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Who Invented The Lollipop?

Updated on October 2, 2015
Artistic all day sucker.
Artistic all day sucker. | Source

Unwrapping the Lollipop

If Food Network's Unwrapped with Marc Summers has not provided the history of the lollipop yet, it will probably do so in the future. It has presented the histories of numerous types of candies and other foods and the lollipop history is too to resist.

Dictionaries of many stripes tell is that in the late 1700s, the English word for tongue was "lolly" and a lollypop became a confection that was licked with the tongue. It is thought that street vendors during the lifetime of Charles Dickens first used the terminology in their hawking.

Andy Williams and The Chordettes in 1958

The first iteration of the "lollipop" was the ants-and-honey on a stick enjoyed by people and animals when the world was new.

Dum Dum Pop

Popular in Trick or Treat bags.
Popular in Trick or Treat bags. | Source

Cave Pops

The first semblance of this product is the ants-and-honey on a stick enjoyed by people when the world was new. Folks still enjoy these treats in African nations and other countries around the world. At state and country fairs in the United States these days, the big game in town is to create as many different foods on a stick as possible!

Thus, our modern lollipop is related to anything eaten from a stick in antiquity. it is also related to anything eat from a string, because people did not always have sticks. When people began making dipped candles with cloth or twined material wicks, they also discovered that they could dip a string or the like into honey or sugar water and lick it. If they left the string in the sugar water, it hardened into rock candy. today, you can still make or purchase rock candy along, on a string, or on a swizzle stick for drinks.

Big Rock Candy Mountain, written 1920 by Harry McClintock

The Short Stick

All this aside, the lollipop is candy on a short stick, except in the case of the All Day Sucker, larger and on a longer,stronger stick to support it. In some English-speaking countries, they are still called, for short, "lollies" or "lollys"

Archaeologists have found lollipops in Arab nations, Chinese, and Egyptian regions that consisted of fruits, nuts, and honey. Sticks were likely used because the food was so sticky, but also awkward to eat from a bowl with a utensil (it all stuck together).

Sugar arrived in Europe as a luxury class item in the Middle Ages and candy made from it was a high expense. It was accessible to royalty and rich men. For this type of candy, sugar was boiled and made into blocks that hardened. Some were left loose, but many were speared by ornately designed anmd carved handle-sticks (just as in China, the wealthy had/have expensive ornate chop sticks).

My Boy Lollipop - written 1956

Wheels of Progress

Enter sugar beet juice and the Industrial Revolution.

A cheaper substitute for cane sugar and honey (both expensive) was extracted from sugar beets. With this advance, candy progressed from luxury to delicacy to everyday must-have treat.

Hard candy was the staple of the confection business, including horehound drops (made from a plant and used in cough syrups as well), lemon drops, peppermint drops, and all manner of drops and lozenges. Sticks were inserted in some of these form time to time, but not habitually. They were more often a lolly without a stick.

The 20th Century brought machines into candy making and made it quite simple to insert sticks into candies automatically. The mass-produced ticky-tacky lollipop had arrived.

Commander Checkov: "Russia invented the lollipop - and baseball."

Who invented them? -- Several people at once, probably -- It's time had come!

In 1905, the McAviney Candy Company boiled hard candies in vats and stirred them with sticks. The owner took home the coated sticks to his children to lick. In 1908, recognizing a marketing niche, he began to sell the "used candy sticks".

In the same year, 1908, the Racine Confectionery Machine Company, began to market the first automated lollipop machine. In 1912, Russian-born Samuel Born invented another machine for lollipops. For this, he won the keys to the City of San Francisco. He also invented candy sprinkles for the tops of sundaes and cakes. The sprinkles were simply leftover byproducts from candy making.

Since the 1904 World's Fair in Saint Louis is credited with showcasing new foods, a lollipop was likely marketed on the fairgrounds even then, alongside the new ice cream cone and perhaps the hot dog on a stick.

Good Ship Lollipop - written 1934

The Good Ship Lollipop: America

The lollipop is a leading candy seller in America and other parts of the world. In the 21st Century, the Spangler Candy Company is lauded and renowned for its Dum Dum Lollipops, Saf-T-Pops, Tootsie Pops and gimmick novelty pops - a total of at least 35 kinds that are big sellers. They are all very popular during holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Halloween. In fact, long strips of pops in cellophane are used as Christmas tree decorations.

The Old Time Candy Company in Northern Ohio specializes in gathering and distributing every kind of lollipop still manufactured in America.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

Lollies and Licks

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    • stars439 profile image


      9 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      They taste good. God Bless.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you for your humor Jamie!

    • Jamiehousehusband profile image


      9 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Hi Patty great laugh here and knowledge commuted to my brain. I regret not taking up the innocent offer of a fellow 9 yr old girl, long ago 'can I lick your lollipop'....wouldn't pass that one up now!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      And a good time to write. Aren't the vids a hoot? Thanks for posting, dreamreachout

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      We all had it sometime or the other but never knew how it was invented until you told us here!! This is a rollicking hub!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      This one was really fun to do - I'd lheard My Boy Lollipop on an Oldies Station recently and had to search for it. LOL-ipop.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      I don't know if I can ever look a lollipop in the face again after the ants-and-honey-on-a-stick explanation.

      But of course, if it's a Tootsie-Pop, I'll try.

      Thanks, Patty, for a very entertaining read - lots of extenvie research - and fun videos.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      An interesting hub about a little thing like a lollypop. Fantastic. Thank you.

    • valeriebelew profile image


      9 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Well, ya know I almost passed this one up. After all, what do I care about lolipops; but the videos ended up being the treat, not the candy. Well done hub. And, I must say that your comments from readers were as entertaining as the videos. LOL.

    • samboiam profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Great job. This hub is not for suckers. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • rmr profile image


      9 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Ah yes, there's a sucker born every minute and my favorite ones have tootsie rolls in the middle!

      Love the videos, too. Lotsa good memories here.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Haha, Shadesbreath no-cliche cliches hubs have sprung another leak!

    • BDazzler profile image


      9 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Looks like you really got on the stick for this hub, Patty! You don't miss a lick!


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