Which was your favourite? Jelly tip? Trumpet? Rocky Road?
They were some of the Tip Top flavours of our childhoods. And we admit we still love them today.
So where did they begin?
In 1936, Len Malaghan and his wife Ann opened a store specialising in milkshakes and ice creams on Wellington’s Manners St. The Home of Tip Top ice cream. And was so successful that within months they had a string of stores.
Leonard Aloysius Patrick Malaghan was born in Queenstown on February 18, 1906, the son of Patrick and Nellie.
He is now better known as the man the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is named after. He had Hodgkin’s disease, which he died of in 1967 and his wife Ann donated £200,000 of shares of the company to the Wellington Medical Research Foundation. The gift was used to establish what is now the Institute.
As a young man Len was a cheese and butter maker at the Tapanui Co-Operative Dairy Factory. He was qualified to become a manager at 20 but was considered too young. Instead, he was given the opportunity to train under a visiting ice cream manufacturer from the US.
Ice cream became a passion and he created his own recipe.
While he opened the store with his wife, he and his friend Albert Hayman (a customer of his ice cream) created the company.
By 1949 they had a fleet of refrigerated trucks with the iconic Tip Top signage on them.
It was in the 1950’s that they started making the ice creams on a stick that we all remember.
The first was the Topsy (rumoured to be named after Len’s favourite cow) - a simple chocolate coated vanilla ice cream.
Then, in 1953 a factory was opened in Johnsonville.
The Eskimo pie was launched in 1954 then the Strawberry Toppa.
The Wellington and Auckland arms were initially separate but in 1960 they merged, becoming General Foods Corporation with Len as the managing director.
The Trumpet launched in 1964 before the company was bought by Watties.
Popsicles didn't come about until the 1970s. Remember them? The Popsicle band where each flavour represented a different rocker.
It was in 1985 that one of the most famous ads in New Zealand aired featuring a 16-year-old Rachel Hunter and a trumpet.
Since then collaborations with Whittaker’s chocolate have been massively popular.
He died at his Khandallah home on December 25, 1967 and his legacy is proudly carried on by his family today.
He is buried in the Queenstown Cemetery, along with his wife.
Which Tip Top product was your favourite? (The photo shoot for this post was brutal. All the proceeds have been eaten.)
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