The Surprising History Behind Pez Candy And Their Iconic Dispensers

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

Pez candy dispensers have been delighting kids for decades with their adorable designs.

Most of us have never given their shape a second thought, but you have to wonder what inspired them to create such a unique product. It turns out, there’s a lot more hiding in the candy’s history than meets the eye.

I was also surprised by how recently the candy actually made its way over to our country from Europe — and that they weren’t even seen as collectibles for so long, either! It just goes to show how quickly fads like these can take over without warning.

Do you have your own collection of Pez candy dispensers, or know someone who has shelves lined with their favorite characters?

Take a look to learn more about the candy’s unexpected and fascinating history with the eight facts below, and don’t forget to SHARE all the Pez candy facts with your friends on Facebook!

1. The Candies Were Round At First

1. The Candies Were Round At First

Before settling on their trademark tile-shape, the candy was introduced by inventor Eduard Haas III with a circular design in 1927.

2. The Dispenser Was Meant To Curb Cigarette Smoking

pez candy ad

The dispensers didn’t come around until designer Oscar Uxa whipped up the first ones in 1948.

They were shaped to resemble cigarette lighters that were popular at the time to encourage folks to give up smoking.

3. There Was Originally Only One Flavor

3. There Was Originally Only One Flavor

Peppermint was the only flavor option with the market focused just on adult consumers. In fact, the name “Pez” comes from the German word for the flavor, “pfefferminz.”

4. You Couldn't Get Them In America Until After WWII

candy store

With World War II raging across Europe throughout the 1940s, the candy business took a hit in production before finally making their way over to our shores.

5. Fruity Flavors Were Introduced In The '50s

lemon pez candy

While dusting themselves off after the war, Pez decided to re-brand to a more kid-friendly treat.

That meant offering several new flavor options and, of course, the adorable dispensers featuring cartoon characters.

6. Santa Claus And Mickey Mouse Were Early Favorites

6. Santa Claus And Mickey Mouse Were Early Favorites

Popeye was another big hit for kids grabbing a dispenser at their candy store back in the 1950s.

According to the company’s website, however, it’s their line of Star Wars character dispensers that became the most popular assortment of all time. The “full body Santa Claus” (shown above) remains the best selling solo-option, though.

7. The Candies Are Put Under A Lot Of Pressure

fruity pez candy

The company also explains on their website that each small brick is produced by compressing 3,000 pounds of pressure onto the sugar to create the shape.

8. Collections Didn't Become Popular Until The '90s

pez candy dispenser collection

It was around the same time that the first ever Pez collectors’ convention, or “Dispens-O-Rama,” was held on June 15, 1991, in Mentor, Ohio.

Were you surprised by the history of this iconic candy?

Be sure to SHARE the fascinating facts with your friends on Facebook!