An Eskimo Pie is a type of dessert that made with vanilla ice cream and covered in hard chocolate. This combination is skewered onto a thin wooden stick, which is used as a handle. The term Eskimo Pie is a trademarked name for this desert, which is wrapped in foil.
The Eskimo Pie was invented by a high school teacher by the name of Christian Kent Nelson in either 1919 or 1920. He claimed to have come up with the idea for the Eskimo Pie when he witnessed a young boy trying to decide whether or not he wanted to purchase ice cream or candy, but only had enough money to purchase one. After watching this struggle, he decided to combine the two. This original invention was called the I-Scream-Bar.
The I-Scream-Bar was successful almost immediately, which prompted Nelson to partner with candy maker Russel C. Stover. The invention was then renamed Eskimo Pie, and the partners sold their manufacturing rights to a number of different companies, but still collected royalties from their sales. By 1922, a million Eskimo Pies were being sold every day. Reportedly, the success of the Eskimo Pie caused cocoa bean prices to increase by 50%. Nonetheless, Stover decided to sell his share of the business shortly after.
By 1924, Nelson sold the company to R.S. Reynolds, the company that made the foil wrappers that were used to cover the Eskimo Pie treats. The patent for the Eskimo Pie was invalidated in 1929, but Nelson stayed on board with the R.S. Reynolds company. It has been reported that Nelson originally retired after selling the Eskimo Pie rights to R.S. Reynolds, but he came on board with the company later purely out of boredom.
In 1935, Nelson invented a new and more efficient way to manufacture and ship the Eskimo Pie. He continued to work with the company until he retired in 1961. Nelson died in 1992, when he was 99 years old. The Eskimo Pie Corporation was also formed in 1992. Today, the Eskimo Pie is manufactured by CoolBrands International. The company purchased the Eskimo Pie Corporation in 2000.