Frank Epperson et al. or Summer on a Stick

Is it hot in here? Seems summer has arrived full-on and temps are up in many regions of the blogosphere. Which brings us to today’s post…

Fans of funny names in food, welcome to you! Today we break from the usual routine of introducing you to funnily-named food folk and instead visit a cast of characters who have brought us edibles that are especially popular when the mercury soars.

these kiddos have Frank Epperson to thank for their frozen sugar bombs on-a-stick.

these kiddos have Frank Epperson to thank for their frozen sugar bombs on-a-stick

First up? The Popsicle. Legend has it that 11-year-old Frank Epperson left his fruit soda outside on his porch with a stir stick in it. Must have been mighty cold as his drink froze to the stick, giving him the world’s first Popsicle. Though it wasn’t until 1923, at age 29, that he applied for a patent for his Epsicle ice pop. His kids, clever ones for sure, renamed it the Popsicle.

If we’re enjoying Popsicles, we’re only a few degrees away from the slushie. For that we look to Omar Knedlik, circa 1950. When Knedlik’s soda fountain malfunctioned, he cleverly put his sodas in a freezer to stay cool. His customers loved the resulting slushy beverage, so Knedlik–a true entrepreneur–invented the slushie machine. Knedlik hired artist Ruth E. Taylor to create a name and logo for his invention and the ICEE was born.

Next? Summertime and Dairy Queen go hand-in-hand. Father John Fremont “Grandpa” McCullough and son, Bradley, opened an ice cream stand in 1938. Soon after, they asked funny-named friend and customer Sherb Noble to join the fun and they grew their business into the delicious and creamy corporation it is today. (No food snobbery here—I love a good DQ, corporate or no.)

the lovely lady in the royal blue dress approves of this ice cube tray

the lovely lady in the shiny blue dress approves of this ice cube tray

From ice cream we turn to ice, essential for cocktails, lemonade, water, or slipping down an unsuspecting friend or family member’s shirt just to see him jump. Much of this ice comes from ice machines, but old-school ice was made in trays. And we have Guy Tinkham to thank for the first flexible all-metal stainless steel ice cube tray. This awesome 1933 invention flexed sideways to eject its cubes. While a product of brilliant engineering, this cool invention will be remembered here only for Guy’s great name as we move to the other end of the temperature spectrum: fire, essential for grilling.

grilled salmon anyone?

grilled salmon anyone?

Pennsylvania’s Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer patented a design for charcoal briquettes in 1897. Fast forward to the 1950s to find George Stephen working at Weber Bros. Metal Spinning Company. His 1952 invention, the Weber kettle grill, took the grilling world by storm.

Credit for the gas grill goes to William G. Wepfer of Little Rock, Arkansas. Searching for new ways to market natural gas to residential customers for Arkansas Louisiana Power Co, he and Melton Lancaster reconfigured a charcoal grill to use natural gas. The year was 1960 and another grilling revolution ensued.

Here’s hoping you enjoyed today’s frozen treats, grilled fare, and funny names. On behalf of food for fun and the BoFN crew, I wish you a fantastically cool August, no matter what the temperature reads.Seal_LLC (2)


About Liz

Owner of deLizious Food Communications. Projects include recipe development, editing, and formatting; food writing and editing; nutrition analysis; public speaking and cooking instruction. Past and present clients: General Mills, Green Giant Fresh, Hormel, Minnesota Beef Council, Minnesota Soybean, Minnesota Pork Producers, Norwood Promotional Products, Pillsbury, Tad Ware, and Weight Watchers Publishing. Mother of two young girls.
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36 Responses to Frank Epperson et al. or Summer on a Stick

  1. Rob says:

    Awesome post! I was trying to remember why the name Frank Epperson rang a bell. The Epsicle…duh! I think it was a wise move to change the name haha. For some reason, this post reminds me of Mark Summers’ “Unwrapped” show on the Food Network. Maybe because it was so Summer themed (pun intended), and all of the episodes of that show are somewhat theme-oriented.

    Great work!

