Mar. 28 – Eskimo Pie Day

Gay Lynn HillBell Ringers, Economics(BR)

Mar. 28 is Eat an Eskimo Pie Day!

Eskimo Pies were invented in 1921, and patented in 1922. The inventor, Christian Nelson, quickly became wealthy, selling an estimated one million pies a day during the first year of business in partnership with Russell Stover!

The instant success of Eskimo Pie’s led to many imitators, and the Stover family moved on to other treats. Yet chocolate-covered ice cream is still widely popular around the world.

  1. Nelson’s invention supposedly was a response to seeing a boy struggle to decide between buying ice cream, or chocolate. He solved the dilemma by creating chocolate-covered ice cream. Does this invention count as an example of “helping others”?
  2. How did the fact that it was profitable to do so make it possible for Nelson to help a lot more than just one boy?
  3. The courts placed a limit on Nelson and Stover’s ability to profit from Eskimo Pies by not recognizing their patent rights. Leaving aside the particulars of the case, do you think, in general, people should be able to patent things like ice cream bars? Are such ideas “property” that should be protected? Or something else?

Image Citation:

16, Mar. 2018, A Cuban immigrant selling Eskimo Pies, Nov. 30, 1924 {Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <>.