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Food History

The Accidental Invention of the Popsicle®

Popsicles

Did you ever think about how the summer time’s favourite refresher came about? It was quite unplanned for really when, over a century ago in 1905, an eleven-year-old Frank Epperson residing in San Francisco accidentally left his bottled soda mixture outside with the stirrer still inside. He had experimented by mixing sugary soda powder with water and it was a tremendously cold evening, so the liquid froze by morning.

When Epperson discovered his frozen mixture, he got intrigued and decided to give it a taste by licking the icy formation, holding it from the stirrer’s handle that was sticking out of it. It turned out he loved it as he finished the whole thing off and declared his new invention as the ‘Epsicle’, a combination of the word ‘icicle’ and his surname. It was not long before word on the epsicle started getting around, peaking people’s interest, so Epperson started making more and selling them around the neighbourhood.

The epsicle became a local hit and in 1923, Epperson decided to expand his sales outside his neighbourhood including beaches and amusement parks until a year later, he applied to patent his creation. The stirrer handle was replaced by different variations of wooden sticks and later on in life, Epperson was also convinced by his children to change the name from epsicle to ‘Pop’s Sicle’ or ‘Popsicle ® as we know it today. Since then, the rights to the Popsicle® were sold to buyer after buyer and at present, it is owned by Good Humour, a subsidiary of Unilever who sells around two billion popsicles annually.  

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