Mistakes that Changed the World: How 3 Accidental Inventions Revolutionized the Food Industry

Learn about 3 people that accidentally created popular foods we now eat everyday!




Picture of icecream cone from Pexels.

By: Elizabeth Shoop, Journalist

Most inventions are made by asking a question/finding a problem and building something that helps fix it. However, shown here are three foods were created by complete accident.

1: The Ice Cream Cone

In 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair, an ice cream vendor was scooping his ice cream into disposable bowls. At the same time, Ernest A. Hamwi was selling zalabia, a crispy waffle-like treat right next door. By now, the ice cream vendor was running out of bowls. Hamwi saw this and quickly wrapped his waffle around into the shape of a cone. The customers were very happy to have two treats in one, and it became an instant hit. Now there are many different types of cones, including cake cones, the original waffle cone, chocolate cones, and everything in between.

2: The Potato Chip

There are many legends as to how the chip we all know and love today was created, but this is the most popular story. In 1853, Cornelius Vanderbilt was eating at the Moon’s Lake House. He did not like the fried potatoes he was given, and sent them back to the kitchen. The chef, George Crum, got angry with the request and sliced a potato as thin as he could, fried the pieces to a crispy texture, and sent them back. To everyone’s surprise, Vanderbilt loved them and even asked for more. Hundreds upon hundreds of new flavors of potato chips are now available such as the original salted, barbeque, flaming hot, and even cinnamon!

3: The Popsicle

In 1905, an eleven-year-old by the name of Frank Epperson was living in San Francisco Bay. He was in his garage and mixed some soda powder with water in a can. Frank then left it out overnight with the wooden mixing stick still left inside the can. It was a very cold night, and the garage temperature was below freezing. The next day, Frank entered the garage to find a frozen treat where he had left the soda water. He loved it and started licking and biting into it. The ice pop, or popsicle, was born.

Now you know some cool facts about how the popsicle, potato chip, and ice cream cone was born.

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Take Action:

  • Buy potato chips
  • Buy ice cream cones
  • Buy popsicles
  • After you buy these products, tell the story to your friends and family