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Candy History, Nostalgic Candy Favorites

Candy History: Clark Bars

August 29, 2013 by

vintage-clark-bar-postcard

Clark Bars are an American institution near and dear to our black-and-gold Pittsburgh Hearts. They were formulated right here in our hometown of McKeesport, PA at the turn of the century by a gentleman named David L. Clark. The candy bar was originally made just a few blocks from the warehouse where our candy company has  resided since 1927! Since our founder Ernest Prince was friendly with Mr. Clark, we were probably the very FIRST candy wholesalers in the nation to offer this treat.

The company later changed its name to “DL Clark Company” and moved to downtown Pittsburgh. It graced the city with an illuminated candy-bar sign and remained until 1955 when it was acquired by Beatrice Foods. Over the years, they would be acquired by Leaf Confections and then again by Hershey, who returned the candy bar and its headquarters to its roots in Pittsburgh. It remained for three short but blissful years until New England Confectionary Company acquired it.

vintage clark candy bar pittsburghDespite Clark’s many owners and a few controversial ingredient changes (that were fortunately reversed), Clark Bars remain a tried-and-true classic combination of crunchy peanut butter and creamy milk chocolate. Today, this retro candy qualifies as a piece of edible Americana.

Candy History

The Surprising History of Candy Corn

October 12, 2012 by

This candy history blog post is brought to you courtesy of guest blogger Esther of Why’d You Eat That?

These days, candy corn is a given when it comes to Halloween. You see it at every party, in every store window display, and eat it by the handful while driving home from a really depressing day at the office only to discover stray kernels months later.

What I’m saying is candy corn has become kind of commonplace. It’s become expected, really. But that hasn’t always been the case. Candy corn used to be an exciting innovation. I know, right? Candy corn an innovation. Crazy, right? Not so much. That tri-color technology was mind-blowing.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org 

 

The lil’ nibbles were invented by George Renniger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia. While Wunderlee is credited with being the first to sell commercially, the sale and production of candy corn is mostly attributed to Goelitz Confectionary Company. The candy corn business was started by the second generation of Goelitz candy makers in 1898. It kept the company afloat through the Great Depression and WWI and II. You may not have heard of Goelitz before. That’s because they changed their name to Jelly Belly.

Courtesy of Jelly Belly: The Goelitz Confectionery Company’s Midland Park plant.

 

At the beginning, candy corn was actually called “chicken feed.” This made sense considering in those days corn was chicken feed. People didn’t eat corn the way we do today, mainly cause it tasted icktastic. Chicken feed (the candy) had no association with Halloween or fall. It was, however, a seasonal candy due to the tedious nature of the work. Chicken feed was only available between March and November.

Courtesy of Jelly Belly

 

Candy corn was a type of “mellow cream.” A mellow cream (or mellocreme or mellowcream or mellowcreme) candy is made from corn syrup and sugar with marshmallow flavor. Goelitz originally called them butter cream candies. However, there was pressure to change the name in the 1950s since there wasn’t any actual butter in the recipe. False advertising, my friends. It shall not be tolerated.

The recipe for candy corn was simple: sugar, corn syrup, water, and other ingredients were put into massive kettles that could hold up to 45lbs of the mixture. It was cooked into a slurry and, once well blended, marshmallow and fondant were added to the kettles. This served to smooth out the texture and make the candy soft to the bite. The mixture was poured into buckets called “runners” and workers called “stringers” would walk backwards while they poured the mixture into large kernel-shaped, cornstarch molds. The workers passed over with the buckets three times, each time with a different color: white, orange, and yellow. Fun fact: candy corn is made from bottom to top. The yellow bit is the top and the white is the bottom.

Courtesy of Jelly Belly: Stringers pouring candy slurry into the kernel molds.

 

Once dry, the kernels were removed from the molds and packed into wooden boxes, tubs, and cartons and shipped by wagon or train. The treat was perishable so it couldn’t travel for long periods of time. The butter cream candies were sold out of barrels in bulk candy and drug stores and became so popular that other companies tried emulating them. Rival companies made turnips, four leaf clovers, chestnuts, and other natural shapes, but those were nothing compared to the revolutionary tri-color candy corn.

