About The Company
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Mention NECCO® and most folks think “wafers.”
Not that we blame them. We’ve been churning out the delicious little disks since 1847, so it’s no surprise that “NECCO®” and “wafers” have become synonymous, like Thomas Edison and the light bulb. Or Henry Ford and the Model T.
But just as the light bulb wasn’t Edison’s only invention, NECCO® Wafers aren’t our only sweet product. We also produce some of America’s most delicious and iconic candies—Sweethearts, Mary Janes, Candy Buttons, Clark Bars, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Slap Stix, and Sky Bars amongst others.
While our candies may not be mentioned in the history books alongside Edison’s and Ford’s inventions, we’re no less proud. We’ve stayed true to our New England roots, only leaving our Boston home a few years ago to stretch our legs in the nearby suburb of Revere [and with an 820,000 square foot factory, there’s plenty of room to stretch].
If that sounds simple, it’s because it is. We make candy. It’s supposed to be fun, and we hope you have as much fun with our candy as we do.
If you wanted to pick a pivotal time in American innovation, you couldn’t go wrong with the 1840s. The grain elevator, the sewing machine, the rotary printing press, the safety pin, even baseball—all were invented in the 1840s.
But at NECCO®, a machine invented in 1847 is particularly close to our hearts: Oliver Chase’s lozenge cutter. While the name doesn’t sound too appealing, what it created was. Chase’s lozenge cutter was the first American candy machine, and not only did it give birth to the wafer that would make our company famous, it helped start this nation’s entire candy industry.
After inventing the lozenge cutter, Chase, alongside his brothers Silas and Daniel [who himself invented the Conversation Hearts] spent the next two decades marketing their confectionery treats, expanding into Canada and the Western United States.
Then in the early 1870s, the Chase brother’s business almost went up in flames—literally. Daniel, who was in charge of the Western business, saw his building destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The following year in Boston, Oliver’s building burnt down as well.
What could have been the end of something big actually gave rise to something even bigger. Daniel left Chicago to return to Boston, teaming up with the confectionery company of Fobes, Hayward and Company, and Oliver partnered with local merchant T. Pickering Drown. Thirty years later, in 1901, these relationships would merge, along with a third candy company, Wright & Moody, to form the New England Confectionery Company, or NECCO®.
Since then, NECCO® candy has been enjoyed the world over. Famed Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan brought our Wafers on his expeditions to give as treats to Eskimo children, our “Fax Me” conversation hearts made headlines, and our acquisition of brands such as Clark Bar, Mary Jane and Squirrel Nut Zippers breathed life into some of America’s most beloved candies.
These accomplishments, paired with being the country’s oldest continuously operating candy company, create a history of which we are extremely proud. It’s a history we continue to write everyday, with every piece of delicious candy that comes out of our Revere factory, which sits just a few miles from where Oliver Chase started NECCO® and the American candy industry over a century and a half ago.
Oliver R. Chase of Boston invents and patents the first American candy machine, a lozenge cutter. This marks the founding of the nation's candy industry, the beginning of commercial manufacture. With his brother, Silas Edwin, he founds Chase and Company, the pioneer member of the NECCO® family.
This is a period of important American inventions. In 1846, Elias Howe patented the first sewing machine. In 1847, the United States government issued the first adhesive postage stamp, and Richard Hoe invented and patented his rotary printing press. In 1845, Sebastian Chauveau of Philadelphia imported from France the first revolving steam pan for confectioners' use.
Daniel Fobes forms a partnership with Joseph G. Ball, confectioner, under the firm name Ball and Fobes.
Oliver Chase invents and patents a machine for pulverizing sugar.
Fobes masters the art of making Oriental sweets, thus introducing in America a wholly new kind of confection.
William Wright of Boston begins to make popular hard candies similar to those made in England. He joins Charles Bird, confectioner, under the firm name of Bird, Wright and Company, the third member of the NECCO® family.
Daniel Fobes makes sales trips to Canada and the Maritime Provinces. He begins display advertising, furnishing his customers with large colored pictures of Oriental scenes advertising his "Turkish Delight."
Fobes buys the business of Albert Webster, confectioner, and becomes an all-round candy maker, manufacturing lozenges and other popular, low-priced confections as well as his own specialties.
Daniel Chase, Oliver's brother, goes to Chicago to use the Chase Lozenge Machine in the new, growing Western territory.
