Life Savers were invented in Cleveland, Ohio in 1912 by Clarence A. Crane who was looking for a new candy to supplement his chocolate business that slumped in the hot weather. He developed a line of hard mints but didn't have the space or machinery to make them. He contracted with a pill manufacturer to press the mints into shape.
The pill manufacturer, whose machine was malfunctioning, found that the pressing process worked much better when the had mints were stamped out with a hole in the middle. He called the new candy "Cranes Life Savers" because they looked like miniature life preservers.
Crane sold the formula for Life Savers in 1913 for $2900 to Edward J. Noble. The mints became officially known as Pep-O-Mint Life Savers. Noble's contribution was to package the mints into rolls wrapped in tin foil to prevent them from going stale. The process was done by hand until 1919 when machinery was developed. In 1925 aluminum foil was used for the first time.
Mr. Noble promoted his candy at the cash registers of saloons, cigar stores, drug stores, barbers shops and restaurants. He had the candy placed, with a five-cents price, near the case register. He then requested that the cashier made sure that each customer, regardless of what he or she bought, got a nickel in the change being returned. Most people used the nickel to purchase the candy with a hole in the middle. The idea moved like wild fire and Noble's fortune was on the way.
Life Savers Memories
When I was growing up, I could always look forward to getting a Life Saver 'book' in my Christmas stocking. I loved going through my stocking on Christmas morning and finding the Life Savers. I liked them because they were something that would last for weeks after Christmas. My favorite flavors were Pep-o-mint, Butter Rum, and Wild Cherry. I liked the assorted flavors, but my older sister would always look to see what Life Saver was coming up next and ask for that one. I felt torn between being nice to my sister and being selfish. Some days she got the one she wanted and some days she didn’t.
One time I asked a friend of mine to give me her red panty hose after she got a run in them. Before Christmas, I crammed the panty hose full of goodies. Then I put them under the tree for my mom on Christmas morning. It was the only time I know that my mom got a stocking on Christmas morning. I made sure there was a book of Life Savers in her stocking. And I learned just how much panty hose can stretch! Mom got several years worth of stocking stuffers that Christmas. ~ Brian from California