This day was established to commemorate the date the Eskimo Pie was patented on January 24, 1922. The Eskimo Pie was America's first chocolate-covered ice cream bar. Some resources put Eat an Eskimo Pie on March 28th. Why not Eat an Eskimo Pie today and celebrate this origin of this delightful treat!
A Brief History of Eskimo Pie
Our research couldn’t muster up the originator of Eskimo Pie Day, but the date has significance. Jan. 24, 1922 marks the day when Eskimo Pie creator, Christian Kent Nelson, and his business partner, Russell C. Stover, secured their patent for the “Eskimo Pie” ice cream bar. Christian Kent Nelson was a high school teacher in Onawa, Iowa. Born in Denmark on March 12, 1893, Nelson’s family immigrated to the United States around the end of the 1890s, eventually settling in Iowa. Besides his work as a teacher, Nelson was also the proprietor of his very own candy shop. One day, in the summer of 1920, Nelson watched as a young boy struggled between the difficult decision of buying ice cream or a chocolate bar. Ultimately deciding on the chocolate, Nelson inquired as to the young gentleboy’s decision. Why not buy both? The boy said he would like to buy them both, but he only had a nickel. Light bulb, on!
Nelson began testing chocolate-covering and ice cream. The chocolate keeps the ice cream fresh, preserves its shape, and adds visual/taste appeal. Labeling them “I-Scream-Bars” Nelson made 500 bricks (no sticks, not yet) and sold them at fireman’s picnic. With his “I-Scream-Bars” hitting it big at that summer picnic, Nelson searched for a manufacturer. Teaming with chocolate maker Russel C. Stover, they renamed the ice cream bricks “Eskimo Pies” and sold the rights to local ice cream shops, taking a cut of each profit. With the aid of a solid marketing campaign, a quarter of a million Eskimo Pies sold in 24 hours. Cut to spring 1922, 2,700 different makers were selling over 1 million Eskimo Pies daily. Nelson earned over $2,000 in royalties a day during this time. Nelson and Stover’s patent, US number 1,404,539, ended up costing them a fortune in legal cost due to its broad coverage on frozen ice cream, ice cream covered in candy and their trademark on the use of “Pie” for any frozen candy.
1934 saw the introduction of Eskimo Pies on a stick, which has become the norm for the chocolate-covered frozen delight. In, 1961, Nelson retired from Eskimo Pie. He passed on March 8, 1992.
Visit Cook’s Info and the Smithsonian Magazine for more on Eskimo Pies’ story.
How To Observe Eskimo Pie Day
Treat yourself to a box of yummi-tummi Eskimo Pies! Split a box! Share the joy. For me, ice cream has always been a time-honored summer tradition. Sitting on your front steps with the hazy June heat warming the air, a cold cone in your hand. Heaven. Ice cream is memory. Memory is connection. It’s our bridge back. Back to the things, to the moments that make us who we are. Take Eskimo Pie Day as an opportunity to revisit your moments.