It's candy corn for Halloween. It's marshmallow Peeps for Easter. It's not the Valentine's Day variety box of mystery chocolates.It's actually conversation hearts.
Some individuals adore these colorful confections, while others hate them. Despite their opposing appeals, the hearts remain on candy store shelves year after year, as the most popular items purchased on Valentine's Day.
There is one thing that candy heart fans and detractors can agree on: the origin as a medium to deliver the "hearts feeling is far more intriguing than any dispute about their merits as a holiday candy symbol.
The hard candies, also known as "Sweethearts," "love hearts," or "candy hearts," are heart-shaped sugar chunks with brief phrases like "Be Mine" and "XOXO." The hearts are available in cinnamon, lemon, orange, lime, and chocolate flavors; however, a heart-hater would argue that they are all the same flavor.
So, where did these controversial candies originate? Continue reading to discover more about the history of conversation hearts.
It all began in the 1840s, when Oliver Chase, a pharmacist from Boston decided to create a machine that can help him to get the production of lozenges more time-efficient, the kind of candy that we consume when getting sore throat. Chase's lozenge cutter is regarded as the first confectionery machine in the United States. He began by manufacturing medical lozenges for sore throats and bad breath, but eventually switched to candy production.
These sweet lozenges evolved into the Necco Wafers that are still available today.
Soon after creating the wafers, Chase formed Chase & Company with his brother, Silas Edwin, which later became the New England Confectionary Company, or NECCO.
The popularity of Necco Wafers skyrocketed during the Civil War and lasted for decades. They were frequently exported internationally since they were portable and did not melt.
Legend has it that people sending love letters to the troops during the Civil War inspired the concept for conversation hearts. Why not press the love notes right into the Necco Wafers, since they were already carrying them?
The most possible argument is that the concept for conversation hearts was inspired by the sweet's precursor, a scalloped confection with a message printed on colorful paper tucked inside like a fortune cookie.
Daniel, one of Chase's brother, also invent a machine in the 1860s to create a sort of direct printing machine on candy where red vegetable dye being used as the base for coloring. Back then, the sweets came in a variety of forms, such as baseballs, horseshoes, and timepieces, and had considerably longer sayings.
Hearts were not introduced until 1901. By the early 1900s, the candies had shrunk in size and begun to incorporate one-liners similar to those found today. The original mottos of "Be Mine" and "Kiss Me" are still popular, but some of the other words on conversation hearts, such as "Fax Me" or "Dig Me," have not stood the test of time. NECCO even created Twilight hearts with phrases like "Bite Me" and France-language Sweethearts with phrases like "Je t'aime."
According to Smithsonian Magazine,for over than eight billion hearts of NECCO's Sweethearts leading up the selling and become the most popular non-chocolate candy in the six weeks leading up to the festival for Valentine's Day. It takes 11 months to complete the manufacture of that many sweet hearts. Unfortunately, in 2018, NECCO declared bankruptcy and closed its doors. In 2019, Spangler Candy purchased the candy's rights.
As a result, Necco Wafers and Sweethearts were unavailable for two years, but they were reintroduced in 2020 owing to popular demand. Sweethearts are officially back on the shelves and have reclaimed their position as the most popular non-chocolate Valentine's Day sweet.
This concept of conversation hearts has been the holiday-themed treat of Valentine's Day. Every Valentine's Day, sugary conversation hearts are prevalent. In fact, candy, by encouraging modern people to express their feelings through action rather than words, has aided several people who find it difficult to express their feelings verbally.
Fortunately, current heart-shaped chocolates are more concise than their forefathers. Aimee Scott, then-Necco marketing director, explained candy heart real estate in a 2011 interview with Time Magazine. Each sweetheart might have two lines of text, with five letters on top and four below; however, we needed four and three letter lines. Assuming brand consistency and words without Ws, the conventional candy heart can carry nine characters.
How about you? Did you find it interesting to express your affections through candy, or are you the team that hates Sweethears? There are many other ways to express your love to your partner or family, such as taking care of them or simply cooking for them, as well as showing symbolic items such as chocolate, candy, or flowers.
Nowadays, modern people have a plethora of ways to express their love in a variety of ways, challenging the notion that love has to be pink, rose-colored, or all about sweet and sugary.
These are some Valentine's candy grams you can personalize for your loved ones!