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Candy: Favorites From the 1920s Through the 1970s

Nostalgia is a look at what we loved, way back when. Teri is a journalist who enjoys writing about life and the cool stuff of yesteryear.

Candy, candy, candy!

Candy, candy, candy!

Land of Candy

Candy is everywhere! Chocolate, buttercream, maple, fruit-filled, coconut, peanut butter, peppermint, fruit sours, caramels, licorice, toffee, marshmallow, and so much more; most everyone has a favorite flavor or two. Where does this awesome stuff come from? Once upon a time, many years ago ...

A Sweet Look at History

Candy—as we know it—has a documented history that goes back to the early 1700s, however, people enjoyed sweetened foods throughout the previous centuries. Historians say that fruits, nuts, and seeds (rolled in honey and sugar-coated) were eaten as medical treatments for digestion problems. Cultures of people (including the Chinese, early American Indians, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians) developed various types of sweetmeats for rituals and celebrations. Americans adopted the word “candy” from the Arabic word “qandi,” but sugar plums, marzipan, and other sweet treats were enjoyed in different parts of the world.

Seeds, nuts, sweet syrups. Crunch!

Seeds, nuts, sweet syrups. Crunch!

Horehound candy

Horehound candy

18th Century Sweets

By the mid to late 1700s, maple sugar syrups and candy were popular in the northern United States; sesame seed candy were southern area favorites. By 1800, caramels, lollipops and other hard candies (horehound, for example) were flavored with lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, and other extracts. By the mid-1800s, several hundred factories in the United States were producing candy to satisfy the increasing consumer demand.

Cacao beans from the "chocolate tree."

Cacao beans from the "chocolate tree."


The Mayans in Central America and Mexico discovered cacao (pronounced ca-cow; the seed used to produce chocolate) more than 2,000 years ago. They created “chocolate-flavored” drinks—mixtures of water, chili peppers, spices and cornmeal that were blended into foamy beverages. In the 1500s, Spanish explorers brought cacao seeds to Europe; the liquid recipes were thickened and developed into solid confections. In 1828, Dutch cocoa was made into hard candy. Creamy Swiss chocolate came to the market by 1876, followed by milk chocolate in 1879.

Advertising Sweet Favorites

Vast numbers of chocolate bars, chewing gums, favor sticks, box pieces, and candy novelties hit store shelves during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Many of these television ads are currently online through YouTube and other video services. Candy commercials promoted their special taglines ... like ...

  • "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't" (Almond Joy, 1977)
  • "Gimme a Break" (Kit Kat, 1970s)
  • "How Many Licks Does it Take" (Tootsie Pops; 1970s)
  • "Great American Chocolate Bar" (Hershey, 1970s)
  • "Go Fish" and "What a Mess" (M & Ms, early 1970s).

Some of these items are long gone but many of their ads are still online -- hit the search engines for::

  • 3 Musketeers (1960s); Almond Joy (1961); Beech-Nut Fruit Striped Gum (early 1960s); Beech-Nut Peppermint Gum (TV drop-in, 1950s); Bit-O-Honey (1960s); Bonomo Turkish Taffy (1960s);
  • Caravelle (1970s); Charm's Blow Pops (1970s); Chunky (1959); Clark's Teaberry Gum (early 1960s); Cracker Jack (1960s); Good and Plenty ("Choo Choo Charlie," 1950s);
  • Hershey's Instant Chocolate Drink Mix (1960s); Hot Shots (1960s); Life Savers (TV ad in the Donna Reed Show, 1966); M & M's ("Ape Man," Black & White, 1960s); Marathon (1974); Mars Candy ("History," undated); Milky Way ("Copycat", early 1960s); Milky Way ("Good Food Candy Bar," 1960s); Mounds Bar/Almond Cluster (late 1950s-early 1960s); Nestlé Crunch (Late 1970s); Nestlé's Milky Bar (Australia, 1960s); Nestlé Quik (Instant Chocolate Drink Mix, 1970s);
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (1970s); Rolo (1970s); Snickers (Animated, 1960s); Snickers (1972); Summit (late 1970s); Sour Bites (1960s); Tootsie Roll (Black and White, circa 1957); Tootsie Roll Pop (1950s, in the Howdy Doody Show); Wrigley's Spearmint Gum (early-mid 1960s).

How well do you remember some of these advertisements and candy items?

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Spreading the Word

Before the internet joined the playing field, candy manufacturers depended on print, radio and television advertising for convincing the public that sugary, salty, chewy and crunchy foods would satisfy the sweet tooth. The candy-buying-public enjoyed these items; some of the ads are still online.

