Submitted by Louise Carlson
Sweethearts, as we Americans know them, are descendents of the British confections called Conversation Lozenges and Motto Rocks popularized in the mid-19th century. Early versions of these little hand-made candies held paper notes of endearment wrapped in a sugar paste of various colors and shapes.
In 1847 in a small drug store in Boston, MA a pharmacist named Oliver R. Chase revolutionized the American candy industry with his latest invention, a hand-cranked machine which pressed and cut uniform candy lozenges. For centuries sugar was used to make palatable the often unpleasant tastes of medicinal herbs and compounds and the new “lozenges” were sold to soothe a sore throat and settle the stomach.
Daniel Chase, Olivers’ brother, began printing sayings on the candy in 1866. He designed a machine that pressed onto the candy (similar to stamping) witty sayings for weddings such as: “Married in pink, he will take a drink”, “Married in White, you have chosen right”, and “Married in Satin, Love will not be lasting”. Out of that modest beginning arose the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), at one time the largest candy factory in the world.
Contemporary phrases such as ‘Text Me”, “Tweet Me” and “You Rock” have maintained the Sweetheart candy’s popularity.