How A Kid Accidentally Invented Popsicles

The potato chip, the chocolate chip cookie, and the popsicle. What do all of these seemingly unrelated things have in common? They were all created by accident in some way or another. While most modern inventions come from that creative driving force inside all of us and the know-how to put those ideas into action, some things are made simply by a little bit of luck, divine intervention, or just spur of the moment.

The potato chip is most popularly accredited to George Crum, a chef in Saratoga Lake, New York. The legend goes a disgruntled customer, possibly railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt, sent back his fried potatoes as he felt they were not thin nor crispy enough and George, tired of this particular customer's complaints, sliced the potato as thin as he could and fried the slices until they were impossible to eat with a fork. The customer, much to everyone's surprise, loved them (via History).

The chocolate chip cookie is credited to Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. According to the legend, Wakefield added chopped-up pieces of a Nestle semisweet chocolate bar into the dough, expecting it to melt throughout the cookie. Instead, the chocolate didn't melt and instead dotted the cookie with chunks of warm gooey chocolate, thus, the Toll House chocolate chip cookie (via The New York Times).

The story of the popsicle is no different. All it took was one 11-year-old boy's mistake to bring about the frozen treat.

An invention caused by forgetfulness

Via Smithsonian Magazine, on one particularly chilly day in 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson was at his San Francisco home making himself a soft drink. In those times, a flavored, powdered mix could be added to water to make soda (via Delish) and required a utensil to mix the drink together. As any young boy his age would be, Frank became distracted by something and left the drink — stirring stick and all — out on his front porch and simply forgot about it. That night, when temperatures dropped, the drink froze solid in the cup. When Epperson discovered the frozen drink again in the morning, he found that the stick could be used as a handle to remove the frozen liquid. At that moment, even if he didn't know it yet, young Epperson invented what would become a classic American treat.

As Epperson would grow and have a family of his own, he would continue to make popsicles for friends and family alike. It wasn't until the 1920s did he decided to file a patent for his creation. At first, Epperson wanted to call them "Eppsicles," based after his own name, but his children had a better idea. Why not call them "Pop's 'sicles" instead? The frozen treat became an immediate success, available for just five cents and in seven flavors, rocketing it into the hearts and iceboxes of the American people all over.