  • $100,000 Bar/100 Grand (1966); 3 Pigs (1930s); 5th Avenue (1936); Aero (1937); After Eight Thin Mints (1962); Almond Cameo (1940s); Almond Joy (1946); Almondo (1946); Almonets (1940s); Amos ‘n’ Andy (circa 1933);
  • Baby Ruth (1922); Beechnut Mints & Gum /Spearmint, Wintergreen, Fruit Stripe Gum (circa 1925); Beeman’s Original Pepsin Chewing Gum (circa 1918); Big Time (circa 1944); Bit-O-Honey/Licorice/Chocolate (1924); Black Cow (circa 1926); Black Jack Gum (circa 1920); Bounty (1951); Butter Brickle (1950s); Butter-Crisp (1950s); Butterfinger (1923);
  • Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate (1905); Cargo (1950s); Charleston Chew (1922); Chase’s Black Walnut Nougat (1930s); Chase’s Brunch Candy (1940s); Chase’s Candy Dogs (1930s); Chase’s Cherry Mash (1918); Chew A Way (1940s); Cherry Cocktail (1926); Chicken Dinner (Sperry Candy, circa 1933); Chiclets (circa 1910); Chocolat Besnier (1900); Chocolat Meyers (1902); Chuckles (1921); Clark Bar (1911); Clark’s Butterettes (1940s); Coco Fudge (Sperry Candy, 1940s); Coconut Grove (Curtiss, 1940s); Cold Turkey (Sperry Candy, circa 1933); Cool Breeze (Sperry Candy, circa 1933);
  • Ferrara Pan Fruit Cocktail Imperials (1919); Fitger’s Barbecue (1940s); Fleer’s Gum (1945); Forever Yours (1939); Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy (1925); Giants/Whoppers (1948); Goetze’s Caramel Creams (1917); Good ‘n’ Fruity/Good ‘n’ Plenty (1893); GooGoo Cluster (1912); Heath English Toffee Bar (1928); Hi-Mac (1947); Hershey-Ets (1954); Holloway’s A to Z Coconut Candy (1940s); Hollywood (1940s); Honey-Nut (York,1940s); Hopalong Cassidy (1950s); Idaho Spud (1918);
  • Jiminy Cricket (circa 1943); Johnston’s Chocolate Candy (1925); Junior Mints (1949); Kingfisher (circa 1945); Kit Kat (1911); Klein’s Lunch Bar (Circa 1963); KoKo Krunch (Sperry Candy, circa 1943); Lindy Bar (1927); Lemonheads (1962).

More Candy …

Mairzy (1940s); Mallo Cup (1936); Mars (1957); Mary Jane (1914); Master Mint (1940s); Meador’s Peanut Brittle (1945); Mickey Mouse Toasted Nut Chocolate (1930s); Milk Shake (1936); Munchies (1940s); Mr. Goodbar (1925);

Necco Wafers (circa 1916); Nickaloaf (Curtiss, 1940s); Nikel-Tikel (circa 1944); North Pole (1940s); Oh Henry (1920); Oh Johnnie! (1930s), OL’ Timer (1920); Old Faithful (1925); Old Nick (1940s); Papa/Sugar Daddy (1925, 1932); Payday (1932); Pecan Pete (circa 1945); Peter’s Chocolate Candy (1923); Pez (1927); Pick Up (1940s); Ping (1940s); Rain (1936); Power House (1940s);

Rockwood Chocolate (1953);Schrafft’s Chocolates (1955); Sky Bar (1938); Slo Poke (1926); Smooth Sailin (1940s); Snow-Maid (circa 1945); Snow Wonder (circa 1935); Spot (1930s); Sterling Gum (circa 1916); Sugar Babies (1935); SweeTarts (1963); Taffee Giraffee (Curtiss, 1940s); Thumbs Up (1940s); Top Star (circa 1944); Troll’s Peppermint Candy (1946); Tuesdae (1950s); Twizzlers (1845); Valomilk (1931);Variety (1940s);

Walnut Hill (1940s); Walter Johnson’s Bucks (circa 1934); Welch’s Cocoanut Candy (1949); Whatchamacallit (1978); Wings (1950s); Wrigley’s Spearmint Pepsin Gum (1913); York Peppermint Patties (1940); Zagnut (1930); Zero (1929).


In the Candy Jar

Sweet (and salty-sweet) snack products continue to flood the market; most are sold in stores but some are only available through the Internet or nostalgia shops. If you enjoy certain types of chocolate bars, gum drops, hard candies, sour balls, jawbreakers, candy buttons, caramels, peanut butter chews, root beer barrels, pixy stix, jelly beans, wax lips and teeth, candy cigarettes, candy necklaces, circus peanuts, bubblegum … just about anything (the list can go on and on), you are not alone! And no matter how old we get, it is still fun to go “walking in a candy wonderland.” Got a sweet tooth? Candy is dandy!


Further Reading

Questions & Answers

Question: My father told me about a candy bar back when he was a kid in the 1920's called Damfino; it was in Richmond or Oakland, California. Can you help?

Answer: I actually found a picture of a Damfino candy bar wrapper; I cannot post it in the Q & A section but I have added it to this article, just before the "further reading" links. The wrapper (supposedly) is from 1924 and ultra-rare, as far as collectibles go. The candy was manufactured by Van Engers, Inc. in Chicago.

© 2017 Teri Silver

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