The Candy of 1962
Welcome to another ROADTRIP-‘62 ™ discussion of things from 1962! My name is Don Milne and I’ll be your guide on this virtual tour of history. Today, we’ll be discussing candy of 1962 and how that relates to the world then, the world before, and the world today. This is part of the plan at ROADTRIP-‘62 TM to discuss a different topic every other week, usually related to the segment of US-23 we just traveled. I hope this allows those of you who don’t know 1962 firsthand a chance to learn new things, and those of you who were there a chance to remember. By the time we travel the full length of US-23, you should have a pretty good idea of just how 1962 fits into today and yesterday! Time now to walk down to the candy store and satisfy our sweet tooths while we check out a little history.
Candy is of course, an ancient idea, as many animals crave sugars. Most plants have some sugar content, some higher than others, and some plants have been cultivated for that sweetness. Fruits are the most obvious parts of plants having higher sugar content. However, bees naturally concentrate sweetness in their honey, and therefore honey was used by the ancient Egyptians, Arabs and Chinese to create candied fruits and nuts. People in various parts of the world later found how to concentrate and refine sugars from some plants such as various canes, tree saps, and beets. Refined sugar was costly throughout history, causing the early boiled sugar candies of the seventeenth century to be available only to the wealthy. When mechanized harvest and processing methods were perfected in the mid-1800s, candy finally became available to the masses. Candy-making rapidly developed into an industry during the early nineteenth century. Syrups were developed for sale that even allowed homemakers to make hard candies easily. Before 1900, over 380 American factories were producing candy. This was mainly what we call "penny candy", sold by the piece from glass cases in general stores.
Some of these companies, or their products, are still around, such as NECCO, founded in 1847. The initials stand for New England Confectionery Company, and it is the oldest candy company in North America. Chewing gum is another old candy idea, based on a gum made from spruce tree sap and beeswax by early American settlers. John B. Curtis turned the idea into the first commercial chewing gum in 1848, called the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. Just two years later, the Curtis company started selling flavored paraffin wax gums. Chewing gum was still a favorite candy in 1899, when the leading gum manufacturers including Adams, Beeman, and Curtis organized into a conglomerate called the American Chicle Company. By that time, gum was based on chicle sap from South America, instead of wax or spruce sap. The Henry Heide Candy Company, creators of Jujubes, was founded in 1869. Brach's Confections has been manufacturing candy since 1904, and by 1961 was producing over 500 varieties of candy. Brach’s is now a brand of Farley's & Sathers Candy Company, Inc. They still make a variety of Brach's candies, including chewy Orange Slices. Chicago’s Ferrara Pan Candy Company, still famous for boxed candies such as Boston Baked Beans, was founded in 1908. Peerless Quality Confection began operation in 1914 but closed in 2007. This company was a manufacturer primarily of bulk candy, like Brach’s. They cited increasing imports and offshore production as the major reason for closing. I believe I have read that Brach’s moved much of their production out of the United States, which let them join the trend instead of fighting it.
Candy is still made by dissolving sugar in water, with the different temperatures of the boiling process determining the type of candy: the highest temperatures make hard candy, medium heat makes soft candy, and lower temperatures make chewy candies. We’re going to start our trip with my favorite soft candy: fudge! Before we leave Mackinaw City, I bought some genuine Mackinac Island style fudge. The Murdick family has been making it in the Mackinac area since 1887, and it’s still delicious. Rome Murdick is credited with several innovations in that era, which are used by nearly all American fudge makers today. He perfected the process of cooking fudge in copper kettles, pouring the fudge onto a marble slab to cool, working the fudge until it sets (known as creaming), and shaping the fudge into loaves to be cut into ½ pound slices. Murdick's was my dad's favorite fudge. I’m buying a few of these slices, same as I could have in 1962, to last several days down the road.
The oldest of the candies popular in 1962 date from near the turn of the 20th century. Following is a sampling of introduction dates I have found. These candies are still available today, some having been on the market for over 100 years:
- Conversation Hearts were originally a seashell-shaped candy invented in 1860 when Daniel Chase, brother of NECCO founder Oliver Chase, invented the process to print on candies. They later became the familiar sugar hearts and were known as Sweet Hearts in 1900. NECCO now manufactures over one hundred thousand Conversation Hearts daily.
- In 1871, Thomas Adams patented a machine to manufacture gum.
