Thoughts on culture, morality, arts, crafts, folklore, history, and modern life.
Regarding the problem of Victorian-Bashing, I just got an advertisement from the lovely catalog, "Victorian Trading Company." In it, the owner cites the invention and dates of many "sweets" that moderns are familiar with. One would think that if they hated the Victorians so much they would avoid such candy! There are a lot of things we do and use today that were invented by Victorians and used in that era, yet no one bats an eye when they turn on the lights or flush a toilet. I think the hatred of the era is due to the family structure and the free enterprise system and the teaching of manners and morals at the time. Here's that email ad I got. Note how many sweets were created by "those awful Victorians"Dear Lydia,Those Victorians had sweet tooths! We enjoy their sugary ingenuity today as many of our favorite confections were born during Queen Victoria's watch. Bet you didn't know that candy corn is a Victorian brainstorm by Wunderle Co. 1880. In fact, the Goelitz Candy Coin Philadelphia who popularized it in 1898 now makes Jelly Belly's.In 1848, the State of Maine Spruce Gum was created from tree sap. Wrigley's fine tuned gum with juicy fruit and spearmint in 1893. Milton Hershey brought forth the first American Chocolate Bar in 1894, with his distinctive foil-wrapped kisses entering the scene in 1906 in a town of Derry Church, later becoming Hershey, PA.In 1896, Leo Hirshfield introduced a chocolate "Tootsie Roll" named after his daughter. 1901 saw the birth of the pastel candy discs known as Necco's (short for New England Confectionary Company Org.). Necco brought us conversation hearts the following year (1902).Pez was an adult compressed sugar tablet created in 1927 by an Austrian as an alternative to smoking. The name was derived from the first, middle and last letters of the German word for peppermint.Emil Brach worked for a failing candy company in Chicago, but found success with his buttery caramels in 1904. Brachs candy is still offered by the scooped pound in grocery stores...who couldn't love that neapolitan coconut cube of pink, brown and cream?Salvatore Ferrera immigrated to the US from Italy in 1900. A skilled candy maker of "confetti" (sugar coated almonds still popular today), he introduced the "panned candy" in which single units, such as grains of sugar, nuts or candy centers are tossed in revolving pans while flavor, color and other ingredients are added for days until achieving the desired size. The "Jawbuster" or jawbreaker, Hot Tamales and Boston Baked Beans are their claims to fame.Most interesting, America was changed in 1859 when oil industry and kerosene lighting replaced candle light. Paraffin was a byproduct of the kerosene distillation process and found uses in crayons (Binney & Smith 1903), candles, gum, sealing wax, and because of a lighthearted candy maker named John Glenn, novelty wax candy to include wax lips, moustaches, horse teeth and wax pop bottles filled with sweet syrup. Glenn Confections teamed up with W&F Refining Co. (now Quaker State) who supplied them with fully refined food-grade paraffin.There are so many captivating tales of nostalgic candy. Our youthful associations with the holidays correlate to retro sweets found in our stockings and Easter bunny nests. As adults we see Black Jack gum at Halloween and remember when we pressed it against our front teeth to impersonate a pirate or bum. I fondly recall my father giving each of us a buffalo nickel that was hastily traded for a Chick-o-Stick. My sisters and I had a two-mile trek home from St. Catherine's School. We often found pocket change under the power lines that fell out of the worker's pockets. And a glass pop bottle was good for 7¢ at the bottle return belt in the grocery store. Penny candy was indeed a cent, and the selection was glorious! May you be happy as a kid in a candy shop! Melissa Rolsto