Today in History: Inventor of the Popsicle Is Born

Today in History: Inventor of the Popsicle Is Born

M.C. Millman

Born on August 11, 1894, Frank Epperson accidentally invented the Popsicle when at the young age of eleven, he left a glass of soda with a mixing stick out on his porch one cold winter night.

Originally, Epperson named his invention the "Epsicle," combining his name with the word "icicle." Some say he began selling the frozen treat in his neighborhood, while others believe he did little with the invention for another 18 years before applying for a patent. 

On August 19, 1924, Epperson received patent #1,505,592 for his "frozen confection of attractive appearance, which can be conveniently consumed without contamination by contact with the hand and without the need for a plate, spoon, fork or other implement."

Epperson's children convinced him to change the name of his invention to what they called it: a Pop's 'Sicle or Popsicle.

With the popularity of popsicles today, one would think Epperson was wildly successful. Unfortunately, the inventor desperately needed money and sold his rights to the name Popsicle to the Joe Lowe Company in 1925. 

He is quoted as saying regretfully, "I was flat and had to liquidate all my assets. I haven't been the same since."

The Joe Lowe Company launched the Popsicle, and it was a national success. During the Great Depression, they introduced a twin Popsicle with two sticks for a nickel so children could share and consumers could stretch their money during difficult times.  

In 1989, Good Humor, a subsidiary of Unilever, purchased the rights to Popsicle. According to Unilever, two billion Popsicle ice pops are sold annually in over 30 flavors.

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