About The Company
| Our History
| Year by Year
| Canada® Mints
| Candy Buttons®
| Mary Jane®
| Mighty Malts®
| Slap Stix®
| Sky Bar®
| Squirrel Nut Zippers®
Mention NECCO and most people think “Wafers” and for good reason. We have been making these delicious candies since 1847, so it is no surprise that “NECCO” and “Wafers” have become synonymous, like Thomas Edison and the light bulb.
However, just as the light bulb was not Edison’s only invention, NECCO Wafers are not our only candy. We also produce some of America’s most beloved iconic candies including Sweethearts, Mary Janes, Candy Buttons, Clark Bars, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Slap Stix, and Sky Bars among many other sweet treats. Over the course of our storied history, we have proudly stayed true to our New England roots, only leaving our longtime Cambridge, MA home a few years ago to stretch our legs in the nearby Boston suburb of Revere in an 810,000 square-foot factory where we have plenty of innovation room to bring you new sweets to enjoy alongside your favorite classics.
If that sounds simple, it’s because it is. We make candy, and we’re proud of our sweet history. Candy should always be fun, so we hope you have as much fun with our candy as we do!
If you want to pick a pivotal time in American innovation, one should look no further than the 1840s, a decade which saw the invention of the grain elevator, the sewing machine, the rotary printing press, the safety pin, and even baseball.
In particular, focusing in on 1847 holds a special place in the heart of NECCO, as the progressive thinker Oliver Chase constructed the lozenge cutter, a device which proved to be America’s first candy machine. Chase’s invention not only gave birth to the Wafer that would make our company famous, it also jumpstarted the nation’s entire candy industry.
Progressing forward, Oliver Chase, alongside his brothers Silas and Daniel, the originator of Conversation Hearts, spent the next two decades marketing their confectionery treats across the United States and Canada.
Then in the early 1870s, the Chase brother’s business almost went up in flames—literally. Daniel, who was in charge of the Western business, saw his building destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The following year in Boston, Oliver’s building burnt down as well.
What could have been the end of something big actually gave rise to something even bigger. Daniel left Chicago to return to Boston, teaming up with the confectionery company of Fobes, Hayward and Company. Around the same time, Oliver partnered with local merchant T. Pickering Drown. Thirty years later, in 1901, these two relationships would merge along with a third candy company, Wright & Moody, to form the New England Confectionery Company, commonly known as NECCO.
Since then, NECCO’s candies have been enjoyed the world over, and our acquisitions of brands such as Clark Bar, Mary Jane and Squirrel Nut Zippers have breathed new life into our beloved American company along the way.
Our innovative accomplishments paired with our place as the country’s oldest continuously operating candy company create a history of which we are extremely proud. It is a history we continue to write every day with every piece of delicious candy that comes out of our Revere factory, which sits just a few miles from where Oliver Chase pioneered NECCO and the American candy industry over a century and a half ago.
Oliver R. Chase of Boston invents and patents the first American candy machine, a lozenge cutter. This marks the founding of the nation's candy industry and the beginning of commercial candy manufacturing. With his brother, Silas Edwin, he founds Chase and Company, the original member of the NECCO family.
Confectioners Daniel Fobes and Joseph G. Ball form a partnership under the firm name Ball and Fobes.
Oliver Chase invents and patents a machine for pulverizing sugar.
Daniel Fobes masters the art of making Oriental sweets, introducing a wholly new kind of confection into the American confectionery industry.
William Wright of Boston begins to make popular hard candies similar to those made in England. He joins confectioner Charles Bird creating the firm known as Bird, Wright and Company.
Daniel Fobes makes sales trips to Canada and the Maritime Provinces displaying advertisements and furnishing his customers with large colored pictures highlighting his "Turkish Delight."
Daniel Fobes becomes an all-round candy maker through his acquisition of confectioner Albert Webster’s candy company. This new firm begins manufacturing lozenges and other popular, low-priced confections in addition to Daniel Fobes’ own specialties.
Daniel Chase, Oliver's brother, moves to Chicago to use the Chase Lozenge Machine in the new, growing Western territory.
The Fobes, Hayward and Company rises in place of the former Ball and Fobes Company as founder Joseph G. Ball retires and Daniel H. and Albert F. Hayward are admitted to the firm.
