History Of Conversation Hearts

in Candy Blog

The History Of Conversation Hearts

In case you don’t make it through all of this page, let’s list the Fun Facts about Candy Conversation Hearts first!

  • They are made from a mix that feels and looks like dough.
  • For Valentine Day 2016, it is estimated that over 8 billion conversation hearts were made – yes that is billion with a B.
  • They are manufactured for over 10 months of the year…
  • However the majority are sold between January 1st and February 14th.
  • New sayings on the hearts come out each year and old sayings are retired. Does that make these a collectible?
  • Stay tuned to the TV game show Jeopardy as they usually have a question about candy conversation hearts on their Valentine show each year.

Where conversation hearts started...

It is told that American colonists made candy with love notes scratched on the surface for Valentine’s Day. So in the mid 1800s The New England Confectionery Company thought this might be a good idea to capitalize on and created the conversation heart. Shortly thereafter, Daniel Chase, brother of NECCO founder Oliver Chase, invented a process to print sayings on the candies. Sweet Hearts, the name used for candies with sayings inscribed directly on them, were invented in 1900. Initially other shaped were made that included horseshoes and baseballs. This was done to allow for more words and longer sayings.

Eventually the sayings became shorter. The now classic heart shape was produced with some of the original sayings including “Kiss Me” and “Be Mine”. Now is 2016, candy conversation hearts are one of the most popular Valentine’s Day candies. They are given as gifts to loved ones and of course seem to make their way into every schoolroom.

How are conversation hearts made?
Start with sugar, color and other ingredients and mix them all up! The mix needs to get to a dough like state and then it is ready. A big machine flattens the dough, another machine stamps it with a saying, and then it is cut into heart shapes. We do not know if the stamping part has spell check! The hearts then drop on a conveyor belt and are transported to a dryer type machine. Once it is dry, the hearts are mixed according to the specific product mix , get bagged or boxed, and begin their journey to your taste buds.

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