The 20 most fascinating accidental inventions

6. Popsicles

Jacob Turcotte

Kids love Popsicles, so it makes sense that an 11-year-old boy invented them.

In 1905, Frank Epperson from San Francisco invented the Popsicle purely by accident. Epperson made a fruit-flavored soda drink out of powder and water, a popular concoction back then. However, one evening, he never finished making the soda and left it outside overnight – with the stirring stick still in the cup. It was a cold night, and he discovered in the morning that the drink had frozen around the stick. He popped it out of the cup and licked it.

At first, Epperson didn't realize what he had stumbled upon. Seventeen years later, he served the frozen lollipops to the public at a fireman’s ball. (Surprisingly, no one else had come up with the idea yet). They were a huge hit. A year later, he enjoyed even more success after serving them at Neptune Beach, an amusement park in Alameda, Calif., which closed in 1939.

Epperson finally applied for the patent in 1923 and began producing even more fruit flavors. He sold the frozen pops on birch wood sticks and called them “Eppsicles.” They sold for just a nickel apiece.

Epperson’s children apparently didn’t like the name “Eppsicle.” They preferred "Popsicles." Epperson eventually agreed with his kids, and the name has stuck ever since. 

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