Courtesy of Jelly Belly: The Goelitz Chicago factory

 

In the 1940s, candy companies began making use of “family sized” clear cellophane bags, the better to keep candy fresh while still allowing consumers to see what was inside. It was important to continue showing off the three colors but now Goelitz could ship the candy farther than before. 

Courtesy of The Candy Professor

 

In the 1900s, the demand for the tiny treat increased so much that Goelitz had to actually turn down orders. They didn’t have the production capacity to keep up with its popularity. That changed over the years and in 1951, the Goelitz Company had 12 factories around the country making candy corn. After WWII, candy corn was advertised as a Halloween candy and since then you can’t have Halloween without the candy corn.

And there you have it. A short history of candy corn. Now go impress your co-workers at the company Halloween party.


 

Bibliography for Candy Corn:

-”The Food Timeline–Halloween Food History: Traditions, Party Menus & Trick- or-treat.” Food Timeline: Food History & Vintage Recipes. Ed. Lynne Olver.  28 Oct. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

-”Fun Facts About Candy Corn – Candy and Chocolate – NCA.” NCA – National Confectioners Association. National Confectioners Association. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

-”Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, Inc. Fun Facts and FAQs.” Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company Home Page. Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, 07 Mar. 2008. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

-Huget, Jennifer L. “The Chemistry of Candy Corn.” The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

-Watson, Stephanie.  “What is candy corn and how is it made?”  29 September 2006.  HowStuffWorks.com.   28 October 2011.

-“History of Candy Corn, King of Halloween Candy.” Haunted Bay. Haunted Bay. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

-Weston, Nicole. “The History Of… Candy Corn.” Slashfood.com. The Huffington Post, 30 Oct. 2006. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

-Kawash, Samira. “Where Our Love/Hate Relationship With Candy Corn Comes From.”The Atlantic — News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture, Technology, National, International, and Life – TheAtlantic.com. The Atlantic, 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

-Kawash, Samira. “1951 Goelitz Candy Corn Ad.” Candy Professor. 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.

-“Candy Corn.” 2011. The History Channel website. Oct 28 2011, 8:08.

Candy History, Candy News, Nostalgic Candy Favorites

Meet The Radz and other fun candy characters!

May 31, 2012 by

Radz is all about making candy fun, and a big part of that is our collection of colorful Radz characters. Meet Twig, Scorch, Antic, Max and Bubbs!

They’ve each got their own personalities. We like to think of them as your typical group of friends, each with their own passions and quirks.

We’ve got Twig, the outdoorsman.

And Scorch, the extreme sports loving “bro.”

There’s Antic, the prankster of the group.

Max is the traveler, ever on the go.

And finally, there’s Bubbs, the loyal buddy always ready to lend a hand.

We’ve taken a lot of care getting to know our characters (and yes, we can even tell you who’s frenemies with who) and we’re very excited to share them with the world through our candy dispensers (available soon at CandyFavorites!) and our fun, free online entertainment portal. But we also know we’re hardly the first to figure out that tasty candy and fun characters make an awesome duo.

So, in the spirit of CandyFavorites, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some other candy characters and mascots that have appeared over the years.

Choo Choo Charlie was the face of Good & Plenty starting in 1950.

He may not be around anymore, but many fans still remember how much Charlie loved trains and his Good & Plenty!  Check out one of Charlie’s commercial’s here.

M&Ms have been around since the 40s, but it wasn’t until 1954 that the characters Red and Yellow made their debut. Remember these guys?

The characters got an overhaul in the mid-90s, when a computer animated Red and Yellow began appearing in TV commercials, soon be followed by Blue, Ms. Green, Orange, and the recently introduced newest member of the M&M bunch, Ms. Brown.

The Dum Dums Drum man was developed for Spangler Candy in 1966.

Wally Warhead burst onto the sour candy scene in the 1980s with his signature puckered lips.

And Mr. Jelly Belly first appeared in 1996.

Did we miss your favorite candy character or mascot?  Let us know in the comments! And come check us out and learn more about the Radz characters at candyfavorites.com and radzworld.com!