- Milk chocolate, now the basis of about 80% of candy bars, was invented in 1875 by Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk and Daniel Peter, a chocolate maker. The Hershey milk chocolate bar was created in 1900 and the production of candy bars really took off after World War I. During the war, the US Army placed orders for candy bars and from then through the 1920s, manufacturers came up with as many as 40,000 different candy bars!
- Marshmallow Circus Peanuts were invented in the 1800s and have been manufactured by many companies over the years. I remember the variation Circus Vegetables when I was a kid, with green pea pods, orange carrots, and others.
- The Wunderle Candy Company created candy corn in the 1880s. Many companies have made this Halloween favorite since, including the Goelitz Confectionery Company, which has produced it since 1898 and has made it longer than any other company.
- In 1893, William Wrigley, Jr. began selling both Juicy Fruit gum and Wrigley's Spearmint gum.
- Good 'n Plenty, a candy-coated licorice treat, has been around since 1893. Was Choo-Choo Charlie chewing these as early as 1962?
- Tootsie Rolls were created in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield, and named after his daughter.
- Franklin V. Canning created Dentyne gum in 1899.
- NECCO created its famous pastel wafers with their name stamped on them in 1901.
- In 1905, the Squirrel Brand Company created the first peanut bar.
- Chiclets, the original candy-coated chewing gum, were introduced in 1906 in peppermint flavor, and were based on the idea of candy-coating almonds. They were produced by the Frank H. Fleer company, which is also known for other gums including Dubble Bubble bubble gum, invented in 1928. In 1962, the same year the company was sold to the Warner-Lambert Company, Tiny Size Chiclets were introduced. Chiclets brand has since been transferred through several other companies but continues to exist in nearly the same packaging.
- Hershey invented their foil-wrapped Kisses in 1907.
- Though flavored hard candy has been made for centuries, the lollipop with a stick has only been made since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1908, the Racine Confectionery Machine Company of Racine, Wisconsin, invented the first automated lollipop machine. They were able to produce 57,000 lollipops in a day, but modern companies such as the Spangler Candy Company can make up to 3,000,000 per day! Dum Dum Pops were created by the Akron Candy Company in 1924 and Spangler purchased them in 1953. Spangler also makes one of my favorite lollipops, the Saf-T-Pop, with its rope-like handle instead of a stick.
- Life Savers were introduced in 1912; like Chiclets they came in peppermint flavor. In 1934 the popular five-flavor roll was created.
- Also in 1912, the J.W. Glenn Co. introduced what were called “penny chewing gum novelties”, made from paraffin was. Though gum is no longer made from wax, these novelties are. The most famous of these are wax lips and Nik-L-Nips, though fangs, moustaches, finger nails, harmonicas, and other items have been produced over the years. Today, wax lips under the name Wack-O-Wax are still produced by Tootsie-Roll Industries.
- In 1913, Goo Goo Clusters is created, combining perhaps more ingredients than any other candy bar up to that time, with milk chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and peanuts.
Though the list above is of older candies, most of the wrapped, branded candies we might remember from 1962 were invented in the period of 1920-1960. Here’s a sampling of introduction dates I found for some of the oldest of our favorites. Again, all of these were available in 1962 and many of them still are today:
- Jujubes were introduced by the Henry Heide Candy Company in 1920. This hard candy was complimented by a chewy candy also new that year, Jujyfruits. Original flavors of Jujubes included floral tastes like lilac, violet, and rose. Jujubes are of course famous for the unusual shapes, including asparagus, tomato, and pea pod.
- Chuckles were first made in 1921, using a formula developed by Fred W. Amend to eliminate the outbreak of "sweat" beads on the surface of jelly candies. They are now made by Farley's & Sathers Candy Company, Inc.
- The Palmer Candy Company, who I know best for hollow chocolate bunnies at Easter, introduced their Bing candy bar in 1923.
- Slo Poke, a caramel lollipop, was created by the Holloway Candy Company in 1926. This is another brand that has gone through many owners, including the Clark Company, and is now owned by the Georgia Nut Company.
- In 1925, Bit-O-Honey debuts. I’ve never been able to notice the bits of almond embedded in this honey-flavored taffy bar.
- Milk Duds were introduced in 1926, which were intended to be perfectly round caramel morsels. The maker, F. Hoffman & Company, found this impossible to achieve and labeled the pieces as duds. After many changes of hands, Milk Duds are now manufactured by Hershey.
