It appears that lollipops have come full-circle, in a peculiar kind of way.
More than one source suggests that cavemen used sticks to harvest
honey from beehives, of course licking the hard-won sweet treat completely off
the stick. Lollipops are associated in the New Millenium with use of Ecstasy,
which causes chewing and teeth-grinding. Apparently, at raves, lollipops
(and even children's pacifiers) are de rigueur as both a fashion
statement and also to quell the primal need to grind one's teeth due to the
effects of the powerful drug. It is not the intention of the writer to criticize
the rave culture. However, the behavior of grown men and women under Ecstasy's
effects observed by the writer in multiple settings; from house parties to
exclusive night spots, cannot be described without including a brief comparison
to the mating rituals of the cavemen (and women).
Early Lollipop History
Ancient Arabs, Egyptians and Chinese were said to utilize sticks to hold
honey-candied fruits and nuts (the honey used as a preservative). Archaeological
evidence hints that sticks were used to make the confections easier to eat.
The nobility of middle-ages Europe enjoyed sugar boiled, hardened and
placed on sticks with decorative handles. Sugar was an expensive, imported
luxury item so therefore only nobility and the very wealthy could enjoy the
treat. The hardening of the sugar made the treats last longer.
Linguists have concluded that the hard candy on a stick of 17th century
London is where the name "lollipop" came from. The term, today, is also used by
the British to describe the stop sign held on a stick at school crossings or
busy intersections. The word "lollipop" (also spelled "lollypop") turned up in
the writings of Charles Dickens. Apparently the candy on a stick was sold by
street vendors in London from the 17th century on.
The Modern Mass-Produced Lollipop Evolves
George Smith, a candy maker in New Haven, Connecticut saw the idea of putting
caramel chocolates on a stick used by a competitor. Smith and his partner Andrew
Bradley started molding their hard candies on a stick and the Bradley Smith
Company was in the lollipop business. Anecdote has it that Smith, who enjoyed
attending horse races, had enjoyed good luck with a horse named Lolly
Pop. The Bradley Smith company patented the name in 1931. The Company stopped
manufacturing during the Great Depression and the trademark lapsed, so
lollipop is now a generic name for any candy treat on a stick.
The Racine (Wisconsin) Confectionary Machine Company invented in 1908 a
machine which would put hard candy on the end of a stick. The output of the
machine, 2,400 lollipops per hour, caused the company to believe that they could
turn out enough pops in a week to supply the nation's demand for an entire year!
The Racine company was bested in 1912 by San Fransisco's Samuel Born. The
Russian Immigrant not only invented a fast lollipop manufacturing machine, he
also invented sprinkles, or "Jimmies," the candy bits put onto ice cream and
desserts. This came about because the frugal Russian wanted to utilize every bit
of the byproducts of lollipop making. Born caused such a sensation that by 1916
he was awarded the "keys to the city."
While the now-defunct Racine Confectionary Company produced 57,000 lollipops
in a day, volume has exploded for the modern market. The Spangler Candy Company,
one of the nation's largest manufacturers of candy on a stick, is capable of an
output of three million treats per day, all of which, the company claims, sell
briskly. Spangler has been an innovator in lollipop creations, making the famous
Dum Dum (round) lollipops with a candy treat in the center, Saf-T-Pops, which
have a stick which is long and bent around, back into the candy, producing a
rounded end instead of a stick end which would potentially be dangerous for very
young lollipop eaters.
Lollipop use by "Grown-Ups?"
The good folks who're out to protect the children of America from the evils
of drugs (Drug-Free America Foundation, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and
the United States DEA) have caught on to the
popularity of lollipops (as well as rubber pacifiers, the kind used by infants)
in rave society, and are making parents aware. Woe betide the poor youth who indeed purchases lollipops merely
because they like them. If parents are exposed to the anti-drug propaganda he or she
will be given an interrogation, at the very least.
The use of lollipops by users of substances like Ecstasy, ketamine, MDMA (some sources insist this is equal to Ecstasy)
and Methamphetamine is so common that even kids who are, indeed, drug free
will indulge in the candies to "fit in." Who'd have ever thought that lollipops would become considered "drug paraphernalia?"
On a better note, a company in New York City manufactures erotic lollipops,
shaped like penises, as a novelty. Indeed, the lollipop has lost its innocence.
So, the next time someone grabs their crotch and insists you "suck this!" by
all means have a lollipop on hand. That way you can respond by saying "no
thanks, I've got my own."
Website of the Spangler Candy Co.
Website of "Candy Gift Ideas"
http://www.candy-gift-ideas.net/lollipop_history.htm (Accessed 2/12/08)
"The History of Lollipop Candy"
"Who Invented Lollipops" by Mary Bellis About.com
"The Nightly Grind" by Mary Spicuzza Metroactive San Jose, CA, March
"Gotta Dance?" (author unattributed) Drug Free America Foundation Website
http://www.dfaf.org/studentsection/files/gotta.php (Accessed 2/12/08)