Candy History, chocolate, Easter Candy

History of the Chocolate Bunny and Where to Start Eating

April 13, 2011 by

Chocolate bunny - April 12According to Gourmet Live, the first American chocolate bunny was made in the mid-1840s by Whitman, but the fad did not catch on until they were mass-produced and marketed in 1916 by Bortz. The tradition of chocolate bunnies started in Germany in the early 1800s, though. Probably they were more like sinewy, gangly hares than soft cute bunnies, though.

Whatever the history, you can’t deny that they are an Easter classic. How do you eat them? Ears first or feet first? Back in the day when I worked at NCA we had quite a lively office debate on the topic. I still eat them feet first. You don’t want the little guy scampering off. But tell us your method and reasoning. I think of the ears as a perfect handle to get the cute little feet taken care of but some say that’s the wrong way.

Bunny by dearbarbie.

Candy Bar Reviews, Candy History, Candy Reviews, Retro Candy

The Zero Bar is far from a Zero!

July 15, 2010 by
Vintage Zero Bar Wrapper

The Zero Bar is a candy with a long history as it was first introduced in the 1930's by Hollywood Candy Company but it now owned by Hershey Foods. This wrapper , circa early 1930's, is very rare as it shows a Polar Bear!

The Zero Bar is not your average candy bar as it is a candy with a history spanning over 70 years!

It was first introduced in the 1920’s by the now defunct Hollywood Brands Candy Company and is now owned by Hershey Foods although this transition took place over many years and included many owners in between.

 The candy bar is unique in that it consists of a delicious amalgamation of almonds, peanuts and caramel nougat covered, or shall we say , drenched, with delicious white fudge. This was even more controversial upon its release as most candy bars then, as now, are coated in milk chocolate.

As per the name, this has been the subject of candy lore as it was not touted as a reduced calorie candy bar – hence the name Zero – but rather because the white coating was supposed to give the impression of snow and, metaphorically speaking, “cool as zero degrees”

The original wrapper had a Polar Bear on it and upon it’s initial release,  was called Double Zero. It wasn’t until 1934 that it formally became known as the Zero Bar

The original Zero Bars were distributed in the summer as fudge has a much higher melting point than milk chocolate and, as there wasn’t air conditioning readily available when the bar was first released; retailers stored this in their refrigerators.

Yes, this candy bar like others will melt if exposed to high temperatures but there is something intriguing about this bar that makes it endure as a classic if only because it is delicious and holds true to it’s original formula and because it is over 70 years old!

PS: The vintage Zero Bar wrapper pictured above is VERY rare as it shows the Polar Bear!  This is circa early 1930’s

Candy Bar Reviews, Candy History, Candy Reviews, chocolate

Dark Chocolate Clark Bars – A history of a classic candy bar revisted!

July 9, 2010 by
A vintage Clark Bar Advertisement made long before there was a Dark Chocolate version

Clark Bars have a unique place in Pittsburgh history and were invented in McKeesport where our candy warehouse has been located since 1927! The new Dark Chocolate Clark Bar is a truly delicious twist on an old classic!

The former pride of Pittsburgh and McKeesport , the beloved Clark Bar, has just released a  All Natural Dark Chocolate version which is truly a unique twist on one of the best tasting candy bars available

In case you are not familiar with Clark Bars, they are a candy bar consisting of a honeycomb peanut butter crisp center with a rich milk chocolate covering.

The signature item of one of the country’s largest candy empires started in 1891 with a small operation run by young entrepreneur David L. Clark located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Within a few years, he made enough money to open a modest factory in McKeesport which is where CandyFavorites has been located since we opened our candy filled warehouse in 1927 ( actually it was in 1926 but we didn’t incorporate until a year later)

 By 1911, the candy had become so popular that the company was forced to relocate, and Mr. Clark purchased a large building from a cracker manufacturer. 

 In the 1920’s, when the company was making approximately one hundred and fifty (150) different types of candy and gum, Mr. Clark decided to create a separate company for the gum-making business, thinking that the candy and gum operations would be more successful if run separately.