- To close out the 1920s, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were introduced in 1928.
Other favorites that came out before 1929 include, in alphabetical order:
- Baby Ruth
- Charleston Chew
- Goetze's Carmel Creams
- Gummi Bears
- Mike & Ike
Many of our favorites from 1962 are later arrivals at the candy counter. These usually involved novel ways to combine older candy ideas, new combinations of ingredients, new flavors, and sometimes nothing more than packaging innovations for older single piece candies. Here’s a sampling of introduction dates I found for some of these newer treats. All of these were also available in 1962 and many of them still are today:
- In 1930, Mars introduced the Snickers Bar which, as of a couple years ago, is the best selling candy bar ever.
- Tootsie Pops, one of my favorites, were introduced in 1931. Many consider them to be the first “novelty candy” because they combined two candies into one. I just love the chewy ending to a lollipop.
- The Sifer Candy Company created the Valomilk Candy Bar in 1931 also, after an accident involving marshmallow that remained runny when it was cooked too long.
- Butter Mints were invented by Katherine Beecher in 1932 and these melt-in-your mints are still made today by the same candy company, and copied by many others.
- In 1932, the Ferrara Pan Candy Company created their own brand of a cinnamon hard candy. Ferrara calls it Red Hots.
- The 3 Musketeers Bar is created by Mars in 1932. It is originally a three-flavor bar combining chocolate, vanilla and strawberry nougat. In 1945 it changed to the chocolate nougat only that we are familiar with.
- The Atkinson Candy Company creates a unique treat also in 1932. A combination of roasted peanuts, salt, sugar and coconut, the Chick-O-Stick is crunchy, flaky, and chewy all at the same time.
- The Hollywood Candy Company invented the Payday bar in 1932, naming it for the day it was invented at their plant. They had previously made other candy bars and of their products, only the Zero and Payday are still being made by Hershey Foods.
- William Luden, one of the creators of cough drops, gets into the candy business in 1936 with the 5th Avenue Candy Bar.
- The Mallo Cup became the one of the first cup candies in the United States, created sometime in the late 1930s. The Boyer Brothers originally tried covering actual marshmallows with chocolate but could not get the marshmallow to stiffen. When one of their wives suggested the use of cupcake papers, they were on their way. They later introduced the "Play Money" that allowed you to redeem cardboard coins packed with the candy, for more candy.
- In 1939, the Overland Candy Company introduced a malted milk ball called Giants. When Leaf Brands merged with the company, these were reintroduced as Whoppers in 1949. They were originally sold unwrapped, two for a penny, and later in a cellophane sleeve as Fivesomes. In the early 1950s a colored coating was added for Easter sales, under the name Robin Eggs. Whoppers are now made by a Finnish company and are available in strawberry and peanut butter, in addition to the original chocolate.
- RainBlo bubble gum balls were introduced by Leaf Confectionery in 1940. This was the first gumball with flavoring on the inside and the same color both inside and out. It remains the number one gumball in the world.
- Because chocolate sales decreased in summer due to melting, Mars coated chocolate bits with a candy shell and introduced M&M's in 1941. In 1962, you had to leave the house to buy candy, but today you can buy M&M's online!
- In 1949 Junior Mints were introduced.
- Ce De Candy, Inc. created Smarties in 1949. The rolls of Smarties became “candy pills” for millions of kids. Looking at the list below, it’s interesting how the 1940s introduced kids to pills, cigarettes and cigars in candy form. I doubt you could successfully create those candies today!
The 1940s saw a number of innovations, including the following in alphabetical order:
- Black Taffy
- Bulls Eye’s Caramel Creams
- Canada Mints
- Candy Buttons
- Candy Cigarettes
- Charms Squares
- Coconut Bars
- El Bubble Bubble Gum Cigars
- Kits Taffy
- Long Boys
- Root Beer Barrels
- Sen-Sen Breath Refreshments
- Sugar Daddy Pops
- Teaberry Gum
- Just Born, Inc. created Marshmallow Peeps in the shape of Easter chickens, in 1954.
- Ferrara Pan created another hit in 1954: the famous Atomic FireBall. They didn’t expect this spicy candy to be quite the hit it was, as the production capacity was 200 cases per day. But within three weeks of sending out samples, orders came in for over 50,000 cases per day.
