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Who Invented the Popsicle

Frank W. Epperson was born in 1894 and was raised in San Francisco, California. He died in California in October, 1983, at the age of eighty-nine.

Frank was eleven years old in 1905 when he accidentally invented what we have come to know as the Popsicle. He had mixed soda water powder and water, a popular soft drink concoction at the time, in a glass with a stirring stick. He left the stirring stick in the glass and accidentally left the glass on the front porch overnight. The next morning, with the temperature dropping to a record low for San Francisco during the night, Frank found his soft drink frozen to the stirring stick in the glass.

It was not until 1922, after Frank Epperson had established himself in the real estate business, that he did anything with his accidental invention. It was first served at a Fireman’s ball in 1922 and was a huge hit with the crowd in attendance. He applied in 1923 for the patent of “ice on a stick”. The patent was approved in 1924. He called it the Epsicle Ice Pop and began producing it in different flavors on birch wood sticks. The frozen treats sold for a nickel. His young children were responsible for changing the name of the frozen treat to Popsicle when they began to refer to it by that name. Epperson later officially changed the name to Popsicle.

Epperson and his partners had set up a residual contract with Popsicle Corporation. Epperson sold his rights to the Popsicle to the Joe Lowe Company in New York in 1925 when he needed to liquidate all his assets. It was not until the great depression that the twin Popsicle was invented, allowing two to share one Popsicle. Consolidated Foods Corporation obtained the Popsicle brand in 1965. In 1986, U.S. operations of the Popsicle Industries became part of Gold Bond Ice Cream Company, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1989, Unilever bought Gold Bond Ice Cream Company, and the Popsicle became part of Unilever’s Good Humor division.

Today hundreds of millions of Popsicles are consumed every year in the United States in more than thirty flavors. They have been the inspiration of other frozen treats too such as the Fudgesicle, Dreamsicle, and Creamsicle.