 He opened the Clark Brothers Chewing Gum Co. across the street from his candy factory and his family continued to run the business until 1955.  The company remained a Pittsburgh mainstay for several decades but ran into financial difficulties in the 90s and the brand was rescued by the New England Confectionary Company known to candy lovers as NECCO.

In 2010, the formula was changed for Clark Bars and now includes All Natural Ingredients.  The Dark Chocolate version of the Clark Bar is one of the few examples of a formula being improved and we think that this variation is so delicious that, someday, it too will become a classic!

Candy History, Candy News

An interview with Gary Duschl about the Worlds Longest Wrigleys Chewing Gum Wrapper Chain

April 22, 2010 by

Gary Duschl and the Worlds Longest Chewing Gum Wrapper

The other day, I had the good fortune to communicate with Gary Duschl who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the LONGEST chain made out of gum wrappers.   I asked Gary if he would share his experience with the readers of our  candy blog and below is an excerpt from his reply.

I find project amazing on many levels, both physically and metaphorically, and it is one of the more interesting uses for recycling candy/gum wrappers   – Jon H.Prince, President, CandyFavorites.com

I started the gum wrapper chain on March 11, 1965 while a student in the ninth grade.  As some of the kids were making them and I asked them to show me how to do it.  My competitive nature took over and I had to have the longest chain in the class, then the school, then the town and I just kept going from there.

My wife and I visited the Ripley Museum in Niagara Falls in 1992 and saw what was on display as a giant gum wrapper chain.  My chain dwarfed that one, and after contacting the manager, I found that there was an actual Guinness Record for gum wrapper chains.

I contacted Guinness and they advised as to what I would have to do to register my chain with them.  After doing so, I have held the Guinness World Record for the longest gum wrapper chain ever since.

The chain is made up of Wrigley wrappers only but, unfortunately, Wrigley’s has stopped putting wrappers on their gum in North America which makes finding suitable wrappers more challenging.

I have been in and on numerous radio programs, books, newspaper articles and TV shows including the Rosie O’Donnell show.  I have recently returned from a press conference and book signing at the Ripley Museum in Times Square.  The president of Ripley Entertainment signed the 3 millionth link (1,500,000 wrapper) at a special presentation.

I have been working on the chain now for over 45 years and I do get the odd comment about it being a waste of time although I look at it differently.  I worked as a General Manager with the responsibilities for four plants for the last 40 years and have just recently retired.  I play golf, baseball, hockey and guitar and have a number of other outside interests.

I work on the chain while relaxing in front of the TV and add to it a little every day.  I do this as well as other things, not instead of other things and it is surprising how things grow if you add to them a little at a time on a regular basis.

I have averaged 91 wrappers a day for the last 45 years and the result is a chain 63,527 feet long. It is measured by professional land surveyors every March 11th and I send this new information to Guinness every year so they can update their data base.

I am very proud of my status with Guinness and with Ripley’s.  It is a tremendous feeling to be recognized as the best in the world in your field or profession.  Guinness has recently nominated my record as one of the top 100 records of the decade.  After the polling by Guinness of fans all over the world, my record was voted tops in my category (stunts) and as a result is now included in the Guinness top 10 records of the decade.  My ultimate goal is to have my Guinness World Record Gum Wrapper Chain reach a marathon length of 26.2 miles.

My website is www.gumwrapper.com and no, I have not chewed all the gum myself.  I have received wrappers from wonderful people all over the world. I also have a video on YouTube which I use to show people how to make their own chains

Brachs Candy, Candy History, Candy Reviews

Brach’s Butterscotch Raises the Beauty of Simplicity Bar a Notch

April 19, 2010 by
Brachs Butterscotch Disks

Brach’s Butterscotch Disks are the standard by which all Butterscotch Disks are measured….

Sharability: 10

Denture Danger: 8

Convenience: 10

Novelty: 8

Overall: 9

These simple little classic disc candies are one of the best.

The butterscotch flavor just hits the spot no matter what mood you might be in. Butterscotch is a color, and a flavor, and yours truly, a candy. Butterscotch’s base ingredients are brown sugar and butter; corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and cream are usually added to the concoction to create the deliciousness that this candy so well exemplifies.