Fobes, Hayward and Company succeed Ball and Fobes as Mr. Ball retires and Mr. Fobes admits Daniel H. and Albert F. Hayward to the firm. (It continues under this name until it joins the two other pioneer firms in 1901 to form the New England Confectionery Company.)
Daniel Chase creates the "Conversation Candies" which had instant and widespread popularity. These candies were shared at birthday parties, weddings and other festive occasions.
Abner J. Moody, returning from the War Between the States, becomes a partner of his father-in-law, William Wright. The firm becomes Wright and Moody, specializing in children's package candies, gumdrops, and many original novelties.
Daniel Fobes, still inventing, takes out a patent for a "new and original combination for confections and beverages.” This is a mixture of coffee and cacao to which he gives the name "Mocha."
Fobes, Hayward and Company begin to advertise as "Wholesale Confectioners, Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in Confectionery and Sugar Toys."
The Chicago Fire wipes out Daniel Chase's Western business. He returns to Boston and is employed by Fobes, Hayward and Company to make his printed lozenges.
Oliver Chase has his building destroyed in the Boston Fire, and takes in as a partner, T. Pickering Drown, a merchant who has made a fortune in the China trade on teas and silks.
The Confectioners' Journal is founded in Philadelphia.
At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the candy industry makes an impressive demonstration of its rapid growth. Steam power, which has revolutionized the business within ten years, is demonstrated in many new machines. Chase and Company is one of twenty firms exhibiting, showing its improved power machines.
Edwin F. Fobes, son of Daniel Fobes, the founder who has retired, comes into Fobes, Hayward and Company where he holds various offices until he becomes president in 1899.
D. L. Clark begins manufacture of confectionery treats in two backrooms of a small house on the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The National Confectioners' Association is formed to unite all reputable firms in the fight for pure candy. Abner Moody becomes its first treasurer.
Fobes, Hayward and Company extend its business to include the manufacture and sale of confectioners' machines.
Charles N. Miller and his three sons found a small business manufacturing and selling homemade candy. The building where they began was the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End, where Revere lived with his family until 1800. The Charles N. Miller company would begin manufacturing Mary Janes in 1914.
Oliver Chase retires from Chase and Company; Mr. Drown becomes its president and treasurer.
The enrober, a machine for automatically applying the coating to molded fondant and other centers, comes into use. It makes possible quantity production of chocolates at lower costs.
New England Confectionery Company is formed by a union of the three firms: Chase and Company, dating from 1847; Fobes, Hayward and Company, with its beginning by Daniel Fobes in 1848; and Wright and Moody, dating from 1856. It is incorporated with a capital of $1,000,000.00. The trade name NECCO® Sweets, derived from its title, is adopted.
The three firms move into a newly built manufacturing plant at Summer and Melcher Streets in Boston, the largest establishment devoted exclusively to confectionery production in the United States. Its four large buildings, each five stories high, contain five acres of floor space.
NECCO® begins advertising with display cards in magazines. Its goods are sold in every state in the Union, and in England, Europe, Australia and South America, with inquiries from South Africa.
The famous Lenox Chocolates, in packages, are introduced.
New England Confectionery Company inaugurates a profit-sharing plan to reward those who by faithful attendance and continuous service demonstrate their interest in the welfare of the company. Each employee's part is based on a percent of what he/she has earned during the year. NECCO® employs 700 - 800 people, many of who have been with the various firms for twenty-five to thirty years.
The NECCO® Wafer and Hub Wafer are widely advertised.
Explorer Donald MacMillan takes NECCO® Wafers on his Arctic expedition, using them for nutrition and as rewards to Eskimo children.
The Charles N. Miller Company begins manufacturing Mary Janes. Miller names the molasses and peanut butter candy for his favorite aunt, Mary Jane. The little girl whose likeness has appeared on candy wrappers ever since, is one of America's oldest and best-loved children.
D. L. Clark produces its first five cent candy bar in order to ship candy to soldiers fighting in World War I. This marks the introduction of the Clark bar.
New England Confectionery Company takes a progressive step by insuring the lives of all its employees, basing the amount of insurance on the term of service; beginning at $500 after three months and increasing $100 in value for each year of service until it reaches the maximum of $1000. More than 1200 employees are affected by this protection, which requires no medical examination and in no way interferes with the benefits to workers provided by Workmen's Compensation Laws.
Howard B. Stark originates a new caramel and vanilla-swirled nougat, which he calls the "Snirkle."