Daniel Chase invents "Conversation Candies" which are an instant success with widespread popularity. These unique candies are shared at birthday parties, weddings and other festive occasions.
Abner J. Moody, returning from the Civil War, becomes a partner of his father-in-law, William Wright. The firm changes its name from Bird, Wright and Company to Wright and Moody and specializes in children's package candies, gumdrops, and many other original candy novelties. Continuing his relentless passion for invention, Daniel Fobes acquired a patent for a "new and original combination for confections and beverages.” This is a mixture of coffee and cacao to which he gives the name "Mocha."
Fobes, Hayward and Company advertises itself as "Wholesale Confectioners, Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in Confectionery and Sugar Toys."
The Chicago Fire wipes out Daniel Chase's Western business. He returns to Boston to work for Fobes, Hayward and Company and make his special printed lozenges.
Oliver Chase has his building destroyed in the Boston Fire. Soon after, he takes in T. Pickering Drown, an extremely successful merchant in the trade of teas and silks, as a partner in efforts to rebuild his business.
At the nation’s Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the candy industry makes an impressive demonstration of its rapid growth. Steam power, which has revolutionized the business in a period of just ten years, is demonstrated through the many new machines of a multitude of candy companies. Chase and Company is one of 20 firms exhibiting its superior machines.
Edwin F. Fobes, son of Daniel Fobes, comes into Fobes, Hayward and Company where he holds various offices until he becomes president in 1899.
The D. L. Clark Company begins manufacture of confectionery treats in two backrooms of a small house on the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The National Confectioners' Association (NCA) forms to unite all reputable confectionery firms in the defense of high quality candy manufacturing. Abner Moody is named its inaugural treasurer. Fobes, Hayward and Company extends its business to include the manufacture and sale of confectioners' machines. Charles N. Miller and his three sons establish a small business manufacturing and selling homemade candy inside the historic Paul Revere House in Boston's North End.
Oliver Chase retires from Chase and Company; Mr. Drown becomes its new president and treasurer.
The enrober, a machine used to automatically apply coating to molded fondant and other centers, comes into widespread use. It revolutionizes the industry by making high quantity chocolate production possible at much lower costs.
The New England Confectionery Company is officially formed by a merger of the three distinguished candy firms: Chase and Company; Fobes, Hayward and Company; and Wright and Moody. It is incorporated with a capital of $1,000,000.00 and adopts the trade name of NECCO Sweets.
NECCO Sweets moves into a newly built manufacturing plant at Summer and Melcher Streets in Boston, the then largest factory devoted exclusively to confectionery production in the United States. Its four large buildings, each five stories high, contain an enormous five acres of floor space.
NECCO advertises with display cards in magazines. Its goods are sold in every state, as well as in England and other European markets, Australia, South America and some smaller outlets in South Africa.
The famous Lenox Chocolates, in packages, are introduced.
NECCO inaugurates a profit-sharing plan to reward those who, by faithful attendance and continuous service, demonstrate their passionate interest in the welfare of the company. Each employee's part is based on a percentage of what he or she has earned during the year. NECCO employs 700 - 800 people, many of who have been with the various firms for 25 to 30 years.
In light of the rapid growth and increased popularity of the confectionery industry, NECCO begins widely advertising both NECCO Wafers and Hub Wafers to the mass market.
Explorer Donald MacMillan takes NECCO Wafers on his Arctic expedition, using them for nutrition and as rewards to the Eskimo children he meets.
The Charles N. Miller Company begins manufacturing Mary Janes. Miller names the molasses and peanut butter candy for his favorite aunt, Mary Jane. The little girl whose likeness has appeared on Mary Jane candy wrappers ever since, is one of America's oldest and best-loved children.
The D. L. Clark Company produces its first five cent chocolate which it ships to soldiers fighting overseas in World War I. This marks the introduction of the Clark Bar.
NECCO takes a progressive step by insuring the lives of all its employees, basing the amount of insurance on the employee’s term of service. The protection affects more than 1200 employees and falls in line with the existing benefits provided to workers by Workmen's Compensation Laws.
Howard B. Stark originates a new caramel and vanilla-swirled nougat, which he calls the "Snirkle."
NECCO recognizes its founding by Oliver Chase in 1847 by celebrating its 75th anniversary. In an exhibition of appreciation, NECCO honors men who have been with the company 37, 39, 40, and in one case, 53 years!
