A Taste of the Past: The Origins of Penny Candy
In the late 1800s, nothing defined childhood more than indulging in mountains of candy. However, the confections and the way we experienced them have transformed over time. Penny candy, a term coined when a piece of individually wrapped candy cost just one cent, has been a favorite for children since its inception. Most of this candy was actually sold by the pound, rather than per piece.
Sweet Beginnings: The First Penny Candies
The era of penny candy began with the introduction of the Tootsie Roll in 1896. Sweethearts followed shortly after, introduced by Necco Wafers. By 1907, chocolate candies, such as Hershey’s Kisses, entered the penny candy market, forever changing the confectionary landscape.
Woolworth’s: The Birthplace of the Penny Candy Aisle
Penny candy made its grand entrance around 1908 at F.W. Woolworth’s Five and Dime stores. The Tootsie Roll became the candy of choice, so popular that Woolworth’s adopted an iconic penny candy aisle, overflowing with tempting treats waiting to be scooped into eager hands.
More Than Just Candy: The Penny Candy Experience
Penny candy wasn’t solely about the sugary treats; it was also about the experience. It was about taking a simple brown paper bag and filling it to the brim with an assortment of colorful, sweet delights. Over the years, popular penny candies included Milk Duds, Charleston Chews, Mary Janes, Mike and Ikes, Smarties, Pixie Stix, and many more. These candies brought joy and #nostalgia to countless children, creating memories that would last a lifetime.
The End of an Era: The Decline of Penny Candy
When the Woolworth chain closed its U.S. stores in the 1980s, much of the popularity of penny candy dwindled. Decades have passed since a penny could buy you anything, and the penny candies of the 1950s and 60s are now sold by the box, costing significantly more than one cent. Specialty penny candy stores still exist in various locations, and grocery stores continue to sell candy in bulk, but the experience of penny candy as it was once known is now just a cherished memory.
As Jesus taught us to find joy in the simple things, the history of penny candy reminds us to cherish those small moments of happiness in our lives. So, take a moment to remember your favorite go-to penny candy, and watch the video below to relive the sweet history of this beloved treat. Don’t forget to like and share because preserving these memories is essential to keeping the spirit of penny candy alive.