    • Liz says:

      thanks, Rob. Am feeling all kinds of love here, hanging with the BoFN boys! (though where is amb? isn’t she always here? does she know Dave is here?) You are kind to stop by and say such things. Am especially honored as there is not one mention of baseball in the entire post. And you’re still here 🙂 Lord knows I’ve watched enough Cooking Channel in my time to have the show patter down. Unwrapped was fun and Summers (heehee) was congenial for sure and I am flattered by your comparison.

      • Dave says:

        Did you know that Summers has OCD and would pose with the food but never eat it? (Sorry Rob for stealing one of your favorite facts and sharing it with the world)

        • Liz says:

          I did not know that, Dave, but it makes me want to find an episode of Unwrapped and watch it more closely. Sightly off-topic, Howie Mandell is one of my fave comics and I’m fascinated by his mannerisms and how he copes with OCD. I will not tell Rob that you stole his fact and also that you are claiming Murderers Row as boxing talk.

          • Dave says:

            Good. It’s crucial that he never finds out! Even though I have better boxing technique, he’s bigger than me and could beat me up!

          • amb says:

            I heart Howie Mandell! Did your girls watch Bobby’s World when they were younger, Liz?

            True story: Shutterbug Sis went to summer camp with one of Mandell’s daughters. On visitors day, he’d drive up in the ginormous tour bus that he used when he was doing standup shows, and the girls would hang out there all day. They had to follow very specific rules about what they could/couldn’t touch, though.

          • Liz says:

            wow wow wow on the HM story. Mightily impressed 🙂 Bobby’s World was all wrapped up by the time my girlies came along, though maybe I could find on Netflix? You enjoyed the shows, I’d bet?

          • Rob says:

            Haha, I’m cool with the whole Marc Summers thing, but Murderers’ Row? Come on. Show some respect for the ’27 Yankees. Even if you don’t like the Yankees, you gotta respect the ’27 Yankees.

      • Rob says:

        Haha, my pleasure! Glad I stopped by – I need to stop by more often!

  2. Dave says:

    Wow, super post! This was like a “quick hits” article of funny names in food history, and I’m almost positive one of these names will come in handy on one of Arto’s and my Tuesday trivia nights. “Murderers Row” (our team name) had our first non-money finish last week after 14 straight times coming first or second. We were winning going into the final round, then I blew it on the final question – switching the order of two casinos that opened 6 months apart. Oh well, even the champs need to lose eventually. But with names like Grandpa McCullough, Sherb Noble, Guy Tinkham and Frank Epperson, how can you go wrong?!? 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Thanks, Dave 🙂 Always honored when my esteemed scientist boss and virtual younger brother stops by with kind words. Glad if the “greatest hits” thing went over well. Felt I was in a bit of a funny names in food rut.

      Tuesday Night Trivia, huh? You are too crazy for me 😉 Though Murderers Row has a nice ring to it. How much $$ do you usually win? Perhaps you can win enough to buy a plane ticket so you can come to Minnesota and eat gin popsicles with me.

      • Dave says:

        Unfortunately, they pay us in bar cash ($25 for 1st, $15 for 2nd), so it basically pays for most of next week’s drinks. I promise I’ll get out to Minnesota eventually!

        Murderers Row is a boxing reference (Rob will get mad at me for saying that because it’s also a baseball reference). You’ll never guess who decided that should be our trivia team name!

        • Liz says:

          The other trivia teams must quake to be pitted against your group of “the most exclusive men’s club the ring has ever known.They were so good and so feared that they had to have their own tournament.” Wowza.

          I’ll look you et. al up whenever I head out to California and yes, hop on over to Minnesota. Maybe you’ll need to check out Mayo? (not the condiment, but you get that) For real I think a BoFN conference is in order. I can sell a getaway to my family that they make me crazy and mommy needs a break. This is the first winter in a while that I didn’t head out to snowboard with a friend who has a house in Breckenridge, so that trip $$ still needs to be spent 🙂

  3. Arto says:

    This one’s a winner, Liz! Nice work! (and yes please on that grilled salmon).

    Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer? A name that belongs in the marquees. Grillman : The Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer Story, coming soon to a theatre nowhere near you.

    I loved the entire article. Whoop!