It is made similarly to toffee, but the sugar is boiled to different levels in the two candies.

The word butterscotch prossibly originated in Doncaster, England by a man named Samuel Parkinson. He began making candy in 1817 and in 1851 the Queen royally approved the recipe.

It is a good thing she did or else we might not have these sweet satisfying little discs to bring us an extra moment of happiness in our beautifully busy, yet amazingly enjoyable, ineffably incredible lives.

Sources:

http://www.doncasterbutterscotch.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterscotch

http://www.baking911.com/candy/butterscotch.htm

Candy Bar Reviews, Candy History, Candy Reviews

Rollin’ Rolos

January 28, 2010 by
This is a rare Rolo label from the 1970's and it shows the manufacturer as being Mackintosh which was the manufacturer in England

This is a rare Rolo label from the 1970’s and it shows the manufacturer as being Mackintosh which was the manufacturer in England

Sharability: 3

Denture Danger: 8

Convenience: 5

Novelty: 10

Overall: 9

1937 isn’t just the year that U.S. Steel raised workers’ wages to $5 a day, or just the year that the first quadruplets finished college, or just the year that China declared war on Japan. 1937 is the year that the Rolo candy was introduced.

Nestlé Rowntree manufactured this delicious candy, and Nestlé continues to produce Rolos everywhere except in the United States. Here in America, we have accredited The Hershey Company with the Rolo candy since 1969.

Rich milk chocolate surrounding a soft, chewy caramel filling; this candy is classic, this candy is delicious, and this candy is rolly. The most well known Rolo slogan, “Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?” is quite appropriate because the Rolos used to come with 11 in every package leaving 10 for you, but in 1995 Rolos reduced the number of candies in each package to 10 making giving up one much more difficult.

They also advertise the candies as rollable, you can roll them to your friend, you can roll them to your mom, or you can roll them to me.

A few fun facts about the vintage Rolo label:

This wrapper is interesting as it shows the “Mackintosh’s” brand above the candy name

Originally, Rolo’s were from the United Kingdom and it wasn’t until the early 1980’s, when Hershey acquired the brand, that the Mackintosh name would be removed from the label.

Also, if you look carefully, you will see that NECCO is on the label and that is because the New England Confectionary Company was the original distributor and manufacturer of Rolo’s in the United States.

 

Sources:

  • http://www.hersheys.com/products/details/rolo.asp
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolo
  •  http://www.brainyhistory.com/years/1937.html
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/nestle-keeps-mum-as-last-rolo-goes-missing-1526432.html
Candy Bar Reviews, Candy History, Candy Reviews

The Mallo Cup Sets the Bar For Cup Candies

January 22, 2010 by
A retro Mallo Cup wrapper from the 1970's

A retro Mallo Cup wrapper from the 1970’s

Sharability: 4

Denture Danger: 7

Convenience: 4

Novelty: 10

Overall: 8

The Reese’s Cup might taste better (and it might not, it’s all a matter of opinion), but it doesn’t have the novelty factor of being the first ever cup candy made in the United States. The Mallo Cup takes the trophy for this honor.

The whipped cream center has the consistency of melty marshmallow and is covered in a chocolate coconuty cup shell. The taste is odd at first but quickly grows on you and if you don’t like it, I’m sure someone at the lunch table will be happy to relieve you of the burden of eating the second cup.

Boyer Brothers, Inc. founded in 1936 in Altoona, PA is the company that manufactures these gloop filled cups. They used to manufacture many different kinds of cup candies including a s’mores cup and a peanut butter marshmallow cup, but all of these came after the original Mallo. Now, the only cups they manufacture are the peanut butter cup (the standing competitor of the Reese’s cup), the smoothie cup which is a peanut butter butterscotch cup, and of course, the Mallo.

Fun facts:
-The Boyer Plant makes over 2 million cups every day. If you were to line these cups up side by side they would cover 58 miles.
– It takes 20 tons of the Mallo filling to fill 2,000,000 Mallo Cups.

Sources:

http://www.boyercandies.com/