Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) Dec 31, 1921
Eskimo Pie Inventor Makes Fortune
BY ROY GIBBONS
Chicago, Feb. 13 — Christian K. Nelson came to Chicago from Omaha 15 months ago with 19 cents and an idea.
Today the 19 cents has grown to a steadily increasing fortune of six figures. It’ll be well over a million before Nelson pays his income tax.
What did it?
Nelson’s idea was to cover a square of cold ice cream with a layer of hot chocolate, thus caking a confection with real ice cream inside.
He got that idea while he was managing his father’s ice cream plant out in Onawa, Ia. And he furthered it while he was studying chemistry at college.
When he was graduated he peddled the idea around from ice cream factory to ice cream factory. Everybody laughed at him.
“Cover cold ice cream with hot chocolate? Man; you’re crazy!” they’d say.
But Russell Stover, manager of an ice cream plant at Omaha, was different. He thought Nelson’s idea could be put over. And together Stover and Nelson did put it over.
That’s why you see a big yellow sign advertising “Eskimo Pie” in your confectionery store window.
For Nelson’s the inventor of Eskimo Pie.
Nelson’s not making it. His company, composed of himself, Stover and others, is selling licenses to firms in other cities to manufacture the confection.
Today there are more than 1,000,000 Eskimo pies eaten daily. And Nelson’s company gets 5 cents royalty on every dozen pies.
And Nelson’s busy with an adding machine trying to figure up his income.
“Don’t lose heart,” Nelson advises others. “I kept at my hunch and plugged — that’ why I succeeded.
“Just don’t give up. It seems to me that too many folks are only too anxious to tell the world they’re licked.”
Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Feb 13, 1922
Image from Emporia State University
STOVER KING OF ESKIMO PIE
“Eskimo Pie”, now figuratively and almost literally, in “everybody’s mouth,” promises to make a near-millionaire, if not a real one, out of a Johnson county boy. Russell Stover, the inventor of the chocolate and ice cream confection that bears that name, is a son of Mr. John R. Stover, a prominent Johnson county farmer, who lives one mile west of Indian Lookout, where the young candy man, who is heading the Russell Stover company of Chicago, was born.
Sure to Enrich Him
The “Eskimo pie” is destined to enrich the Iowa City and S.U.I. boy of other days, is indicated strongly by a letter Mr. Stover received from his son today. The inventor is traveling, far and near, putting in 18 hours a day, licensing manufacturers to produce his confection. He has more than 250 on the list now, and more than 40,000 retail stores are handling the article already. He predicts a sale of 2,000,000 a day, and the Stover company will get 5 cents a dozen royalty, he writes, on these. This spells $3,000,000 a year for the Iowa Citian and his associates.
To Entire World
Plans are making to ship to China, Japan, and all parts of Europe. Mr. Stover has been called to New York and New Haven, Conn., this week, to address conventions of manufacturers. His traveling secretary is General Leonard Wood’s presidential campaign secretary, Fugitt, who declares the “Eskimo” campaign is more exciting than the political fight.
Some big lawsuits may follow, as the company alleges imitators and infringers are busy violating the Stover copyrights and patents. Test suits will be instituted in the metropolises.
Some Interesting Figures
Some figures are of interest in connection with the Iowa City man’s business campaign. The company telephone bill — before breakfast — in a single day, is $160. The advertising bills are enormous. A contract for a double page in Saturday Evening Post, in February calls for $14,000.
Iowa City Press Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa) Jan 16, 1922
Inventor of Eskimo Pie Prefers His Old Job As School Teacher
CHICAGO — (Special) — Anybody’d think dipping ice cream into hot chocolate would melt the ice cream. Christian Kent Nelson discovered the way to do it, however, at just the right temperature. The result — eskimo pie.
Until he made his discovery Nelson was a poor but contented teacher at Onawa, Ia. Today money’s pouring in on him so fast that he’s scared. “I want to stay human,” he says.
