Who invented the ice lolly?

13 February 2023

February is short and bitter, according to an old Italian proverb, and ancient wisdom is never wrong.

To offer some relief from this sense of oppression due to the grey skies, freezing cold weather, persistent rain and the damp that gets into your bones, psychologists suggest directing one’s thoughts to something pleasant, colourful, or warm like memories of a seaside holiday, or a beautiful day relaxing on the grass by a lake and soaking up the sun…

The taste of an ice cream! That’s right, a nice ice cream, one of mankind’s most cherished inventions that has the power to make even the most rigid super-ego melt with its colours and flavours. It should be savoured without any formalities, with our hands, which means we can even get dirty without being ashamed.

The most joyous and popular among ices, the one that can reconnect us with the child in us all, is and remains the ice lolly or ‘popsicles’ in some parts of the world. Italians will remember the legendary and sought-after ‘Arcobaleno’ lolly, bought with pennies set aside from our meagre pocket money…

But who invented the ice lolly? How did this sweet miracle that has withstood the test of time and the seasons come to be? At LAIeF, we can modestly say that when it comes to ice creams, we know more than the devil, and that they can be a little frustrating to enjoy because of the high temperatures down there…

Who invented the ice lolly?

Ice lollies were not invented that long ago, in 1905 to be precise,  and as with many genial ideas, it came about by pure chance. When he was just eleven years old, the inventor Frank Epperson of Oakland, California was probably on holiday somewhere cold. On the window will, he had left a glass of water and soda together with the stick used for stirring; during the night, the temperature dropped to below zero and it froze. The following morning, he was curious and managed to pull out the iced drink from the glass by running it under warm water, then licked it holding the stick. Without realising it, he had invented the ice lolly, which he originally named epsicle , made up of Epperson + icicle.

In 1923, Epperson formally registered his invention, for which he obtained a patent, and renamed it popsicle. This registered trade name still exists and is now owned by Unilever.

Ice lollies were first introduced to Italy by American soldiers after World War II, paving the way for the production of industrial ice cream.  At first, two companies in Reggio Emilia and Bologna held the exclusive production rights, but production soon spread throughout Italy.

LAIeF was among these companies, and since 1980 we have been designing and creating machinery for the industrial production of ice creams on sticks. Our constant commitment and dedication to innovation in the sector now enables us to offer an extensive range of equipment and components: our linear and rotary machines are sold worldwide, and our excellent customer satisfaction ratings confirm that we have followed the right strategy.

LAIeF works for the customer, which ultimately also means anyone reading this, because if an ice lolly can bring people to smile on a grey day, it’s partly thanks to us.

Our customers

Uncle John Ice Cream
Gelato d’Italia