NECCO moves its plant to Cambridge near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and banks of the famous Charles River. At the time, it is the largest factory in the world devoted entirely to the manufacture of candy. All new NECCO buildings afford the largest possible amount of sunshine and air for workers. Containing the most modern equipment for temperature control as well as the latest mechanical devices for efficient manufacture, these buildings push NECCO to the forefront of the industry.
Deran Hintlian acquires the Windsor Confectionery Company in Somerville, MA and the Murray Confectionery Company in Boston and begins manufacturing chocolates, sugar panned almonds, Brazil nuts, and peanuts.
The Lovell and Covel Company joins NECCO, bringing in their famous Chocolate Masterpieces trademark and other high quality specialties. These product lines retain their own names and are sold independently of NECCO candies by a special corps of salesmen. With this acquisition, NECCO becomes what is known as a "General Line" house, manufacturing a complete line of candies and packings including penny, five-cent, bulk and fancy packaged goods.
Seeking a bigger location, the Deran family moves its business to 134 Cambridge Street in Lechmere Square in Cambridge.
NECCO Sales Corporation of New York City forms to handle distribution of the complete line of NECCO candies in the New York region.
NECCO introduces Sky Bar, becoming the first candy manufacturer in the country to create a molded chocolate bar having four distinctly different flavored centers encased in a chocolate covering, which some nickname "The Candy Box in a Bar." In celebration of such an innovative product launch, Sky Bar is announced to the public by means of a dramatic skywriting campaign.
Howard Stark founds the Howard B. Stark Company after buying the equipment of the American Candy Company of Milwaukee, WI. He continues to manufacture the popular "Snirkle." Over the next 50 years, the Howard B. Stark Company produces a wide range of well known confections.
NECCO introduces Candy Cupboard boxed chocolates at G. Fox, a prominent department store.
In support of the United States WWII effort, NECCO turns over a portion of its plant for manufacture of war materials, and it also uses its candy facilities to provide rations and other emergency specialties for the armed forces.
The blackout and curfew in Times Square are lifted on VE-Day following three years of darkness. Only six display signs have lighting equipment ready for operation and NECCO's Sky Bar sign is one of them. More than 250,000 New Yorkers pack Times Square to welcome the return of the "lights."
With the end of the war, NECCO returns to civilian production. The factory’s modernization program, designed to make the NECCO plant the most modern and efficient of its kind, commences.
NECCO proudly celebrates its 100th anniversary, looking forward to its second century of fine candy making and bold leadership in the confectionery industry.
The Clark family sells the D. L. Clark Company to Beatrice Food Company.
NECCO enters into a manufacturing agreement with Macintosh of England to produce ROLO. This exciting new venture adds to a prior agreement NECCO had to distribute Quality Street Chocolates in the United States.
UIS, Inc. of New York acquires NECCO from the original NECCO heirs. The company goes through a period of restructuring with multiple changes in upper management.
Domenic Antonellis comes to NECCO as part of the company reorganization and for ten years serves in a number of vital management positions.
NECCO launches a national advertising campaign featuring the "NECCO Kid" to promote its extremely popular NECCO Wafers, Sky Bar, and Canada Mints lines. Deran Candy is sold to the Borden Corporation, one of the largest food organizations in the world. Borden later renames the company Borden Candy Products.
Domenic Antonellis is chosen as the new president of NECCO. He becomes the youngest, and longest-sitting, president in the company's history, bringing stability and a progressive vision to NECCO.
NECCO acquires the assets of Gum Products and its Cumberland Valley brand, the originator of candy buttons in America.
The Stark Company buys the Charles N. Miller Company of Watertown, MA, the manufacturer of the legendary Mary Jane family of products.
William F. Stark, grandson of Howard Stark, the Snirkle originator, sells the Howard B. Stark Company. Following the sale, the company’s name is changed to Stark Candy Company.
NECCO purchases the Candy House Candy Buttons brand, making NECCO the exclusive manufacturer of this popular American product.
NECCO acquires Stark Candy Company. With the acquisition, the Sweethearts Conversation Heart brand, along with NECCO's existing Sweet Talk line, make the company the leading manufacturer of conversation hearts. As a result of this purchase, NECCO also becomes the owner of the Mary Jane brand, which sees tremendous growth in its peanut butter kisses and salt water taffy lines.
Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company purchases the D.L. Clark Company from Leaf Inc.
NECCO acquires peanut butter kisses and salt-water taffy assets from the Glen Candy Company and incorporates them into its beloved Mary Jane operation. Additionally, NECCO purchases Borden Candy Products, formerly known as Deran Candy, and renames it Haviland Candy.
The "Fax Me" saying appears on conversation hearts, resulting in an avalanche of mainstream media attention across television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Jim Clister purchases the D.L. Clark Company from the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company and renames it Clark Bar America, Inc.
NECCO acquires the assets of Falcon Candy Company of Philadelphia, bolstering NECCO’s strength and dominance in the peanut butter kiss and salt water taffy categories. To commemorate the start of its 150th anniversary celebration, NECCO unveils its newly painted Water Tower atop the NECCO facility on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. The Water Tower is painted to replicate a classic roll of NECCO Wafers and quickly becomes a treasured part of the local skyline.
NECCO celebrates its 150th anniversary with a series of public and industry-wide events throughout the year including a major industry celebration at the Chicago Water Tower.
NECCO acquires the assets of Clark Bar America, Inc., makers of the Clark Bar, a popular chocolate coated peanut butter crunch candy bar.
In an exciting move that points to a future of expansion and innovation, NECCO relocates from Cambridge to a new 810,000 square-foot plant in the nearby Boston suburb of Revere, MA. This new location houses all three Massachusetts facilities as well as an extensive new warehouse.
NECCO obtains the license for Squirrel Nut Candies from the Squirrel Brand Company, which dates its history back to 1888 with humble beginnings in Boston and Cambridge. Following this development, NECCO begins to manufacture Squirrel Nut Zippers and Squirrel Nut Caramel Chews.
NECCO becomes a portfolio company of American Capital Strategies, Ltd. This partnership allows for renewed focus on core competencies that will grow NECCO into a leader in the confectionery industry. NECCO’s new focus centers around several areas of growth: acquisitions, expansion of existing product lines, and introduction of new products.
NECCO partners with the Twilight movie franchise to produce special lines of Sky Bars and Sweethearts. Packaging for each brand showcases the franchise’s most popular characters and is tied into delicious, limited-edition flavors. These special edition lines are a big hit with both passionate Twilight and NECCO fans.
NECCO asks fans to submit suggestions for new sayings to include in the Sweethearts lineup and receive an overwhelming amount of submissions. The top two entries, “Text Me” and “Tweet Me,” are added to the annual mix, reflecting the Valentine’s Day candy’s blend of classic signs of affection with contemporary forms of communication between loved ones.
Zombie Food makes its eerie debut at Halloween. These milk chocolate brains, hearts, and feet filled with oozy red caramel are an instant fan favorite for the spooky season. In addition to Zombie Food, the Clark line is expanded with the mouth-watering introduction of Clark Bites, a bite sized version of the Clark Bar, NECCO’s classic real chocolate and real peanut butter candy bar. These two sweet debuts stand out as NECCO’s most innovative, and delicious, product developments in recent years.
The beloved Clark brand is revamped with bold new packaging and an exciting branding initiative, launched first in Charlotte, NC. Both the Clark Bar and Clark Bites are featured in a refreshing television and digital campaign that challenges fans to answer the question: “Are you Clark enough?”
In 1847, a young English immigrant and progressive thinker, Oliver Chase, invented the first American candy machine, a lozenge cutter. After a period of initial success selling his exciting new candy, he joined forces with brother, Silas Edwin, and founded Chase and Company, the pioneer member of the NECCO family.
In 1901, Chase and Company, merged with both Fobes, Hayward & Company and Wright & Moody to officially form the New England Confectionery Company, or NECCO as it is affectionately known. Over the years, NECCO prospered, producing many well known products, but its success was propelled by its most beloved candy: NECCO Wafers.
Due to its enduring popularity, the original recipe for the NECCO Wafer has remained essentially unchanged over the years, and the Wafers today are still made in the same original eight flavors of chocolate, licorice, cinnamon, lemon, lime, orange, wintergreen and clove! The ingredients are simply sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, colorings and flavorings – sweet simplicity!
