Confectioners made sorbets long before freezers were invented. Ancient Middle-Eastern recipes for sharbats (syrup cooled in snow) originated in what is now Iran and Turkey. These sweet concoctions arrived in Europe in the 16th century.
In the 18th century, the appearance of ice-cream moulds enabled the creation of desserts. A sweet preparation was placed in moulds of various shapes and sizes, which would then be plunged into crushed salted ice, resulting in unusually shaped frozen creations. By the 19th century, the crank-operated ice-cream machine had been developed, followed towards the end of the 20th century by an electric version.
By mixing ice and salt, ice-cream makers were able to take advantage of a natural phenomenon to obtain temperatures similar to those of modern freezers. The transformation of water into ice (freezing) and of ice into water (fusion) takes place at precisely 0°C.