Monday, January 7, 2013

World's Most Generous Sugar Daddy...

Pez dispensers have been putting out little candies for the last 64 years!  I'd call that "generous." 

Pez were first created in Vienna, the land that whipped cream built, by one Eduard Haas III.  The Viennese adore their sweets from the morning's hot chocolate "mit schlagge" (whipped cream) to dessert after lunch, the mid-afternoon hot chocolate with Guess What and, of course, an array of desserts after dinner.

In fact, Pez if fully spelled out is a reference to PfEfferminZ, which is a small cookie most usually eaten around Christmas time.

They proved to be a popular little candy and by 1935, it was necessary to build a factory (Czechoslovakia) for production.

Then, 64 years later in 1948, Oscar Uxa invented the dispenser.  The first dispensers didn't have a head as we're used to today; they were simply a rectangular cylinder, much like a cigarette lighter which is rather amusing when you consider the candies were originally meant to be used instead of a cigarette!

The original peppermint flavor was fine, but in the 1950s, fruity flavors were introduced.  And variations have followed apace.

By the 1960s, heads had been introduced, including permission from such as Disney to reproduce cartoon characters heads on the dispensers.  In 1974 the world headquarters were established in Orange, CN, as well as interchangeable rubber heads for the dispenser tops.  In 1987, feet were added to the bottom of the dispensers, just in time for the first collectors convention in Mentor, Ohio.

In 1993, the Christie's auction of previous Pez made the cover of Forbes magazine! 

But then came a reversal of fortune.  General Mills ovvered a Pez-with-purchase offer in boxes of cereal!  Ouch - what a come-down. 

But, a recovery of name and prestige of sorts has been obtained.  The Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia has opened at 214 California Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010.  You can visit from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Make the museum a side trip from nearby San Francisco.   

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