From the time of their creation, NECCO Wafers have been enjoyed the world over. In 1913, explorer Donald MacMillan took NECCO Wafers on his Arctic explorations, using them for nutrition and as rewards for Eskimo children. Later, in the 1930’s, Admiral Byrd took 2½ tons of NECCO Wafers on an expedition to the South Pole, which amounted to about a pound a week for each of his men during their two-year stay in the Antarctic.
During World War II, the U.S. Government requisitioned a major portion of the production of NECCO Wafers. Since the candy doesn’t melt and is difficult to break during transit, it was perfect for shipping overseas to the troops!
Though they were first created some time ago, NECCO Wafers have stood the test of time. Every day new fans are discovering their sweetness while longtime loyal fans are still relishing the feelings of nostalgia that come with unwrapping and savoring each Wafer in every roll.
Today, NECCO produces approximately four billion NECCO Wafers on an annual basis. To put this in perspective, if the Wafers were placed edge to edge, they could wrap around the world… twice!
In addition to simply savoring the sweetness, creative NECCO Wafer fans have invented various additional uses for NECCO Wafers over the years. They have been used as poker chips, for First Communion practice and as bulls-eyes at target ranges. If only Oliver Chase could have known back then the imagination of future NECCO Wafer fans!
NECCO Wafers came to delight our taste buds with their yummy flavors over a century ago and look forward to an even sweeter future!
Canada Mints are the beloved mints known nationwide for being a deliciously sweet and refreshing treat. They first appeared in the Canadian market during the late 1880’s. By 1908, their popularity had caught on and spread rapidly to an excited audience in the United States. With a booming demand for these sugar lozenge mints, Canada Mints were packaged in a 5 cent unit in 1916 for more consumer-friendly purchasing and consumption in the years to come.
Canada Mints have enjoyed decades of widespread success remaining mostly unchanged. Today, they are still one of the most renowned sugar lozenge mints in the United States, with Wintergreen and Peppermint as the most popular flavors. Canada Mints’ iconic flavor, appearance and packaging have enjoyed a storied history of success of simply sweet refreshment and look forward to being savored by NECCO fans for many years to come.
Candy Buttons are one of the most dearly loved candies that bring back sweet nostalgic memories of childhood fun! In 1980, NECCO acquired the Cumberland Valley brand, the originators of Candy Buttons in America. Then, just a short time later in 1989, NECCO acquired the Candy House Button brand, which made NECCO the exclusive manufacturer of this extremely popular American product.
Candy Buttons are packed on their now iconic strips of paper in rows of three, and come in three yummy flavors that correspond to the different colors on the strip: lemon, lime and cherry. Fans love to share that they have come up with many creative methods of eating these sweet treats off the paper!
Throughout the course of a single year, NECCO makes 3/4 billion Candy Buttons - all to satisfy the sweet tooth of fans of a fun candy that reminds us to always stay a kid at heart!
Born in Ireland, David L. Clark came to America when he was only eight years old. He recalls in his memoirs, "My primary education consisted of just one year in grade school. After that I found it necessary to work or starve. Like many other energetic poor boys, my business career started by selling newspapers and carrying market baskets at the age of nine. When I was 12, I went to Business College at night and worked through the day."
With this spirit of hard work and dedication, D.L. Clark took his first steady job in a frame factory, making $1.50 a week. After that, he worked in various occupations including, but not limited to, paint manufacturing, rolling mills, art glass factories, fish markets, wholesale notions, and wagon delivery. He noted that in addition to what he learned in Business College, he had also learned a great deal through "extensive travels both in America and in many foreign countries, and the best of all teachers: the School of Experience."
D.L. Clark entered the candy industry when he began working for a small New York candy manufacturer. After three years as a traveling salesman with a "country wagon," he bought the peddling wagon, horses, and merchandise and went into business for himself.
From there, the D.L. Clark Company was founded in 1886 when Clark started manufacturing candy in two back rooms of a small house in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. When D.L. Clark started selling candy in the streets of Pittsburgh, the prospect of becoming a giant in the confectionery industry was far from his thoughts. However, during his lifetime, the D.L. Clark Company became a leading candy manufacturer and the Clark Bar emerged as one of the nation's favorite treats.