He tried hard enough to market his idea before it “caught on.” Most people he approached were skeptical. Finally Russell Stover of Omaha went in with him. From that moment the golden tide began to rise. For Nelson, at any rate, it rose too high.
“Money! The more I see of it, the less I like it. I’d rather be with my books, or back on the job as teacher again,” he exclaims. He hasn’t even bought an automobile.
Perhaps wealth came a bit too fast — about a year, from a shoe-string to affluence is sudden enough to be disconcerting.
Nelson’s a graduate of Nevada University. He’s only 29. His father and mother are living and he has brothers and sisters. He’s unmarried.
When a reporter asked him, “Do you intend to take a wife?” “Maybe,” he answered.
Lima News (Lima, Ohio) May 25, 1922
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) Mar 2, 1922
Image from D-Lib Magazine Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
The Modern Trend
How times do change,
Oh, me! Oh, my!
We ne’er hear now
Of Eskimo pie.
– Montgomery, Ala., Advertiser.
And customs too,
Have changed, my lan’!
Nobody ev –
Er shoots the can.
– Macon, Ga., Telegraph.
Ah, yes, ’tis true,
Knows the meaning of
The word, “Gid-dap!”
Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Sep 10, 1925
Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 14, 1922
A native Chinese might be amazed at the sight of chop suey as it is known in America, but probably no more than an Eskimo on seeing his first Eskimo pie.
Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Sep 26, 1929
Daily Review (Haywood, California) Sep 12, 1949
Image from the American History Archives Center – THE ESKIMO PIE CORPORATION RECORDS, 1921-1996
The more people you assist or entertain, the greater your income.
Often you comment along these lines: Einstein, a super-scientist of the sort that appears only once in centuries, makes less money than the inventor of some trifling thing like the Eskimo pie, ice cream cone or safety pin.
The answer to this is that Einstein serves only a small and limited number of customers — scientists — while the other inventors serve millions, each contributing his mite to the inventor.
In any scheme to get rich, don’t forget the importance of doing something that will serve a great multitude.
Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Mar 2, 1922
A highbrow is a person who wants his Eskimo pie a la mode.
Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Mar 16, 1922
Told Cop To “Get Out With His Eskimo Pie”; Aggie Wanted a “Fag”
NEW YORK, Aug. 17. — Aggie Kelley, aged 14, was advised to go back to her father and stay with him by Recorder Kane in Bayonne, N.J., today, when she was brought before him.
Policeman Bonlin found the girl yesterday sitting on a curbstone crying.
The lieutenant sent a policeman to buy ice cream for the little girl, mean while putting her in a room by herself. When he came back he was met at the door by Aggie, who was smoking a cigarette. She told him to get out “with that Eskimo pie.”
“If you want to do me a favor,” shed added, “you might bring me a small pack of cigarettes.”
She told the recorder she had a good home with her father on a canal boat and she wanted to go there as quickly as she could.
New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Aug 17, 1922
Image from The Public “I”
YE OLD TYME TOURNAMENT
With shouts of joy
Doth group abut
In twos and bunch
and munch the festive Eskimo pie
And chew on other lightish lunches.
Cease your talk
For down the walk
Come all the buxom corn-fed maidens;
Hearken to their dissertation –
“I says to him — he says to me –”
The corn’s all right — so are the maidens
But Gawd forgive the combination.
With close shaved necks
And sunburned beaks
In phalanx come
The village shieks!
Who is the cent of this group
Whose checkered vest has spots of soup?
He hold the power of life and death!
Two-foot watch chain, eye of eagle
Look him o’er — the local Kleagle!
With Beech-nut filling
Up his jaw
Here comes the long are
Of the law
His uniform is slightly tight,
(‘Twas made for some less portly wight).
Constantly, at greatish rate,
The Law, he doth expectorate.
And every time he spits by chance
He breaks a city ordinance.
‘Tis after nine,
The crowd is gone,
All but the shieks
Who linger on
Within some lowly pea-pool den,
And dissipate and drink pink pop
‘Til oft’ as late as half-past ten.
The Vidette Messenger (Valparaiso, Indiana) Mar 1, 1929