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The History of Lollipops

Most of us think of lollipops as hard candy eaten off a stick. But it’s been speculated that the very first instance of the lollipop was created when cavemen collected honey from beehives and ate it off a stick. The ancient Chinese, Arab, and Egyptian peoples ate honey mixed with fruit and nuts off sticks. In the Middle Ages, nobles ate boiled sugar with a stick. Then in 17th century England, an early version of the modern lollipop emerged as a popular London street food. However, since the machine used to insert sticks into candies hadn’t been invented yet, lollipops in 17th century London were made of soft candy rather than the hard candy we are familiar with today. The modern lollipop as we know it was developed in the 20th century. There is a lot of debate over who exactly created the treat, but what we do know for sure is that several different people (and factories) in the United States helped shape the modern lollipop, including George Smith of New Haven, Connecticut, who named his treats Lolly Pops after a local racehorse; the McAviney Candy Company in Connecticut who created a product similar to George Smith’s; the Racine Confectionary Machine Company in Wisconsin, where a machine to automatically place hard candies on the ends of sticks was created; and Samuel Born, who invented the Born Sucker Machine to automatically insert sticks into hard candy. All of these innovations helped to create the lollipop we know and love today.

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