- Candy Necklaces were introduced in 1958.
- Reeds roll candies, the only competitor to Life Savers I can remember, introduced both Root Beer and Butterscotch Candies sometime in the 1950s.
The 1950s also had lots more new goodies, including the following in alphabetical order:
- Black Licorice Pipes (smoking again!)
- Gold Rocks Nugget Bubble Gum
- Mary Janes
- Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles
- Zagnut Bar
And, of course, a few more candies came out just in time for 1962.
- Mars created Starburst Fruit Chews in 1960 and a few years later fortified them with Vitamin C. This may have been the first attempt to create a healthy candy.
- Another attempt at healthy candy also occurred in 1960, when Amurol Confections introduced the first sugar free bubble gum called Blammo.
- In our favorite year of 1962, Now & Later was first sold. This candy was invented as a way for the Phoenix Candy Company to ship taffy products year round. After a trip through Kraft and other companies, it is now made by Farley's & Sathers Candy Company, Inc.
- Also in 1962, Ferrara Pan created Lemonheads, and later in the year, Apple Heads, Grape Heads and Orange Heads. Like most of their candies, these are called panned candies, which are built up from a small center with rotating machinery adding ingredients. Ferrara Pan produces approximately 500 million Lemonheads per year! In May, 2013, they released a limited edition tin with the original artwork, so buy some for nostalgia sake, and because they're still tasty.
- We just missed out on Sweetarts, as they were not introduced until 1963. Darn! They appear to have been a less messy variation on Pixy Stix, which came out first.
We could have bought quite a few of these back at St. Laurent Brothers in Bay City, Michigan. St. Laurent is best known as a nut shop, roasting their own nuts since 1904. They roast a complete selection of nuts including peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and even hazelnuts. However, our interest today is with their extensive display of old and new candy. I stocked up on some of my favorites such as Black Jack Gum, Milk Duds, Smarties, salted Pumpkin Seeds, M&M's, candy cigarettes, Pixy Stix, and candy buttons. I’ve always loved candy buttons, even though it’s a bit of a nuisance to bite off each button separately. To eliminate this step, my brothers and I would sometimes chew up the whole role, paper and all. After we had extracted every bit of sugar from the wad, we just spit out the remaining paper!
When I was growing up, we got most of our candy at Halloween and Easter, with a smaller dose at Christmas. I generally spent my nickel allowance on some candy too, buying a pack of baseball cards with the slab of pink bubble gum one week and some smaller pieces the next week. You could spread that nickel pretty far, as many items were still only a penny. I think the Pumpkin Seeds were 2 cents though. Easter was mostly chocolate bunnies, along with some Peeps, chocolate-covered marshmallows, and jelly beans. But at Halloween, the deal was anything goes! That’s the beauty of getting candy from a lot of different people: they bought different things for you. I never cared too much for the taffy products like B-B-Bats, Mary Janes, Kits or peanut butter twists. But I ate a lot of bubble gum, candy cigarettes, anything tart like Smarties or Lik-M-Aid, and candy bars. Butterfingers were one of my favorite candy bars, even though they stuck to your teeth after you were done. I suspect that was the cause of several of my rear tooth cavities.
Some of the candies you may remember have sadly disappeared from the stores. Actually, I’ve never heard of some of the following on this list of discontinued candy. I imagine that some were regional favorites and you may recognize them. Let me know if you have! Once in awhile, some company will make a short run of one of these, but apparently they never sell well enough to stay in production.