New England Confectionery Company recognizes its founding by Oliver Chase in 1847 by celebrating its Seventy-fifth Anniversary. It takes pride in honoring men who have been with the company thirty-seven, thirty-nine, forty and in one case fifty-three years. It also distributes, on its profit-sharing plan, cash bonuses amounting to more than $110,000.
New England Confectionery Company moves into its present plant near the Charles River and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is the largest factory in the world with its entire space devoted to the manufacture of candy. The buildings are constructed of reinforced concrete, those on Massachusetts Avenue front having brick and limestone facing. The central building is in the form of a letter H and all are planned to afford the largest possible amount of sunshine and air. Containing the most modern equipment for temperature control as well as the latest mechanical devices for efficient manufacture, they give the company a new leadership in the industry.
Deran Hintlian acquires the Windsor Confectionery Company in Somerville and the Murray Confectionery Company in Boston and begins manufacturing chocolates, sugar panned almonds, brazil nuts, and peanuts.
Lovell and Covel Company joins NECCO®, bringing the famous Chocolate Masterpieces trademark and other high quality specialties. These items retain their own names and are sold independently by a special corps of salesmen. NECCO® thus becomes what is known in the candy industry as a "General Line" house, manufacturing a complete line of candies and packings including penny, five-cent, bulk and fancy package goods.
Seeking a bigger location, the Deran family moves its business to its current location at 134 Cambridge Street in Lechmere Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
NECCO® Sales Corporation of New York City is formed to handle distribution of the whole line of NECCO® candies in the New York sales area.
NECCO® is the first candy manufacturer in this country to introduce a molded chocolate bar having four distinctly different centers encased in a chocolate covering, "The Candy Box in a Bar." The Sky Bar was first announced to the public by means of a dramatic skywriting campaign.
Howard Stark founds the Howard B. Stark Company after buying the equipment of the American Candy Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He continues to manufacture the popular "Snirkle." Over the next 50 years, the company would continue to produce a long line of confections.
NECCO® introduces Candy Cupboard boxed chocolates at G. Fox, a prominent department store.
New England Confectionery Company turns over a portion of its plant for manufacture of war materials and also uses all its candy facilities for providing rations and emergency specialties for the armed forces.
The blackout and curfew in Times Square, NY is lifted on VE-Day after three years of darkness. Only six display signs had their lighting equipment ready for operation and NECCO®'s Sky Bar sign is one of them. More than 250,000 New Yorkers throng to Times Square to welcome the "lights".
With the end of the war, NECCO® returns to civilian production. The factory modernization program, designed to make the NECCO® plant the most modern and efficient of its kind, gets under way.
NECCO® celebrates its hundredth anniversary of leadership in the candy industry and looks forward to its second century of fine candy making.
The Clark family sells the company to Beatrice Food Company.
NECCO® begins a manufacturing agreement with Macintosh of England to produce ROLO. In a prior agreement, NECCO®® had begun to distribute Quality Street Chocolates in the United States.
UIS, Inc. of New York acquires NECCO® from the NECCO® heirs. The company goes through a period of restructuring under seven presidents.
Domenic M. Antonellis comes to NECCO® as part of the company reorganization and for ten years serves in a number of management positions.
NECCO® launches a nationwide advertising program featuring the "NECCO® Kid" to promote NECCO® Wafers, Sky Bar, and Canada Mints.
Deran Candy is sold to the Borden Corporation, one of the largest food concerns in the world. Borden later renames the company, Borden Candy Products.
Domenic M. Antonellis is chosen to become president of the New England Confectionery Company. He is the youngest president and will become the longest sitting president in the company's history.
New England Confectionery Company acquires the assets of Gum Products and its Cumberland Valley brand, the originator of candy buttons in America.
Stark buys the Charles N. Miller Company of Watertown, Massachusetts, the manufacturer of the legendary Mary Jane family of products.
William F. Stark (grandson of the Snirkle originator) sells the company and the name is subsequently changed to Stark Candy Company.
The Candy House Button brand is purchased from Mel Goldberg, making NECCO® the exclusive manufacturer of this popular American product.
New England Confectionery Company acquires Stark Candy Company. The Sweethearts Conversation Heart brand along with NECCO®'s Sweet Talk will make the company the leading manufacturer in conversation hearts. The Mary Jane brand sees tremendous growth in its peanut butter kisses and salt water taffy lines.
Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company purchases the D.L. Clark Company from Leaf Inc.
New England Confectionery Company acquires some assets of the Glen Candy Company. Its peanut butter kisses and salt-water taffy are incorporated into the Mary Jane operation.
New England Confectionery Company acquires Borden Candy Products (formerly Deran Candy) and renames it Haviland Candy.
The "Fax Me" saying on the conversation hearts is introduced, resulting in an avalanche of media attention including television, radio, newspaper and magazine articles.
Jim Clister purchases the D.L. Clark Company from the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company. He renames the company Clark Bar America, Inc.
NECCO® acquires the assets of Falcon Candy Company of Philadelphia, bringing with it added strength and dominance in the peanut butter kiss and salt water taffy categories.
To commemorate the start of its 150th Anniversary, NECCO® unveils its newly painted Water Tower atop the NECCO® facility on Massachusetts Avenue. The Water Tower has been painted to replicate the familiar NECCO® Wafer roll and has become a treasured part of the Boston/Cambridge skyline.
NECCO® celebrates its 150th Anniversary with a series of public and industry-wide events throughout the year. A major industry celebration is held at the Chicago Water Tower in June.
NECCO® acquires the assets of Clark Bar America, Inc. of Pittsburgh, makers of the Clark bar, a chocolately coated peanut butter crunch candy.
NECCO® relocates to a new 810,000-square-foot candy plant in Revere, MA. This new location will house all three Massachusetts facilities as well as a new warehouse.
NECCO® obtains the license for Squirrel Nut Candies and begins the manufacture of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Squirrel Nut Caramel Chews. Squirrel Brand Company dates back to 1888. It was originally located in Boston and relocated to Cambridge in 1914.
NECCO® becomes a portfolio company of American Capital Strategies, Ltd. The purchase became complete on December 21. This partnership will allow for renewed focus on core competencies that will continue to grow NECCO® into a leader in the confectionery business. NECCO® will focus on several areas of growth—through acquisitions, expansion of existing product lines and introduction of new products.
Since 1847, Americans and people around the world have enjoyed NECCO® Wafers.
NECCO’s long-standing success in the candy business is closely related to the enduring popularity of the company’s core product – the NECCO Wafer®. A multi-colored, fat-free wafer available in eight flavors, a roll of NECCO® Wafers is a candy favorite for all times.
In 1847, a young English immigrant, Oliver Chase, invented the first American candy machine, a lozenge cutter. After initial success selling his new candy, he and his brother, Silas Edwin, founded Chase and Co., which became the pioneer member of the NECCO® family.
The original recipe for the NECCO® Wafer remains basically unchanged today, and the Wafers are still made in the original eight flavors: orange, lemon, lime, clove, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, and wintergreen. The ingredients are simply sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, colorings and flavorings.
In 1913, explorer Donald MacMillan took NECCO® Wafers on his Arctic explorations, using them for nutrition and as rewards for Eskimo children. In the 1930’s, Admiral Byrd took 2 ½ tons of NECCO® Wafers to the South Pole, practically a pound a week for each of his men during their two-year stay in the Antarctic.
The U.S. Government requisitioned a major portion of the production of NECCO® Wafers during World War II. The candy doesn’t melt and is practically indestructible during transit, making it perfect for shipping overseas to the troops.
There has been a resurgence in the popularity of NECCO® Wafers in recent years as consumer demand for non-fat sweets has increased. In addition, feelings of nostalgia on the part of baby boomers and other age groups have impacted sales of the candy.
Today, NECCO® produces approximately four billion wafers on an annual basis. If the Wafers were placed edge to edge, they would go around the world twice. A whole roll takes about 40 minutes to eat. What other candy bar can make that claim?
In addition, creative NECCO® Wafer fans have invented various additional uses for NECCO® Wafers over the years. They have been used as poker chips, for practice before a first communion and as bulls-eyes at target ranges. If only Oliver Chase could have known.
NECCO® doesn’t tamper with success and NECCO® Wafers just keep rolling along.
Canada Mints first appeared in the Canadian Market during the late 1880’s and found an audience in the United States in 1908.
They were first packaged in a 5 cent unit in 1916.
Canada Mints remains one of the most popular sugar lozenge mints in the country. Wintergreen and Peppermint are the two most popular flavors.
Colorful, unique, whimsical…Candy Buttons are one of the original “Kids Candies.” This is the nostalgia treat that everyone remembers having fun with in childhood.
