A Jawbreaking History

by Laurnie Wilson

A Jawbreaking Past

Split JawbreakerIt goes without saying that nobody actually wants to break their own jaw. Not only would that be painful, but it would also get in the way of future candy consumption. After all, isn’t that what really matters? Yet, for over a century, people have been drawn to a candy with an exceptionally violent name: Jawbreakers.

Maybe it’s the thrill of eating something that could be dangerous, or maybe it’s the convenience of having a lot of sugar in one place, but whatever the reason, Jawbreakers are one candy that’s never gone out of style.

Behind the Name

Retro Jawbreaker boxThe term “jawbreaker” dates back to the middle of the 19thcentury. In 1839, it appeared in the dictionary and was defined as “a hard to pronounce word.” So how did this hard to pronounce word become a jaw-breaking candy?

The truth is, no one really knows! It seems that this is one of those candy mysteries that will never be totally unwrapped. But, you can imagine that chomping down on a mouthful of rock-hard candy could do some serious dental damage, so the name definitely seems to fit!


Jawbreaking At It’s Best

Jawbreaker ProcessEven a meager attempt to take a bite out of one of these guys will have you rethinking your choices. This almost 100% sugar bomb is cooked using a hot-pan process, at a high temperature for 14-19 days.

During this time, the sugar is churned constantly, until that perfect jawbreaker shape is formed. That means they’re super great for licking, but not so great for crunching.


Jaw-dropping Achievement

Assorted JawbreakersAlthough the origin of the name may be lost in the candy sands of time, we do know that the Ferrara Pan Candy Company was the company that made jawbreakers popular. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, numerous candy companies sold a jawbreaker-esque candy. However, it was Ferrara Pan, based in Forest Park, Illinois, that launched the jawbreaker to success!

Since then the danger and deliciousness has kept this candy alive and well. So you can suck on the sweet success of a candy that’s goes way back.

Want to explore the history of other cool confectioner treats? Visit our Candy History page to gobble up more fascinating and fun facts about other sweet treats.

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