January 24 is Eskimo Pie Patent Day
Christian Kent Nelson (who was also a high school teacher) invented the Eskimo Pie in Onawa, Iowa in 1919 or 1920. He originally called it the I-Scream-Bar. Supposedly inspired by a boy having to make a difficult decision; the choice between ice cream and candy, and only having the price for one. This inspired the salesman to combine the two, and create the Eskimo Pie. It was an immediate success locally, and in July 1921 he partnered with Russell C. Stover the candy maker) to market and produce the the renamed 'Eskimo Pie.'
They sold manufacturing rights to various other companies in exchange for royalty payments. By early 1922, they were selling at the rate of a million bars a day, and supposedly caused the price of cocoa beans to rise by 50%!
Due to trademark lawsuits and high manufacturing and sales costs, the company was sold in 1924 to the company that made the foil wrappers for the Eskimo Pie, United States Foil Company, headed by R.S. Reynolds. (U.S. Foil later changed its name to Reynolds Metals Company). Nelson stayed with the company, which was now a subsidiary of U.S. Foil, until his retirement in 1961.
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