- 10:30 Candy Bar
- Abba-Zaba Chocolate (the peanut butter flavor still appears to be sold)
- Adams Clove Gum
- Beeman’s Pepsin Gum
- Black Cow Sucker
- Blackjack Taffy
- Bonomos Turkish Taffy
- Brach's Cherry Twisters
- Brach's Coffee Candy
- Bub's Daddy Gum
- Butternut Candy Bar
- Cherry Hump
- Chicken Dinner Candy Bar
- Chocolate Babies
- Chum Gum
- Chuckles Licorice
- Delfa Rolls
- Denver Sandwich Bar
- Dr. Pepper Gum
- Fan Tan Gum
- Gatorade Gum
- High Noon Candy Bar
- Hollywood Candy Bar
- Ice Cream Gum
- Marathon Bar
- Milkshake Bar
- Nickel Naks
- Pal Bubble Gum
- Peak Bar
- Pecan Pete
- Ping Bars
- Pom Poms
- Powerhouse Candy Bar
- Regal Crown Sours
- Skippers Bubble Gum
- Snirkles Caramel Bar
- Spoon Candy
- Stark Candy Roll Wafers
- Sugar Mama
- Switzer's licorice
- Walnut Crush
- Wax fingernails, harmonicas and moustaches
- Whiz Bar
We have another chance to stock up on candy in Columbus, Ohio. The Anthony-Thomas Candy Company in began in 1952, after some earlier candy, restaurant and dairy ventures by Anthony Zanetos. They moved to a larger plant in 1962, when we would have found them at 1160 West Broad Street. Today they are at even larger quarters. They make candy for 14 retail outlets in the Columbus area and also have a fund-raising division and contract-manufacturing division. If you’ve bought some fund-raising candy for someone’s high school trip or similar reason, chances are you have had come of their candy before. Besides buying some quality candy, we’re here for the plant tour. They have a free factory tour every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30am. to 2:30pm. The tour takes about an hour, showing off their state-of-the-art candy factory.
We can still buy some of the more popular old candies at convenience stores along the way, usually bagged but sometimes sold individually at the counter. As some of these stores were older general stores back in 1962, we can almost imagine we’re back then. A stop at some older store in mid-Kentucky or Tennessee will probably keep us supplied with candy. You can always count on some candy bars like Nestle Crunch (one of my dad’s favorites), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Baby Ruth, Snickers, Almond Joy, or Butterfinger. Other older candies I often find at modern convenience stores are Twizzlers, Wrigley’s gums, Lemonheads, and Life Savers. And if we’re really lucky, there will be some unexpected gem like Goo Goo Clusters, Mallow Cups, or Bun. Of course, nothing will be priced like 1962, when a candy bar or pack of gum cost five cents, but at least we can still buy our favorites.
After crossing the mountains, the Mast General Store in Waynesville, North Carolina is our next candy stop. Mast is a blend of old general store with modern sportswear store that still sells candy at a counter. Back in 1962 they may have sold Brach’s at a Pick-A-Mix display, where you could select your own mixture from the various bins. I remember that these displays even used to let you buy a single piece for a nickel. Brach’s used to have these in many department stores and supermarkets, but today you mostly find Brach’s candies bagged at your local discount store, drug store or lumber yard. Today the Mast General Store sells many of our favorites by the pound, including candy corn, Giant Pixy Sticks, NECCO Wafers (both assorted and chocolate), Hershey`s Kisses, Zagnut, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Tootsie Rolls, Chick-O-Stick, hard candies such as honeycombed peanuts and root beer barrels, and B-B-Bats in all flavors (chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, and banana).
There are several other long-time candy manufacturers along US-23, such as Neumeister's Candy Shoppe in Upper Sandusky, Ohio and Crown Candy, originally of Atlanta, Georgia. It was still there in 1962 but has since moved to Macon, Georgia. Crown made its business on selling bulk candy to the 5 & 10 cent stores of the country, beginning in 1932. The candy was sold by the pound from display counters, usually located in high visibility areas of the stores. You could find these counters in almost any dime store of the 1960, and many Sears stores. There are still a few out there, but they are rare. My wife recently bought some dark chocolate malt balls at a store that looked just like an old S.S. Kresge: maybe they came from Crown. They make many different chocolate candies including fudge, and pecan cashew, and peanut clusters. They also produce old-fashioned peanut brittle, divinity, orange slices, fruit slices, and starlight mints. Crown Candy is also the largest supplier of coconut candies in the United States, making toasted macaroons, coconut bon bons, and coconut carmel tips. I’m not sure if we can buy from a counter at the factory, but I picked up some of their melt-in-your-mouth coconut candies last Christmas anyway.
Time to quit traveling and see what candy awaits us in Jacksonville, Florida. Perhaps strangely for a city of this size, I could not locate any old candy companies. So, I guess I’ll just stop at a K-Mart and buy some Brach’s or candy bars by the bag. At least there were a few K-Marts in 1962, but that’s a story for another trip. Until then, I’ll enjoy some candy, listen to the radio, rest from the day’s long trip, and see you next week on our ROADTRIP-'62 ™ journey along old US-23!
All photos by the author and Copyright © 2012 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.
All other content Copyright © 2012 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.