The History of the Giant Lollipop

POSTED ON JULY 26, 2021   |   BY NEAL ROTHSTEIN

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Lollipops have been a staple of children’s snacks and the candy industry for a very long time. No matter your age, eating a lollipop can bring back many happy memories from your childhood. Who remembers getting suckers at the doctor’s office, or the larger than life giant lollipops from the county fair or amusement parks? We sure do!

We thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the history of these fun, convenient snacks. Where did they originate? And how have they remained so popular today? Let’s get to the center of this mystery!

Did our caveman ancestors invent the first lollipop?

The first incarnation of the lollipop was probably invented by our cave-dwelling ancestors, who collected honey from beehives with sticks. In order to not waste any of the sweet, sweet nectar they had collected, these cavepeople probably ended up licking the sticks, perhaps creating the earliest form of the lollipop.

Historians and archaeologists believe that many ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, Arabians and the Chinese used to preserve fruits, nuts and other confections by covering them with honey. Sticks were inserted in these concoctions to make them easier to eat and keep your hands from getting all sticky. This practical invention is so simple that historians believe the lollipop could have been invented and reinvented numerous times throughout the course of human history.

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How the lollipop evolved in the old world

Although sugar came to Europe sometime around 1100 AD, it was predominantly used only by English nobility and aristocratic social circles as a way to sweeten their tea. It was also used around this time as a type of medicine. Sugar was used to relieve fevers, coughs, sore throats, stomach aches and even chapped lips.

In the 17th century, sugar became more plentiful in the western world, and it was being widely used across all segments of society. Boiled sugar treats were quite popular at this time. People would use sticks to eat the boiled sugar confections, which were more like a soft candy on a stick, rather than the hard candy we know of today. Some would argue this is the earliest-known instance of the lollipop - but they probably wouldn’t get this name for at least another 300 years.

Getting to know the modern-day candy lollipops

Turn the clock ahead to the American Civil War era, where candy was put on the tips of pencils for children. Talk about a great way to bribe children into learning! Can’t you just hear some old schoolhouse teacher saying: “Pencils out of your mouths now kids”?

In the early 1900’s industrialization was rapidly advancing the way humans provided for themselves. Candy, being such a special treat for kids and adults at the time was no different. In 1908, candy maker George Smith created the first modern lollipop. According to his memoirs, he named the treat after his favorite race horse: Lolly Pop.

Even though he was the first to patent the name and the candy in 1931, there are other some other interesting explanations for the origin of the term lollipop:

Some experts think the term “lollypop” originated back in 17th century England, where street vendors in London would sell their soft, boiled sugar candies as lolly-pops. Linguists have traced the origins of the two words: “lolly” (British slang for tongue) and “pop” (meaning to slap) to sometime around this era. So the word lollypop literally means tongue slap, which we think makes the candy (and the word) so much more fun!

With the massive push towards industrialization, in 1908 the Racine Confectionary Machine Company invented a machine that put hard candy on the end of a stick. This machine could produce 2,400 units per hour! In 1912, Russian inventor Samuel Born created a similar machine that inserted sticks into pieces of candy in San Francisco. This was called the Born Sucker Machine and the city thought it was so innovative, they gave Mr. Born the key to the city in 1916.

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Suckers, lick pops, lollipops, dum dums, (or whatever you want to call them) have remained popular to this day. While these classic retro candies remain a staple of modern candy shops, convenience stores, coffee shops, soda fountains and drug stores, there are quite a few modern twists on the timeless classic.

Let’s look at the innovative lollipop products available today

While there is no clear “inventor” of the modern day lollipop, the product had a long time to develop in a variety of different forms and functions. Today, you can get lollipops in a seemingly infinite number of flavors and shapes. Of course, the quintessential giant swirl lollipops are classics that are sure to garner attention, no matter where you go.

Redstone Foods features our own brand of swirl lollipops and twisty pops called Wild West Pops. These modern takes on the classic giant lollipops come in different shapes, sizes and flavors! They make great party favors and are so bright and colorful, they are sure to turn heads.

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Beyond the famous pops of years past, modern day candy companies have created an almost endless market of new innovative takes on the lollipop. Today, we have bulk Astro Pops, Ring Pops, Push Pops, Baby Bottle Pops, Blow Pops, Plush ‘N’ Pops (which come with a cute plush animal toy) and there’s even bacon-flavored lollipops! Seriously, talk about creative!

You can browse our huge selection of lollipops online right now at RedstoneFoods.com – We’re sure you’ll find something that satisfies your sweet tooth!

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As if the history of the lollipop wasn’t enough of a joyride, we thought we’d end this article with some fun, lesser-known facts about lollipops.

  • The world’s largest lollipop was made in 2012 by See’s Candy Company in California. It weighed 7,003 pounds.
  • This broke the previous world record, (6,514 pounds) held by Ashrita Furman who has set more than 700 official Guinness records since 1979. He still holds over 200 world records to this day.
  • The world record for “longest chain of people licking lollipops” was set in 2008 in Valladolid, Spain – with 12,831 people!
  • The Chupa Chups logo was designed by famous surrealist painter and artist, Salvador Dali in 1969. Dali and the creator of Chupa Chups, Enric Bernat were friends.
  • Dum Dums suckers’ name was chosen because the company thought it would be easy for any kid to pronounce.
  • The Dum Dums “mystery flavor” is made out of the mixture of two flavors when the end of one production batch meets the next flavor batch.
  • Tootsie Roll is the world’s largest lollipop maker. They can turn out 16 million lollipops per day.