Something about your question was nagging at me. Something was...not
right! But I couldn't put my finger on it until late in my research,
so since I had to wait to learn what the problem was, you'll have to
wait as well.
That's just the way the world works, sometimes.
First, the esteemed Eskimo Pie.
Eskimo Pie made its appearance in 1921 and quickly became a national
sensation. A December 22, 1921 newspaper article from the Daily
Journal in Wisconsin was almost breathless with the news of the
arrival of Eskimo Pies in the local area, a confection that "sets the
...Eskimo pie is a delicious confection,
the invention of which marks a new
development in the ice cream business. It
is made of a stripe of brick ice cream wrapped
in chocolate and has the appearance
of a chocolate bar. It retails
for 10 cents. The package is
wrapped in sanitary wax paper and
foil and is eaten from the hand much like
a cone, but in every respect is much
cleaner and more satisfactory than a
cone which it is likely to supersede
So who makes this wonderful confection, you ask..? The article continues:
.....The Russell Stover company of Chicago
patented the process and leases
the right to use it, prescribing the
size of the package, the quantity of
cream and chocolate it is to contain, and
Fine, but WHO at Russell Stover was the man behind The Pie.
Mr. Duncan, perhaps?
.....The inventor of this package, a
young man under 30, is named Fedderman,
who until recently was an employee of a
candy company in Iowa and was without means.
A friend, Russell Stover, assisted him in
putting the goods on the market, and
since October...the two young men
have made a profit of $500,000.
Some big money for 1921 America (heck...I wouldn?t mind having it
now!). Surely, there's a paper trail at the patent office for such a
notable innovation. Maybe Duncan is the man behind the curtain,
somehow. Alas, the patents reveal neither Duncan nor Fedderman:
Patent # 1404539
Granted: January 24, 1922
CHRISTIAN, X. NELSON, OF ONAWA, IOWA, ASSIGNOR OF ONE-HALF TO RUSSELL
STOVER, OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
Application filed December 23,1921.
Be it known that CHRISTIAN K NELSON, a citizen of the United States,-
residing at Onawa., in the county of Monona. and State of Iowa, has
invented certain new and useful Improvements in Confections; and he
does hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact
description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in
the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.
The present invention relates to confectionery and has for its object
the production of a commercially practical coated brick or block of
ice cream or the like. It is the primary object of the invention to
ide [sic!] a frozen dainty comprising...a block or brick of ice cream
or the like also to provide an encasement therefor which facilitates
its ready handling.
Was there ever a less appealing description of an Eskimo Pie!!!
(except, perhaps, for that bit about a ?frozen dainty?).
So what we appear to know is that the Eskimo Pie came on the scene in
1921, and was the creation of Mssrs. Stover, Fedderman, and Nelson.
A check on the website for Eskimo Pie (now owned by CoolBrands
International) confirms the date:
In 1921, Eskimo Pie invented the chocolate-coated ice cream bar and
created the frozen novelty industry. Since then, there have been many
imitators, but only one genuine Eskimo Pie. Today Eskimo Pie remains
one of the best known, best loved and most widely distributed frozen
Could it be that Duncan had nothing whatsoever to do with Eskimo Pies?
A check of the biographical literature on Duncan showed him to be a
most prodigous inventor and marketer. He not only introduced the
Yo-Yo that bears his name, but also had a hand in Brach's candy
business, hydraulic automobile brakes, and parking meters.
His biographers note:
Duncan, Donald Franklin (June 6, 1891 - May 15, 1971), merchandiser,
was born in Rome, Ohio, the first of two sons born to James Duncan and
Ann Virginia McCaffry...Duncan...went to work as a consultant for a
fledgling ice cream company that was manufacturing a product called
"ice cream on a stick." He developed a whole new marketing plan for
the company, which included sending vendors out on bicycles. He also
gave the company its new name, Good Humor. He introduced the idea of
franchises by allowing ice cream makers to buy a license to
manufacture Good Humor ice cream products.
Good Humor! Ice cream on a stick!
That's the problem with your question! You asked:
"Who really invented the Eskimo Pie--that is, the chocolate-dipped
vanilla ice cream bar on a stick..."
But Eskimo Pies don't come on a stick. They're just a big block of
chocolate-covered ice cream, and if you remove the entire wrapper to
hold it, your fingers inevitably get covered in chocolate goo, because
there's no stick.
(Don't get fooled. Some of their modern-day products DO have a stick.
But the real deal Eskimo Pie is 100% stick-free).
Donald Duncan = Good Humor ice-cream-on-a-stick
Russel Stover/Fedderman/Christian Nelson = Eskimo Pie
That's my answer. Hope it suits.
And of course....Happy New Year. ?Fraid you?ll have to celebrate
August 17th on June 6th this year!
--Newspapers searched at www.newspaperarchive.com
--Patents searched at Lexis-Nexis via library access. (Note...I
searched trademarks as well for Eskimo Pie, and confirmed the 1921
date, but there was no other additional information of note).
--Biographical data on Duncan from library access to the Dictionary of
--Google search of "Eskimo Pie" 1921