The History of PEZ
PEZ Candy was invented in Vienna, Austria by Eduard Haas III as an alternative to smoking. The name PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint, “PfeffErminZ” taking the P from the first letter, E from the middle and Z from the last letter to form the word PEZ. In 1952, PEZ came to the United States. In 1973, PEZ builds the first candy manufacturing facility in Orange, CT. In 2011, PEZ opened the PEZ Visitor Center! Checkout our complete history by decade below!
The creation of a particularly fine peppermint candy in 1927 by Eduard Haas III in Austria marks the birth of PEZ. Originally introduced in small tins, the refreshing candy proved extremely popular. The name PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint, "Pfefferminz" taking the P from the first letter, E from the middle letter and Z from the last letter to form the now iconic brand name PEZ. The original shape of PEZ candy was round and called 'PEZ drops.' The candy quickly changed to the familiar brick shape we still manufacture today.
1930's & 1940's
In 1935 a new PEZ candy factory is built in Czechoslovakia to manufacture the candy on a larger scale. In 1948 the compressed sugar tablets are sold in small pocket sized tins until inventor Oscar Uxa patents a small mechanical box for dispensing the tablets. In 1949 the first dispenser is officially introduced at the Vienna Trade Fair. The original dispenser held the same number of tablets (12) as today!
PEZ starts U.S. operations in 1952 establishing in New York City. All goods sold, however are imported from Europe and distributed throughout North America. On December 2, 1952, PEZ is awarded the first U.S. patent number for a dispenser: 2.620.061.
In 1956, PEZ introduces an innovated dispenser called the space gun. 1957, PEZ adds a three dimensional character head to the top of a dispenser. The Halloween Witch becomes the first traditional character head dispenser in 1957, while Popeye adds to the variety as the first licensed character in 1958.
During the 1960's, PEZ continues to bring a new dimension to the dispenser base with sticker and die-cuts. PEZ showcases some rare and unusual candy flavors, such as Licorice, Flowers, and Chlorophyll.
PEZ Pals are introduced. The PEZ Boy is designed as a detective who dresses up in disguises to solve mysteries. With these various disguises he becomes different characters such as Policeman, Knight, Sheikh, and Doctor. These character are shown in the PEZ Comics inserts that came packaged with the dispensers.
In 1973 PEZ in the US grows to the point that, in addition to distribution, the company begins to manufacture the candy domestically. PEZ breaks ground on a new warehouse and manufacturing facility in Orange, Connecticut on November 19, 1973. In 1978 PEZ introduces interchangeable rubber head character dispensers.
In 1984 Europe adds small tabs to the bottom of the dispenser base to help it stand upright. This feature is introduced in the United States in 1987. These tabs are referred to in the collector community as 'feet' and help determine year and value of vintage dispensers.
As PEZ collecting grows in popularity during the early 1990s, the first ever PEZ collector convention is held in Mentor, Ohio on June 15, 1991. Collectors from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan help make PEZ an international phenomenon.
In 1993 Forbes Magazine features PEZ on its cover and the prestigious Christie's auction house in New York holds the first ever pop culture auction featuring PEZ.
In mid 90's PEZ reintroduces two popular products - peppermint flavored candy and the 'regular' PEZ dispenser. The Tweety Bird PEZ Dispenser was featured on an episode of the popular Seinfeld television show.
In 2000 PEZ introduces Fuzzy Friends, the first plush dispenser. The early 2000s also brought General Mills PEZ dispensers and candy as premium giveaways with the purchase of selected cereals.
In 2005 PEZ releases the Star Wars Collectors Set. This was the first PEZ limited edition set. In 2006 PEZ releases dispensers featuring Orange County Choppers family the Teutuls. This is the first time that PEZ features living people on its dispensers.
In 2007 PEZ celebrates its 80th Anniversary with the launch of a Disney Mickey Mouse collectible tin.
In 2011 the PEZ Visitor Center was opened in Orange, CT. PEZ continues to be enjoyed by generations of Americans. Today, billions of PEZ candies are consumed annually in the U.S.A. alone. With great tasting candy flavors and collectible dispensers, it's more than just candy. PEZ is the candy with character! PEZ is enjoyable to eat, fun to collect and a staple of American culture. Available around the world in more than 90 countries, PEZ candy and dispensers truly have universal appeal! Check out the latest PEZ in our online store!