    • Liz says:

      Thank you, Arto 🙂 I am all kinds of flattered to have you and the other BoFN boys hanging out here. Help yourself to popsicles, etc, while you’re here. Grab one for your lovely wife, too!

      Liking your Grillman pitch. That’s good. If we have Batman and Superman and Spiderman and Ironman, then why not Grillman? Will watch for it on the marquee.

      Glad you’re here, Arto.

  4. amb says:

    Liz !!! I can’t believe I missed the party – you know I’d hang out with you instead of in a doctor’s office if I could. 🙂

    Speaking of hanging out, can I tell you how jealous I am that you got all three BoFN boys to comment on your post?!? I think the last time that happened to me was when I was stalking, I mean blogging about, Strombo.

    I can see why they all came to play though – this is right up there with Crescent Dragonwagon as one of my favourite posts of yours, I think. So many funny names! And so much deliciousness! Plus, your photo caption re: ice cube trays cracked me the heck up. Well done!!!

    • Liz says:

      oh, good–another girl at the party 🙂 Hoping Fannie and Bonnie show up, too 😉 And maybe F could bring Bunny and Clarissa?

      I am seven kinds of flattered (did I say that right?) that all the boys came out to chat today. Especially because there is not one mention of sports. (though D took care of that in the comments)

      Liked the ice-cube tray photo, too, especially because of that blue dress. I think I stole the “approved” line from something you posted recently. ?? Glad you enjoy all the funny summer food names 😀

  5. Liz, Liz, Liz, you know how to make someone hungry! Love the salmon. We had a couple of those ice cube trays when I was growing up…

    Great post.

    • Liz says:

      Fannie Fannie Fannie, if I made you hungry then I am doing my job 🙂 Yes, those ice-cube trays are nostalgic. Glad you’re here as the party needed more ladies!

  6. Bonnie says:

    Hey Liz!
    Balancing things out girl-wise here at this fun party!

    Awesome post and I love how you got popsicles and salmon into one post in such a cool way!

    Fantastic summertime, food, ice-to- grilling,with funny names and some great research post! I totally remember those ice trays, and just like thinking of fingernails on a chalkboard conjures the shrills, I think of those ice-trays and get that funny chill feeling when I imagine the metal against the ice. Does that make any kind of sense? Or should I just go sit in the corner and eat a slushie? Because, I am totally ok with that!

    • Liz says:

      Yay, Bonnie came to the party, too! Glad you’re here and sure, go ahead and have another slushie. No need to sit in the corner, though. Totally know what you mean about the screeching of the ice and metal. Funny how sounds do that.

      Yep, these BoFN posts require lots of research 😉 haha. Thanks for dropping by and hope you’re enjoying your summer!

  7. wdydfae says:

    Splendid job, Liz! The critics have spoken:

    “. . . fast moving . . . comprehensive . . . illuminating . . .”

    “. . . the cherished fire and ice of the summer months are brought to life with a deft, sure touch . . .”

    “. . . a veritable summer cornucopia of funnily named individuals whose innovations have forever changed the way we endure and ultimately enjoy the hottest season of the year.”

    “. . . Liz is a national treasure!”

    • Liz says:

      you’re awesome, wdydfae. That’s extremely well-written high praise 😉 seriously, you need to be a professional writer as you know how to put words together. Newspapers, famous folk, etc could pay you to write review quotes like that, which of course they’d pass off as their own, but for enough money you just might not care! And we’ve already discussed your propensity for legalese. Lawyers are already rolling in cash, so they could send some your way if you wrote fancy-pants documents for them.

      Glad you came by the Funny Names in Food party. Thanks!

  8. ksbeth says:

    saying, ‘william wepfer’ 3 times really fast should be a sobriety test.

    • Dave says:

      I’m not so sure. I don’t like sobriety tests that I can easily fail when completely sober. That’s too much of a tongue twister!

    • Liz says:

      love it, Beth. I think that should be a subset of funny names: things you can’t say multiple times quickly without tripping up–sober or no. Good to see you here 🙂

  9. Pingback: one crazy summer | food for fun

  10. Lilly Sue says:

    Very cool 🙂 and fun to read!

  11. Pingback: Crescent Dragonwagon, etc: The Summer Slide Edition | The Blog of Funny Names

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