With three flavors on a strip—lemon, lime and cherry, Candy Buttons come in two strip sizes--long and short. The long is 22 1/2 inches and the short is 11 1/4 inches.
NECCO® makes 3/4 billion candy buttons in the course of a year
In 1980, NECCO® acquired the Cumberland Valley brand, the originators of candy button in America. In 1989, NECCO® acquired the Candy House Button brand, which made NECCO® the exclusive manufacturer of this popular American product.
Born in Ireland, David L. Clark came to America when he was only eight years old. He recalls in his memoirs, "My primary education consisted of just one year in grade school. After that I found it necessary to work or starve. Like many other energetic poor boys, my business career started by selling newspapers and carrying market baskets at the age of nine. When I was 12, I went to Business College at night and worked through the day."
D.L. Clark's first steady job was in a frame factory for $1.50 a week. After that he worked in various occupations including; paint manufacturing, rolling mills, art glass factories, fish markets, wholesale notions, and delivery wagons among many others. He noted that in addition to what he learned in Business College; he had been learning through "extensive travels both in America and in many foreign countries, and the best of all teachers, the School of Experience."
Clark entered the candy business working for a small candy manufacturer from New York. After three years as a traveling salesman with a "country wagon," he bought the peddling wagon, horses, and merchandise and went into business for himself.
The D.L. Clark Company was founded in 1886 when Clark started manufacturing candy in two back rooms of a small house in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now Pittsburgh's North Side. When David Clark started selling candy in the streets of Pittsburgh, the prospect of becoming a giant in the confectionery industry was far from his thoughts. However, during his lifetime (1864-1939), the D.L. Clark Company became a leading candy manufacturer and the Clark bar emerged as one of the nation's favorite treats.
Clark's business grew steadily and in 1911 the company moved to larger quarters at a cracker factory on Pittsburgh's North Side. The D.L. Clark Company continued to expand and prosper at that location for 75 years, manufacturing some of America's best-known candies. The company experimented with a variety of ingredients that had never been used in candy before. Clark introduced confections filled with coconut, mint and peanut butter and was a leader in marketing candy bars. Three of its best creations are Clark, Zagnut, and Clark Coconut Crunch bar.
Clark scored an important marketing success when it introduced the five-cent-sized Clark bar. Initially, the bar was individually wrapped to facilitate shipment of candy to American troops during World War I. The Clark bar became extremely popular with the soldiers and its popularity carried over to the general public in the years following the war.
By 1920 the D.L. Clark Company was making about 150 different types of candy, including several five-cent bars, specialty items and a bulk candy line. Clark also manufactured chewing gum and in 1921 incorporated the Clark Brothers Chewing Gum Company, makers of Teaberry and Tendermint. However, by 1931, the candy bar business had grown so large that Clark decided to specialize exclusively in candy bars.
In 1955, the Clark family sold their candy business to the Beatrice Food Company, which operated the company until 1983.
In 1983, Leaf, Inc., which operated 11 candy and gum plants in the United States, acquired the confectionery division of Beatrice foods, including Clark. When Leaf, Inc. announced plans to move the candy operations from Pittsburgh, the city protested. The candy plant and rights to Clark, Slo Poke and Black Cow were sold, and D.L. Clark became part of the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company. After a period of financial instability, the company was again sold in June of 1995. The Company was renamed Clark Bar America and distribution was re-established. New product lines were also selectively introduced including Winter Clark, Clark Dark, and the Yoo-hooCandy Bar.
However, Clark Bar America again fell into financial difficulty and in May of 1999, New England Confectionery Company purchased the assets of Clark Bar America.
Deran S. Hintlian, founder of the Deran Confectionery Company, came to the United States from Armenia at the age of 17. He soon went to work in his uncle’s candy factory and then sold candy on the streets. A little later, he was able to become a candy-jobber, selling the product to retailers.
His next big step in 1929 was the acquisition of the bankrupt Windsor Confectionery Company in Union Square, Somerville. There he and other members of his family did some manufacturing, some jobbing, and also ran a retail store. At that time, cellophane was a new product. Deran S. Hintlian was the first person to think of packing peanuts in cellophane bags.
Around 1931, the Hintlian family purchased the Murray Confectionery Company on Commercial Street in Boston and moved their operation there. They enjoyed a profitable trade in their manufactured chocolates, sugar-panned almonds, brazil-nuts, peanuts, and bagged roasted nuts.
