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What is the history behind PEZ? And why I need to stop buying them.



One of the things that I've been doing while I'm collecting toys? I wanted to find out more about their history, like where they came from? The artwork? It’s an opportunity when I find this stuff to find out who the hell made it in the first place? It's kind of interesting, a lot of strange stories from different items that I've got in the past.

But one that I keep buying and I don't know why because they don't go up in value they're difficult to find out if people actually like them, I buy them I don't even like them and it's Pez.

So I need to stop buying Pez. I know nothing about them. I have ones that are pretty old and for some reason, I just think it must be valuable. They're not.

Here is what I learned about PEZ.

Made in Austria in 1927.

The original candy bricks in 1927 were peppermint, in fact, Pez is the abbreviation for the German word peppermint - Pfefferminze. It was originally sold in small tins.

The first dispenser appeared around 1950 to help people quit smoking.

It was marketed as an adult mint for people who were trying to quit smoking. The “originals”, which are what the first dispensers are called from this era, were actually made to look like a cigarette lighter. So for the people who wanted to quit smoking they would flick it like a lighter and the candy would pop out instead. That's how they got the flip-top thing.

illustration image
An illustration I did of one of the "Original" PEZ dispensers.

In 1952 the cartoon heads and fruity flavored candies were introduced to sell them to children.

In 1952 they introduced this product to the United States because of how successful it was overseas. They first started by selling the “originals” the cigarette lighter ones. But they never became as popular here.

Then, and I wish I could find out where they came up with this idea but, they decided to put cartoon heads on them and sell them to children.

It's one of those things where it's like you bastard! But actually, it's kind of genius. And it's just candy it just seems like it should be wrong for some reason.

Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse were the first characters on the dispensers.

PEZ has also made dispensers with their own characters in the past. They have the Pez-asaurus, Pez and pets, Mr. ugly and Friends (poor guy), Pez pals and Pez circus characters.

They had a general rule against creating likenesses of real people. 

You'll only find cartoon heads on the dispensers except for a couple of situations such as they did do a limited edition Elvis set of PEZ.

The highest verifiable sale of a PEZ dispenser was a private sale of a Mickey Mouse soft head, I'm assuming it's self-explanatory, for $7,000!? The dispenser was never available for sale to the public it was a factory prototype. Oh, that's why.

The uppercase spelling of the logo on the dispensers is made to look like it’s built out of the candy bricks.

They didn't always have feet.

Oh here's a funny thing, I found out that on the bottom of Pez dispensers in 1984, they added small tabs at the bottom which are referred to as feet. Starting approximately 1987 the footless Pez candy dispenser stems were gradually phased out of production and then the rest of them had feet.

You would think that would help to figure out if a dispenser is at least before 1987 right? But no, even that apparently isn't reliable because they reintroduced the footless PEZ dispensers in 1992! What is wrong with these people?

And In the mid-1990s peppermint flavor was reintroduced. Up until then, they were only using fruit flavors in the US.

A few things that I noticed.

Here is something I also noticed, I have some Pez that is from Europe and instead of candy they say bonbons on the box and they're shrink-wrapped.

If they are still in the box you can tell if they are before at least mid-2000s if they don't have the website listed on the packaging. So if it says pez.com it's at least after the mid-2000s.

So anyway, that's what I know about Pez. Now I'm gonna stop buying them, in theory. The end.

-Tom

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