Clark's business grew steadily, and in 1911, the company moved to larger quarters at a cracker factory on Pittsburgh's North Side. The D.L. Clark Company continued to expand and prosper at that location for 75 years, manufacturing some of America's best-known candies. The company experimented with a variety of ingredients that had never been used in candy before. Clark introduced confections filled with coconut, mint and peanut butter and was an overall industry leader in marketing candy bars. Three of its best creations were Clark, Zagnut, and Clark Coconut Crunch Bar.
Clark scored an important marketing success when it introduced the five-cent-sized Clark Bar. Initially, the bar was individually wrapped to facilitate shipment of candy to American troops during World War I. The Clark Bar became extremely popular with the soldiers, and its popularity carried over to the general public in the years following the conclusion of the war.
By 1920, the D.L. Clark Company was making about 150 different types of candy, including several five-cent bars, specialty items and a bulk candy line. The Clark Company also manufactured chewing gum, and in 1921, they incorporated the Clark Brothers Chewing Gum Company, makers of Teaberry and Tendermint. However, by 1931, the candy bar business had grown so large that Clark decided to close this secondary gum venture and specialize exclusively in candy bars.
In 1955, the Clark family sold their candy business to the Beatrice Food Company, which operated the company until 1983, when candy manufacturer Leaf, Inc acquired the confectionery division of Beatrice foods, including Clark. When Leaf, Inc. announced plans to move the candy operations from Pittsburgh, the city protested. The candy plant and rights to the Clark, Slo Poke and Black Cow candies were sold, and D.L. Clark became part of the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company. After a period of financial instability, the company was again sold in June of 1995. The Company was renamed Clark Bar America and distribution was re-established. New product lines were also selectively introduced including Winter Clark, Clark Dark, and the Yoo-hoo Candy Bar.
However, Clark Bar America again fell into financial difficulty and in May of 1999, NECCO purchased the assets of Clark Bar America. From there the Clark Bar entered into a bright future with the beloved family of classic NECCO candies.
In 2012, the Clark brand expanded with the introduction of the very popular Clark Bites, which are bite-sized versions of the Clark Bar. These treats took fans by storm with their seemingly perfect ratio of real milk chocolate to real peanut butter. A year later, in 2013, the entire Clark brand experienced a refreshing revival with a multi-media digital and television advertising campaign that challenges fans to answer the question: “Are you Clark enough?”
Deran S. Hintlian, founder of the Deran Confectionery Company, came to the United States from Armenia at the age of 17 and soon went to work in his uncle’s candy factory selling candy throughout his community. Years later he would become what was known as a candy-jobber, a salesman selling the product to retailers.
Continuing his ambitious rise in the candy industry, his next big step came in 1929 with the acquisition of the bankrupt Windsor Confectionery Company located in Union Square in Somerville, MA. There, alongside his family, Hintlian manufactured, candy-jobbed and also ran a retail store. At the Somerville factory, Hintlian became the first person to pack peanuts in cellophane bags, which was an innovative packaging product in the industry at that time.
Around 1931, the Hintlian family purchased the Murray Confectionery Company on Commercial Street in Boston and moved their operation there. They enjoyed success in their manufactured chocolates, sugar-panned almonds, brazil-nuts, peanuts, and bagged roasted nuts.
Seeking a bigger location again in 1936, the family moved its business to the location at 134 Cambridge Street in Lechmere Square in Cambridge, MA, a location which saw many expansions in the years following purchase.
The firm continued to grow through the acquisition of other smaller candy makers. In 1961, Deran purchased the Miller and Hollis Corporation, the manufacturer of Haviland Chocolate. The Haviland brand of real chocolate products soon became their flagship brand. In 1963, Deran purchased the C.S. Allen Corporation of Webster, which specialized in the production of toffees and English-style hard candies.
Upon Deran Hintlian’s death in 1966, his wife became president of the firm. She ran the business with the help of a cousin, Harry Hintlian, who assumed the presidency in 1970 when Deran Confectionery Company was sold to the Borden Corporation. At that time, Borden was the fifth largest food company in the world.
Deran specialized in high volume, popular-priced sweets, and most of their products were chocolate. To help meet their goal of offering high-quality confections at affordable prices, Deran made their goods entirely from scratch, processing their own cocoa liquor, and milling their own chocolate. As a result, Deran’s products enjoyed wide acceptance, especially in New England and throughout the Northeast.