Seeking a bigger location again in 1936, the family moved its business to the location at 134 Cambridge Street in Lechmere Square. The factory and offices in East Cambridge were expanded a number of times.
The firm continued to grow through the acquisition of other candy makers. In 1961, Deran purchased the Miller and Hollis Corporation, the manufacturer of Haviland Chocolate. The Haviland Brand of real chocolate products becomes their flagship brand. In 1963, Deran purchased the C.S. Allen Corporation of Webster, which specialized in the production of toffees and English-style hard candies.
Upon Deran Hintlian’s death in 1966, his wife became president of the firm. She ran the business with the help of a cousin, Harry Hintlian, who assumed the presidency in 1970 when Deran was sold to the Borden Corporation. At that time, Borden was the fifth largest food concern in the world.
Deran specialized in high volume, popular-priced sweets. Most of their products are chocolate. To help meet their goal of offering high-quality confections at affordable prices, Deran made their goods entirely from scratch, processing their own cocoa liquor, and milling their own chocolate. Deran’s products enjoyed wide acceptance, especially in New England and the Northeast.
In the early 1990’s, Borden sold the business to Great American Brands, an investment group. In 1994, NECCO® (New England Confectionery Co.) did an asset purchase. NECCO® continued to operate the plant at 134 Cambridge Street until 2003, when NECCO® consolidated all their New England operations into a new facility in Revere, MA. The Haviland brand of real chocolate products continues to be manufactured there.
In 1884, Charles H. Miller and his three sons founded a small business manufacturing and selling homemade candy. The building where they began making their candy had a notable past -- it was the Paul Revere House in Boston’s Faneuil Hall/North End area. (Revere, who in 1775 made the ride from Boston to Lexington alerting the countryside that the British were coming, lived in the house with his family until 1800.)
After their father’s death, the Miller boys split the responsibilities of the family business. Charles N. Miller took charge of the manufacturing and wholesale operations while his brothers ran the retail store. In 1914, after a fairly successful business was established and the Charles N. Miller Company was one of some reputation, they began manufacturing Mary Janes. The molasses and peanut butter candy was named for their favorite aunt, Mary Jane.
The Miller Company tried several variations of the legendary Mary Jane mixture, but none could compare with the original. Over the years, Miller introduced several other candies, but none enjoyed the success of Mary Jane. Eventually, Mary Jane came to be the only candy produced by the Miller Company.
One of the early candy pieces made by Miller was the Dearo, a penny candy that was a chewy chocolate piece with a peanut butter center. The name was borrowed from a political group that the Honorable John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald called his “dear old North Enders.” John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald was a congressman and mayor who lived in the North End. The Fitzgerald home was close by the Revere House. In 1890, the Fitzgerald home was the birthplace of Rose, wife of Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, and the mother of President John F. Kennedy.
In 1990, NECCO® (New England Confectionery Company) purchased the Stark Candy Company. As a part of NECCO®, the Peanut Butter Kiss and Salt Water Taffy, as well as the original Mary Jane lines have seen tremendous growth. NECCO®, under the Mary Jane name, has become the number one producer of Peanut Butter Kisses in the country.
Many adults can remember reaching up to the candy counter and seeing the charming Mary Jane girl that adorned every piece of this delicious and nostalgic candy. For 85 years, the legendary Mary Jane name has been synonymous with children, young and old alike.
Mighty Malts® Malted Milk Balls date back to the late 1960’s. Mighty Malts was one of the first brands to use an actual “milk carton” as a packaging for malted milk balls.
A few years later, the Mighty Malt brand was extended to a full line of colorful assorted malted milk eggs for Easter. The innovative carton was turned into a “Bunny House.”
In later years, Mighty Malts was expanded to include a full line of Easter malted milk egg bags.
swirl caramel pop with banana/cherry/vanilla flavored nougat center. In 1920, Howard B. Stark originated the first caramel and swirled nougat pop known as a Snirkle.
In 1938, the Sky Bar was first announced to the public by means of a dramatic skywriting advertising campaign. NECCO® was the first candy manufacturer in this country to introduce a molded chocolate bar having four distinctly different centers enrobed in chocolate.
The four distinct flavors are fudge, caramel, peanut and vanilla nougat.
