Popsicles were invented by an 11-year-old boy. But as inspiring as that is for such a young person, what this 11 year old kid did next was pure genius. He kept it secret for a staggering 18 years until he could patent his invention in his own right. I only wish that I was this smart when I was his age.
Popsicles were invented by an 11-year-old Frank Epperson in 1905. One evening young Frank left fruit flavored soda out on his front porch for the night with a stir stick left in it. It was a cold time of year, and the temperature dropped to below freezing. The next morning he woke to discover that the soda from the evening before had frozen to become a Popsicle. Now that was a simple enough invention, or discovery, and pretty smart for an 11 year old kid, especially considering that no one had ever done something like that before. But he exhibited just how smart he was by keeping it a secret for nearly 20 years.
In 1923, at the age of 29, Frank Epperson was finally able to patent his invention as “frozen ice on a stick.” It was later renamed to the “Eppsicle ice pop,” and finally the Popsicle. But why did he leave it so long before patenting his invention?
There are a few possible reasons why he didn’t patent his invention for 18 years. The first was his age. To patent an invention at such a young age would almost have certainly resulted in his parents gaining recognition and wealth from his own work. But even still, in only seven years it would have been possible for him to do it in his own right. There had to be other factors, and there were.
By the time the latter half of 1914 came by the world was diving into war. You could certainly describe this as a major roadblock for the young entrepreneur, but he still had between 1912 and 1914 to get off his rear end and make good on his invention. The most likely explanation for the long delay was a lack of funds. To register a patent requires money, and to actually start manufacturing requires even more money. It’s certainly plausible that this was lacking until the roaring 20’s came along and the world was temporarily flushed with money. Then again, he could have just simply forgotten about it and then decided to try it out.
I’m not sure if you would describe this as an invention or a discovery, but either way, Epperson is credited with inventing the popular desert. You really have to give it to him, he was able to keep something like Popsicles a secret for a very long time.
He sold his invention in 1925 to Joe Lowe Company of New York. It is now owned by Good Humor.