Monday, March 26, 2018

Ice Cream on a Stick!

Ice Cream, Dessert, Sweet, Frozen  There are three innovative creations, invented between 1915 and 1925, that changed the face of dessert.  They are all related and we enjoy all three on a hot summer day.

Do you remember back when you were young.  It was a hot sweaty day, no blowing breeze.  You just couldn't get cool without running through the sprinklers so when you heard the music in the distance, you rushed home to get a bit of money for a frozen treat?  I do but I don't know if they still do that because so much has changed in the past 10 or 15 years.

Three men, contributed to our enjoyment of those wonderful frozen desserts.  First is the Eskimo Ice Cream bar, next came Good Humor, and finally is the Popsicle and I'm sure most of us have eaten all of them at some point in our lives.

I listed them in this order because they appeared on the marked in that order.  The Eskimo Ice Cream bar came from an incident when a young man came into Christian Nelson Kent's sweet shop in Ohio around 1919 or 1920.  He asked for an ice cream, changed his mind and wanted a candy bar.  Christian asked him why he changed his mind and the young man said he wanted both but only had enough money for one. 

This lead to a search for a way to cover ice cream with chocolate.  After a lot of searching, trying things, and finding cocoa butter, he and his partner Russel Stover of Stover Candies produced a chocolate covered brick of vanilla ice cream. Originally called I-Scream Bars, the first run of 500 bars sold out so Nelson and Stover looked for someone to manufacture the frozen dessert after patenting it in 1922.  They changed the name to "Eskimo Pie Bars" before selling the rights to various ice cream companie to produce the bars for between $500 and $1000.

In 1920, in another part of Ohio, Henry Burt created a chocolate coating that stuck to ice cream. His sun suggested they freeze a stick inside chocolate coated ice cream and voila, you have a popular frozen dessert.  He tried to patent it but after waiting 3 years, Henry traveled to Washington D.C with a five gallon container filled with his "Good Humor" bars.  They immediately granted him the patent.

The name "Good Humor" came from the idea that a person's humor or temperament is based on the humor of his palate. In the beginning, Good humor bars were sold from 12 street vehicles outfitted with bells, bicycles, and push carts.  Over the next 40 years, the company created an additional 84 types of ice cream desserts.  By 1976, the company sold its trucks so it could focus on selling ice cream in the stores.

About the same time the Popsicle made its appearance on the scene.  In 1905, an eleven year old, Frank Epperson accidentally created the first Popsicle by mixing a dry soda powder with water and leaving it in a cup overnight.  Temperature dropped, the solution froze and the frozen dessert became a reality.

Soon after he began selling the "Epsicles" around the neighborhood.  In 1923, he extended his sales area to Neptune Beach, California because of its amusement park. Neptune Park was quite popular that the Epsicles and snow cones did quite well.    In 1924, he applied for and received a patent for his "frozen confection which would not be contaminated by hand, spoon, or other implement.

His children suggested he change it to Pop's Sicle or Popsicle as we know it today.  However, later in the 1920's he ended up having to sell off the rights to his creation due to needing money.  The Joe Lowe company purchased the rights and sold it nationwide.  During the depression, when money was short, the company created duel Popsicles to make it go further. The new version sold for 5 cents.

At the same time, Good Humor sold their chocolate covered ice cream on a stick.  Lowe sued for copyright infringement but the judge declared Good Humor ice cream confections while Lowe could only sell water based confections.  Lowe began marketing a milk Popsicle which lead to years of suits where the companies argued over definitions of sherbets vs ice cream. 

Eventually Good Humor and Popsicle ended up being acquired by the same company.  Its amazing how a few accidents launched frozen confections most of absolutely adore.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

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