In 1945, the blackout and curfew in Times Square, NY is lifted on VE-Day after three years of darkness. Only six display signs had their lighting equipment ready for operation and NECCO’s Sky Bar was one of them. More than 250,000 New Yorkers throng to Times Square to welcome the “lights.”
Over the years, Sky Bar was heavily advertised on TV, radio and print.
Sky Bar still remains the only candy bar today to have four different flavors in the same bar-- A truly unique treat.
The Squirrel brand origins date back to 1890 when it was started as the Austin T. Merrill Company in Massachusetts. Incorporated in 1899 as the newly named Squirrel Brands Salted Nut Company, the company’s ownership changed; and two long-time employees, Perley G. Gerrish and Fred S. Green, began to run the business. As the company grew, it moved from its Boston located to Cambridge in 1903 and then to a larger building on Boardman Street in Cambridge in 1915.
From salting to roasting peanuts to chewy candy favorites, Squirrel Nut Company developed a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. It supplied candy and roasted nuts to the armed forces. Some of their brands over the years have including Butter Chews, Nut Twins, Nut Chews and Nut Yippee. They also manufactured peanut butter kisses and salt water taffy.
The flagship product “Squirrel Nut Zippers”--vanilla, caramel and nut taffy--had an interesting beginning. It was named after an illegal drink during Prohibition. During the 1990’s, a retro swing band named themselves “Squirrel Nut Zippers,” and gave out the candy during their performances.
In 1999, Squirrel Brand Company was purchased by Southern Style Nuts and the operation was moved to Denison, TX. The Squirrel Nut Company was one of the oldest family-owned candy businesses when it closed its operations in Cambridge.
In 2004, NECCO® picked up the license from Southern Nut Company to manufacture Squirrel candy brands. Squirrel Nut Zipper and Caramel Chews had come back home to Massachusetts.
Today's best-selling Valentine candy -- Sweethearts Conversation Hearts--the pastel sugar hearts with the quirky sayings, were as much a part of your childhood as they are for today's kids. NECCO® manufactures over 8 billion hearts each year to keep up with demand for this American icon.
Still it's hard to believe that the concept behind today's Conversation Hearts got its start when Abraham Lincoln was still President. Mottoes seemed to have come into prominence with “cockles,” a small crisp candy made of sugar and flour formed in the shape of a cockle or scallop shell. The early cockles contained mottoes, which were printed on thin colored paper and rolled up inside.
In the 1860's, when Daniel Chase, the brother of NECCO's founder, Oliver Chase, began printing sayings on the candy. He experimented first with hand tools, and then devised a machine in which the cloth was replaced with a felt roller pad, moistened with vegetable coloring, usually red, which pressed against the die. The die printed the words on the lozenge paste and the double purpose machine cut the lozenges.
Grown-ups were entertained and passed the hearts around at parties. For weddings, there were wedding-day lozenges with humorously foreboding prophecies such as: “Married in satin, Love will not be lasting” “Married in Pink, He will take to drink” and “Married in white, You have chosen right.”
The present day Sweethearts Conversation Heart dates back to 1902. Back then, besides hearts, they also produced various shapes such as postcards, baseballs, horseshoes and watches.
Today's sayings have to be short and g-rated but some of the original sayings are still being used today. They include "Be Mine," "Be Good," "Be True," "Kiss Me," and "Sweet Talk." In honor of NECCO's 150th Anniversary in 1997, a saying was brought back from the early 1900's -- "The One I Love."
In the early 1990's, NECCO® Vice President Walter Marshall decided to update the sayings each year and retire some. His first --Fax Me--created a lot of attention from Sweetheart fans. As a result, each year he receives each year hundreds of suggestions from romantics, candy lovers and school kids for new sayings. From old tech, "Call Me” to new tech, "E-mail Me," Sweethearts keep the pulse on the heartbeat of the nation.
Conversation Hearts have been used in various ingenious ways over the years-- to propose marriage, to teach children statistics and reading, to decorate cakes, and as borders for frames.
One thing Sweetheart lovers can count on each year is the candy's simple, familiar formula. The basic recipe has never been changed. Both Sweethearts and the familiar NECCO Wafers® use the same batter--sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring. Once the dough is rolled out, imprinted with sayings and then stamped out in the familiar heart shape, it goes through a 45-minute drying cycle to reach its proper consistency.
To meet the demand for its Conversation Hearts, NECCO® produces them from late February through mid-January of the following year. The entire production--about 100,000 pounds a day-- sells out in just six weeks.