In the early 1990’s, Borden sold the business to Great American Brands, an investment group. Soon after in 1994, NECCO purchased the assets of the Deran Confectionery Company, including most notably the Haviland brand of chocolates. NECCO continued to operate the Deran plant at 134 Cambridge Street in Cambridge until 2003, when NECCO consolidated all their New England operations into a new facility in Revere, MA. NECCO continues to proudly manufacture the full line of Haviland brand real chocolate products at their world headquarters in Revere today!
In 1884, Charles H. Miller and his three sons founded a small business manufacturing and selling homemade candy in the famous Paul Revere House in Boston’s Faneuil Hall/North End area.
After their father’s death, the Miller boys split the responsibilities of the family business. Charles N. Miller took charge of the manufacturing and wholesale operations while his brothers ran the retail store. In 1914, after the Charles N. Miller Company established its reputation as a successful business, they began manufacturing their legendary Mary Janes. The delicious molasses and peanut butter chew was named for their favorite aunt, Mary Jane.
Over the years, the Miller Company tried several variations of the legendary Mary Jane mixture, but none could compare to the original. The Miller Company also introduced several other candies during its time in operation, but none enjoyed the same great success as Mary Jane. Over time, Mary Jane came to be the only candy produced by the Miller Company, and it enjoyed decades of continued popularity.
In 1990, NECCO purchased the Stark Candy Company, which owned the Mary Jane and Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses lines, both of which have seen tremendous growth. With this acquisition, NECCO has become the number one producer of Peanut Butter Kisses in the country.
Many adults can remember reaching up to the candy counter and seeing the charming Mary Jane girl that adorned every piece of this delicious candy, and ever since 1914 the legendary Mary Jane name has been synonymous with children, young and old alike.
Mighty Malts Malted Milk Balls were introduced to the public back in the late 1960’s. They were one of the first brands to use an actual “milk carton” as a packaging for malted milk balls, a fun twist that stood out among an increasing amount of competitors in the candy industry.
Years later, NECCO extended the Mighty Malts to include a full line of colorful assorted malted milk eggs for Easter. They became a springtime favorite for fans with both innovative carton packaging that for Easter became a “Bunny House” and also assorted malted milk egg bags, perfect for filling Easter baskets!
Today, Mighty Malts are as popular as ever, enjoyed year round by many passionate fans. In addition to their immense popularity during Easter, they also appear in a delicious Holiday theme for the Christmas season. Mighty Malts, with their crunchy centers and irresistible chocolate coating, are an everyday favorite delight!
A swirled caramel pop with banana/cherry/vanilla flavored nougat center makes Slap Stix one of NECCO’s most unique treats. In 1920, Howard B. Stark originated the first caramel and swirled nougat pop which was then known as a “Snirkle.” The Snirkle remained a popular treat throughout the Stark Company’s history, which included several changes of ownership. However, it found a home later with the NECCO family where its name was changed to Slap Stix. Today it is still one of the most beloved, nostalgic chewy treats – a unique caramel lollipop enjoyed by all ages!
The story of the Sky Bar begins with its creation in 1938. A chocolate bar with four unique fillings was a monumental development in the candy industry at that time. Accordingly, the first public appearance had to be equally as impressive, so NECCO first announced Sky Bar by means of a dramatic skywriting advertising campaign. NECCO was the first candy manufacturer in this country to introduce a molded chocolate bar with four distinctly different centers enrobed in chocolate. The four flavor fillings are fudge, caramel, peanut and vanilla nougat, the same four that appear today!
Sky Bar was an instant success and enjoyed widespread popularity. In 1945, the blackout and curfew in Times Square was lifted on VE-Day after three years of darkness. Only six display signs had their lighting equipment ready for operation and NECCO’s Sky Bar was one of them! This welcoming of the “lights” was celebrated by more than 250,000 people! Over the years following its introduction, Sky Bar was heavily advertised on television and radio and also through a number of well-read print publications.
Sky Bar still remains the only chocolate bar to have four different flavors in the same bar-- a truly unique, and delectable, treat!
