Steampunk inspiration and resources

The History of Candy

VioletLifeSaverscandyvintageadI was trying to find some information about when violet candies first became popular, and I came across a fabulous resource at Just like the foods steam-era folks ate and the drinks they imbibed, you can bet that the type of candy they had available would be another historical detail a Steampunk enthusiast might need to know. This is just the first part of the timeline, but you can see the full history of candy here.


  • Necco Wafer is born.
  • 1848  John Curtis produces the first branded chewing gum, made from tree sap, called The State of Maine Spruce Gum
  • 1854  The first packaged box of Whitman’s Chocolate hits the scene
  • 1868  Richard & George Cadbury, the second generation of Cadburys, makes the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates starting the tradition that continues today
  • 1879  William H. Thompson creates Thompson Chocolate with the stated goal to “make only quality products”
  • 1880s Wunderle Candy Company creates candy corn, still a best-selling Hallween candy
  • 1890  The Piedmont Candy Company, manufacturer of Red Bird Peppermint Puffs, is founded in Lexington, North Carolina
  • 1891  Claus Doscher opens Doscher Brothers Confections and a few years later, after tasting taffy in France, the company introduces the famed French Chews
  • 1893  Milton Hershey attends the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago and watches chocolate being manufactured. Impressed, he purchases the new manufacturing equipment at great expense and has it shipped from Germany to his factory in Pennsylvania
  • 1893  William Wrigley, Jr. introduces Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum and Wrigley’s Spearmint Chewing Gum
  • 1893  Thomas Richardson, creator of Richardson Brands, introduces Pastel Mints at a department store in Philadelphia, PA
  • 1894  Milton Hershey creates what is known as the first “American” candy bar, although his famous Milk Chocolate Bar won’t be invented for a few more years
  • 1896  Leo Hirshfield, New York confectioner, introduces Tootsie Rolls, named after his daughter’s nickname, “Tootsie.” Learn more about this longtime favorite here.
  • 1890  Legend has it that an unnamed  Southern lady was making taffy but added the wrong ingredient resulting in the first batch of Peanut Brittle
  • 1899  The Jenner Manufacturing company is created. The name changes to Judson Atkinson 45 years later


  • 1900  A very important year as Milton Hershey introduces a variation of what will eventually become the  Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar.
  • 1900  Clark Gum Company introduces Teaberry Gum.  Find out what flavor it tastes like and the dance craze it inspired here.
  • 1901  The King Leo pure peppermint stick candy is developed
  • 1901  Multicolored candy disks called NECCO Wafers first appear. The name stands for New England Confectionery Company
  • 1902  New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) makes the first Conversation Hearts which are still a thriving Valentine’s tradition
  • 1904  Emil Brach starts Brach’s Candy, his second attempt at the candy business.  The first product was Wrapped Caramels which sold for $.20 a pound
  • 1905  The Squirrel Brand Company of Massachusetts creates the first peanut bar known as the Squirrel Nut Zipper. It was, sadly, discontinued in the late 1980’s, but resurrected in the 1990’s
  • 1905  Flush with the success of their Conversation Hearts, New England Confectionary Company introduces another classic peanut butter candy called Peach Blossoms
  • 1906  Spangler Manufacturing Company, know now as Spangler Candy, is created. The company got its start manufacturing baking soda products, but added candy to their repertoire in 1908
  • 1906  Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses appear in the iconic silver foil wrapping and a town in Pennsylvania called Derry Church changes its name to Hershey
  • 1906 The American Chicle Company introduces Chiclets, the candy coated gum that uses chicle inside.  To learn what exactly is chicle and where it comes from, click here.
  • 1907  After the great success of the Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey introduces the beloved Hershey’s Kisses. The original Hershey’s Kiss were called Silvertops and sold as individual units (this first incarnation was discontinued in 1931)
  • 1908  Hershey’s adds almonds to its already famous Milk Chocolate Bar
  • 1908  Theodor Tobler and his cousin Emil Baumann invent a delicious Swiss Milk Chocolate and Honey and Nougat infused candy bar called Toblerone.

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