February 23, 1896: Leo Hirschfeld introduces his new candy, Tootsie Roll. Leo was an Austrian immigrant to the US. He opened a candy shop in New York City and wanted a chewy candy resistant to melting which would be an economical alternative to chocolate. He named the candy after his daughter, Clara “Tootsie” Hirschfeld. The candy was a success and in 1905 the production moved to a five-story factory. In 1917 the company changed its name to The Sweets Company of America. The business was first listed in 1922. A newer, cheaper treat was needed during the Great Depression and so the Tootsie Pop was invented in 1931. The lollipop with a bit of Tootsie Roll inside was another great hit.
In 1935 the company was in trouble. The supplier of paper boxes knew of the possible loss of an important customer and became interested in taking control of the company. Joseph Rubin & Sons of Brooklyn got a list of shareholders and approached them personally until they could gain control of the company. Bernard Rubin was given the job of president of the candy company. He increased sales, restored profits, changed the formula of the Tootsie Roll and made it larger, and moved the company’s plant from Manhattan to Hoboken, New Jersey. He guided the company through the war years, as well.
During World War II, Tootsie Rolls became a standard part of American soldiers’ field rations since the candy could withstand a variety of weather conditions, neither melting nor freezing. Bernard managed the company until his death in 1948 and by the time he died, he had increased the volume of sales by a factor of 12. His brother took over as president. William Rubin served until 1962. Four years later, the name changed again to the current name of Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. Over the years, they have acquired other candy manufacturers such as The Candy Corporation, Cellas’ Confections, The Charms Company, The Warner-Lambert Company, Andes Candies, and Concord Confections.
They are one of the largest candy manufacturers in the world. An astounding 64 million Tootsie Rolls are made each day. According to their website, each new day’s batch of Tootsie Rolls starts with the batter left over from the day before. Also available today are a variety of Tootsie Roll flavors coming in a rainbow of colors. Tootsie Fruit Rolls and Tootsie Frooties are both available with the latter made with more flavors and colors. They are not quite worldwide, but are sold in several different countries spanning the globe. And in 2009, they became certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and they are gluten free and peanut free. Actual studies have been done to find out how many licks it takes to get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop. The short answer: lots.
Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want. – Ryan Gosling
Candy is my fuel. Ice cream, too. – Jane Smiley
I feel like a little kid who just walked into a candy store. I think that’s something to smile about. – Brandon Boyd
Candy is childhood, the best and bright moments you wish could have lasted forever. – Dylan Lauren
Also on this day: The Rotary Club – In 1905, the Rotary Club was formed.
Cato Conspiracy – In 1820, the plot to kill British cabinet members was exposed.
Gutenberg Bible – In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was published.
ISO – In 1947, a new set of standards were adopted.