Cralle patented the first ice cream scoop. His basic design is so efficient that the now-familiar lever-operated Italian Ice/ice cream scoop was still seen in wide use over 100 years later. Cralle, who was a native of Virginia, was married and had three children. His wife and one of his daughters died in 1918 of a communicable disease. In 1920, Cralle’s only son also died of a disease, leaving Anna Cralle, born in 1910, as his only surviving child. Later in 1920, Alfred Cralle was killed in an automobile accident.