Scores of inventions have come about by mistake, but how many can claim they were the mistake of a kid?
One evening in 1905 in San Francisco, an eleven-year-old boy named Frank Epperson was on his porch, making a cup of soda by mixing some white powdered flavoring and water with a wooden stick. For reasons that are now left to history, he left the mixture (with the stick in it) on the porch. That night, the temperatures hit a record low, and the next morning Frank found that the drink had frozen to the stick. That happy accident got Frank to thinking about the idea of a frozen fruit-flavored treat on a stick.
It took a while for him to bring his idea to fruition, though. Eighteen years, to be exact.
In 1923 Epperson finally perfected his fruit-flavored frozen pop on a stick and decided to see what the public thought. He took his frozen confections to Neptune Beach, an amusement park in Alameda, California; the Epsicle Ice Pops, as he had named them, were a huge hit. He immediately applied for a patent, with one small change: his children hated the name Epsicle Ice Pop and insisted he change it. Epperson came up with the name Popsicle®; the rest is history.