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.
 

Conclusion

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."
 

SOURCES:

Website of the Spangler Candy Co. http://www.spanglercandy.com/spangler/aboutus/lollipophistory.php (Accessed 2/12/08)

Website of "Candy Gift Ideas" http://www.candy-gift-ideas.net/lollipop_history.htm (Accessed 2/12/08)

"The History of Lollipop Candy" http://www.candyfavorites.com/shop/catalog-lollipop-history.php (Accessed 2/12/08)

"Who Invented Lollipops" by Mary Bellis About.com http://inventors.about.com/od/lstartinventions/a/lollipops.htm (Accessed 2/12/08)

"The Nightly Grind" by Mary Spicuzza Metroactive San Jose, CA, March 23, 2000 http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/03.23.00/ecstasy1-0012.html (Accessed 2/12/08)

"Gotta Dance?" (author unattributed) Drug Free America Foundation Website http://www.dfaf.org/studentsection/files/gotta.php (Accessed 2/12/08)

Lol"li*pop (?), n. [Perhaps fr. Prov. E. loll to soothe + pope a mixed liquor.]

A kind of sugar confection which dissolves easily in the mouth.

Thackeray.

 

© Webster 1913.

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