Pat Shingleton: "Father Hurricane and The Stick..."
On July 23, 1893, Father Benito Vines died in Havana, Cuba. Father Vines is regarded as the preeminent hurricane scholar of the 19th century. As director of the observatory at Belen College in Havana in 1870, he made meticulous observations of weather conditions, especially during tropical disturbances. His daily observations became a climatological catalog for future forecasts. His notations included excerpts expressing brick-red sunsets, pounding surf and how cumulus clouds would evaporate at the approach of a hurricane. His keen sense of observation allowed him to understand the dynamics of tropical cyclones and by 1875 he was able to issue accurate hurricane warnings. He was late recognized as “Father Hurricane” and invented a device used by mariners to avoid hurricanes and typhoons called the Antilles Cyclonoscope. When Frank Epperson was 11, he took a wooden stir stick, placed it in soda pop and placed it outside one wintry New York evening. Frank enjoyed the frozen treat the next day. In 1923, Frank used a Birch tongue depressor to hold the frozen delight and applied for a patent for his "frozen ice on a stick;" calling it the "Epsicle Ice Pop." Frank's children encouraged him to change the name to "Popsicle" and later sold his idea to the Joe Lowe Company. Good Humor Ice Cream now holds the rights and during the Great Depression two Popsicles were joined together and named “Twin Popsicles.” In addition, popsicle sticks have been used for a variety of arts and crafts projects.