Every Valentine’s Day, there are a few things everyone expects to receive: flowers, a card, and Conversation Hearts from Necco! Also known as Sweethearts, Conversation Hearts are the wildly popular candies that are perfect for expressing how you feel in sweet little bite-size treats. Why? Each heart has a small message of love printed on the front, making them adorable delights for your own “sweetheart.” Even though everyone is familiar with Conversation Hearts, not everyone knows the story behind them. Believe us; the history is just as charming as the candy itself!
A man named Oliver R. Chase invented a special machine, designed to cut wafer candy into different shapes, in 1847, and soon opened up a factory to produce mass quantities of this novelty candy. In 1866, Oliver’s brother, Daniel, had the idea to print cheeky sayings on the candy. Since the candy grew in popularity for weddings, the sayings included: “Married in White, you have chosen right” and “Married in Pink, he will take a drink.” This type of candy only became more ubiquitous in weddings, and it eventually evolved into the heart-shaped candy we all know and love.
What’s really interesting is the fact that the Chase Brothers didn’t just make candy hearts. In the early days of their candy production business, they produced lozenges, horseshoes, watches, baseballs…even postcard candy! Even though they were originally pastel candy hearts, they have since changed their recipe, making them easier to chew and much more vibrant. These aren’t the only changes that have been made to Conversation Hearts. In the 1990s, Necco, the company that now owns the hearts, wanted to update some of the sayings and retire some of the dated ones. Necco accepts suggestions each year for new sayings, a tradition that continues to this day.