The Squirrel brand dates back to 1890 when it was started as the Austin T. Merrill Company in Massachusetts. The company’s ownership changed in 1899 when the firm was officially incorporated as Squirrel Brands Salted Nut Company. At this time, two long-time employees, Perley G. Gerrish and Fred S. Green took over the business with goals of expansion and product innovation. As the company grew, it moved from its Boston location to Cambridge, MA in 1903 and then again to a larger building on Boardman Street in Cambridge in 1915.
From salted and roasted peanuts to chewy candy favorites, Squirrel Nut Company developed a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. It even supplied candy and roasted nuts to the armed forces. Some of their brands have included Butter Chews, Nut Twins, Nut Chews and Nut Yippee as well as a wide range of peanut butter kisses and salt water taffy.
Their flagship product was “Squirrel Nut Zippers,” a vanilla, caramel and nut taffy. The interesting name actually came from an illegal drink served secretly during prohibition. The name is fun and unique, and one that many fans loved. For example, during the 1990’s, a retro swing band named themselves the “Squirrel Nut Zippers” and even sometimes gave out the candy during their performances!
In 1999, Squirrel Brand Company, which at the time was one of the oldest family-owned candy companies, was purchased by Southern Style Nuts and the entire production operation was moved to Denison, TX.
Soon after the move, in 2004, NECCO picked up the license to manufacture the Squirrel Brand Company’s brands from Southern Style Nuts. At last, Squirrel Nut Zippers had come back home to Massachusetts, where their sweet, storied history began over a century ago.
Sweethearts, the sweet candy hearts with the quirky sayings, have been a beloved childhood staple for many generations and are the best-selling Valentine’s Day candy. Each year, NECCO manufactures about two billion hearts in order to keep up with the passionate demand for this American classic.
Given its ever-growing popularity, it's hard to believe that the concept behind today’s Sweethearts was created around the time that Abraham Lincoln was President! The conversation hearts of the 1860’s, Mottoes, seemed to have come into prominence during the time when “cockles,” a small crisp candy made of sugar and flour formed in the shape of a cockle or scallop shell, were a favorite on the market. The early cockles contained mottoes, which were printed on thin colored paper and rolled up inside.
In the 1860's, Daniel Chase, the brother of NECCO's founder father, Oliver Chase, began printing sayings on the candy. He experimented first with hand tools, and then devised a machine in which a felt roller pad, moistened with vegetable coloring, usually red, pressed against the die. The die printed the words on the lozenge paste and the double purpose machine cut the lozenges.
Grown-ups were entertained and passed the hearts around at parties. For weddings, there were wedding-day lozenges with humorously long-winded prophecies such as: “Married in satin, Love will not be lasting,” “Married in Pink, He will take to drink” and “Married in white, You have chosen right.”
The present day Sweethearts date back to 1902. Back then, besides hearts, they also produced candy in other various shapes such as postcards, baseballs, horseshoes and watches.
While today's sayings are on average much shorter, some of the original sayings are still in rotation, including "Be Mine," "Be Good," "Be True," "Kiss Me." In honor of NECCO's 150th Anniversary in 1997, a saying was brought back from the early 1900's: "The One I Love." And in 2014, the longtime favorite “Let’s Read” also reappeared in the mix, capturing some classic charm.
In the early 1990's, NECCO’s then Vice President Walter Marshall began an initiative to update the sayings each year, retiring some while adding others. The first new phrase, “Fax Me,” gained a lot of attention from Sweetheart fans. Following this notable effort, each year NECCO now receives hundreds of saying suggestions from romantics, candy lovers and school kids. From old tech, "Call Me” to new tech, "E-mail Me," Sweethearts keep the pulse on the heartbeat of the nation.
While most people love to eat them, Sweethearts have also been used in other ingenious ways over the years: to propose marriage, to teach children statistics and reading, to decorate cakes, and as borders for frames. The uses for this sweet treat are seemingly endless!
One thing Sweetheart lovers can count on each year is the candy's simple, familiar formula. Both Sweethearts and NECCO Wafers use the same batter: sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring. Once the dough is rolled out, imprinted with sayings and then stamped out in the familiar heart shape, it goes through a 45-minute drying cycle to reach its proper consistency.
To meet the high demand for Sweethearts, NECCO continuously produces them from late February through mid-January of the following year, and amazingly, the entire annual production, approximately 2 Billion individual Sweethearts, sells out in just six weeks! One thing is for sure, no matter what the cute sayings are, fans will always love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Sweethearts!