The word "PEZ" comes from the German word for peppermint, which is phefferminz. You take the first, middle, and last letters of the German word - PheffErminZ, put them together and you get "PEZ". PEZ was invented in 1927 in Vienna, Austria by a candyman named Edward Haas III. Edward Haas came up with the idea for this new peppermint candy. It was an adult breath mint that he decided to market as an alternative for smoking. Haas Food Manufacturing Corporation of Vienna, Austria, was the first to sell PEZ candies. Back then, PEZ, the brick-shaped candies were carried around in pocket tins.
When Edward Haas first invented PEZ it was originally compressed peppermints, a breath mint for adult smokers. Then the first PEZ dispenser which came along in 1947, naturally, looked like a cigarette lighter. Then in 1948, they came out with the "easy, hygienic dispenser" that we all recognize now to be a regular PEZ dispenser. In 1952 Edward Haas brought his business to America and did extensive research with his products and the way children had grown attached to them. They placed heads on the dispensers and marketed it for children.
Then in 1952 the first fruit flavored Pez was introduced along with the first Pez dispensers with character heads on them. The first flavors of Pez included cherry, lemon, orange and strawberry. These were the flavors that Edward Haas thought the children would like the most. In 1970, PEZ Candy, Inc. took over the sales and production of candies and dispensers from Haas Food Manufacturing Corporation.
In 1973, PEZ built their U.S. plant that is located in Orange, Connecticut, U.S.A. In 1983, Mr. Scott McWhinnie became "PEZident" of PEZ here in the U.S. In 1990 the size of the plant was doubled. PEZ Candy is a FDA regulated food plant and operates 24 hours a day. In 1947 when the first PEZ dispenser was invented it looked like a cigarette lighter and the "characters" that we know PEZ by were not introduced until 1952. PEZ dispensers received their first U.S. patent in 1949. It is not certain, but some experts think that Popeye became the first character PEZ dispenser.
Several other Disney characters were also among the first to appear on the top of dispensers. The top selling dispensers of all times are Mickey Mouse, Santa, and Dino the Dinosaur, from the Flintstones. In 1987 PEZ Candy, Inc. began to put "feet" on the PEZ candy dispensers. Since the beginning of dispensers, over 300 different characters have been featured on top of a PEZ dispenser. Before 1987 dispensers did not have "feet". Feet are the two tabs on the bottom of the dispenser that help it stand up straight. The new PEZ "regulars" are a remake of the first dispenser that looked like the cigarette lighter. The new regulars have no feet and began their return to the market on September 25, 1995.
We'll start with his favorites of the whole bunch
With just over 300 PEZ to date, the PEZ collection is slowly taking over his room.