Icy Hot: New Summer Candies, 1920

July 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm 3 comments

As the candy business took off after the conclusion of the first world war, candy makers were beginning to consider seriously the prospects of a year-round business. They needed products that would stand up to the summer heat. Obvious choices were the traditional fudges, suckers, marshmallows, and various soft and chewy candies stood up to the heat and humidity. What was missing was the bon bons, little coated morsels that offered the pleasure of biting through the surface to discover the treasure inside.

But there would be bon bons. The secret was sugar icing.

A cool blast of fresh summer candy possibilities, iced candies made a significant appearance in 1920. Since the coating was made from sugar, it could be any color or flavor. And the play on “icing” was irristable to markerters looking for a creative hook for their summer lines.

And so candy lovers in 1920 could look for a cool blast of fresh summer candy possibilities. Curtiss Candy of Chicago, an aggressive promoter of its summer candy lines, offered an array of Iced Candies including the “Arctic Ices” that inspired the image in this ad:

Arctic Ices were coconut caramel covered in pink, white (vanilla), chocolate, or maple icing. There were also iced creams, iced nougats, iced caramels, and iced jellies, all offered in assorted colors.

The “Icy Devil,” also introduced in the summer of 1920, is my personal favorite. This was a chocolate butter-cream center with a white iced coating. The icy devil is a cool summer temptation. Or perhaps, given the symbolic weight of dark and light, the chocolate center is the “devil” to the white iced coating.

Kupfer, the manufacturer, promises:

Guaranteed to hold up during the warm weather, and especially adaptable as a summer confection.

I don’t think these sorts of candies really exist any more. In 1920, manufacturing facilities were incorporating cooling technologies, so candy could be produced in the summer months.

One 1922  industry observer explained the advantages of climate control in candy manufacture:

Many manufacturers of candy products have made themselves independent of weather conditions. They have steady and uniform production with spoilage reduced to a minimum. It is evident that these manufacturers have a decided advantage over those whose plants are not equipped with apparatus to control the air conditions and are thus subject to the caprices of our climate.

But even if you could make all kinds of candy in an air conditioned factory, there was still the retail problem. Air conditioning in the places candy was sold would be extremely unlikely.

Today, you can buy just about any candy year round, even fancy and delicate chocolates, thanks to the magic of refrigerated shipping and universal air conditioning. Although we still have a few traditional candy holiday associations, candy is less and less seasonal.

I did notice, in all the stories of candy throwing at Fourth of July Parades, that the candy being thrown was of a particular sort. Old candies like Tootsie Rolls, lollipops and newer ones like  SweeTarts and Smarties. We have these candies all year, of course. But I think these are our version of “summer candies.”

Sources: Curtiss and Kupfer ads from Confectioners Journal, 1920. On air conditioning in factories, Confectioners Journal April, 1922: “Air Conditioning of Candy Factories” by F. R. Ellis (p. 124-126).

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Intermission: Candy is Delicious Food Kandy Kake before Baby Ruth

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark D. (sugarpressure)  |  July 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Oh..the magic of modern technology. I can’t imagine eating fruit in seas or waiting until winter to have chocolate. Great Article!

  • 2. Mark D. (sugarpressure)  |  July 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Hmm…that was “fruit in season” because fruit in “seas” is silly

    • 3. Candy Professor  |  July 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      Ha Ha! I thought you meant eating fruit while floating around in the sea! But we do take our technologies for granted, I agree. Thanks for your comment!


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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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