The original Good Humor company started in Youngstown, Ohio, during the early 1920s and covered most of the country by the mid-1930s. In 1919, Christian Nelson, an Iowa store owner, discovered how to coat an ice cream bar with chocolate, inventing the Eskimo Pie. When he heard of the discovery, Harry Burt (1875–1926), owner of a Youngstown, Ohio, ice cream parlor, replicated Nelson’s product.
His daughter was the first to try it. Her verdict? It tasted great but was too messy to eat. Burt’s son suggested freezing the sticks used for their Jolly Boy Suckers (Burt’s earlier invention) into the ice cream to make a handle and things took off from there. The Good Humor name came from the belief that a person’s “humor”, or temperament, was related to the humor of the palate (a.k.a., your “sense of taste”).
And we still believe in great-tasting, quality products. Soon after the Good Humor bar was created, Burt outfitted a fleet of twelve street vending trucks with freezers and bells from which to sell his creation. The first set of bells came from his son’s bobsled. Good Humor bars have since been sold out of everything from tricycles to push carts to trucks.
After waiting three years for a patent, Burt took a trip to Washington, D.C., in 1923 with a five-gallon pail of Good Humor bars for the patent officials to sample. It worked – his patent was granted. Good Humor’s patents were for the equipment and process to manufacture frozen novelties on a stick, but not for the product itself since it was so close to an Eskimo Pie. Burt outfitted twelve street vending trucks in Youngstown with rudimentary freezers and bells to sell his “Good Humor Ice Cream Suckers” in 1920.
The first set was from his son’s old bobsled. By 1925, Harry Burt Jr. opened a franchise in Miami, Florida. A Good Humor plant opened in Chicago in 1929. The mob demanded $5,000 in protection money (that would be almost $70,000 today), which was refused, so they destroyed part of the Chicago fleet.
In the early days, Good Humor men were required to tip their hats to ladies and salute gentlemen. It took three days of training and orientation to become a Good Humor Man. The Good Humor name came from the belief that a person’s “humor,” or temperament, was related to the humor of the palate (a.k.a. your sense of taste). By 1960, there were over 85 different treats.
Good Humor expanded its lineup to include Chocolate Burst Cones; sundaes in chocolate, butterscotch, and strawberry; single-serve cups in apricot and honeydew; and more.
Good Humor sold its fleet of vehicles in 1976 to focus on selling in grocery stores. Some of the trucks were purchased by ice cream distributors and others were sold to individuals. The trucks sold for $1,000 – $3,000 each.
Almost a century after the Good Humor Truck revolutionized the delivery of treats to people of all ages, they launched the first-ever commercially viable solar-powered freezers in New York City. The freezers being tested in Central Park operate free of electricity — vendors can even charge their own mobile devices by plugging them into outlets attached to the freezer units. They use these to keep those Popsicles, Good Humor, or Magnum-brand bars cold while at the same time putting no strain on the environment.
The Good Humor Man, released June 1, 1950, by Columbia Pictures is a 1950 comedy crime film directed by Lloyd Bacon and written by Frank Tashlin. The film stars Jack Carson, Lola Albright, Jean Wallace, George Reeves, Peter Miles, and Frank Ferguson.
Jack Carson plays Good Humor delivery driver Biff Jones, who gets in trouble with the law after being falsely connected with a $300,000 robbery of the cash safe at work, and an apparent murder. He is in love with a neighborhood gal, Margie Bellew, who lives with her younger brother Johnny. Biff and Margie, with the help of Johnny and all the kids from the neighborhood, absolve Biff by fighting and capturing the gangsters guilty of the crime.
Original Good Humor Bar
- Edy’s Pie (formerly known as Eskimo Pie) is an American brand of chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar wrapped in foil. It was the first such dessert sold in the United States. It is marketed by Dreyer’s, a division of Froneri. In wake of the 2020-2021 George Floyd protests, the name was changed to Edy’s Pie, in recognition of Dreyer’s co-founder, candy maker Joseph Edy. The former name is a reference to the Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut peoples. [Back]