Posted in Holidays, Monday Morsels

Monday Morsels: Origins of Candy Corn

candy cornThere is one Halloween candy that is more divisive than politics and religion, the American Civil War, or even Coke vs. Pepsi…Candy Corn. Ask the average trick-or-treaters on your neighborhood streets about their feelings toward candy corn and you will most assuredly have half that praise it’s honey-flavored goodness and half that refer to it as tri-colored ear wax.  Whether you are pro-candy corn or in the dissenting minority, the candy has a pretty interesting history. Would you like to hear it? I knew you’d say “yes, please!”

George Renniger, a candy-maker, worked at the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1880s, Renniger invented a candy made of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavoring, and marshmallow creme. Ingredients were cooked in large kettles until it took on a slurry-like consistency. The slurry was then transferred into buckets and transported to the kernel-shaping molds. Workers walked backwards pouring the hot slurry into kernel-shaped molds, coated with cornstarch to prevent sticking as it cooled. Workers made three passes over the molds, each time with a different color of slurry all to achieve an authentic corn kernel-like appearance. The molding process was quite extensive and strenuous, considering neither air-conditioners nor electric fans had yet been invented. Like most foodstuffs of the times, candy corn was sold in bulk. It was packed in wooden barrels, buckets, or cartons and delivered by wagon or train to general stores within short distances.

In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company’s Ohio factory began producing their variation of candy corn and boasts the longest history of making the candy in the industry. Candy corn became so successful for the company that it sustained them through World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. You might not know the name “Goelitz Confectionery Company” today but the company still exists and still manufactures enough candy to circle the earth more than five times over…you may know them as Jelly Belly.

Fun Facts about Candy Corn

  • Candy corn is one of the healthier Halloween candies:
    • Candy corn is fat-free
    • One kernel is just over 4 calories
    • A one ounce serving is 110 calories
  • Roughly 9 billion kernels of candy corn are sold each year.
  • Candy corn hasn’t always been corn-shaped. In the 19th-century, candy-makers created these fondant-based candies in shapes of chestnuts, clover leaves, and turnips.
  • When Goelitz first created candy corn, they called it “chicken feed” and the boxes were illustrated with a rooster and the slogan “something worth crowing for.”

For more odd Halloween trivia, Halloween-themed books and DVDs,

or to sample some candy corn, drop by the HCC Library.

Bibliography:

Broek, Sara. “The history of candy corn: a Halloween candy favorite.” Better Homes and Gardens http://www.bhg.com 2014.

“Candy corn by the makers of Jelly Belly.” JellyBelly.com 2014.

Prokop, Jessica. “The surprising history of candy corn.” CandyFavorites.com 2012.

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Posted in Holidays, Something to Think About

Constitution Day Fun Facts!

US ConstitutionIf you are reading this on September 17: HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!

Are you now wondering why and how we have a national holiday surrounding the U.S. Constitution? If so, you’re in luck! Read on for some interesting historical tidbits and fun facts about Constitution Day.

Constitution Day commemorates the creation and signing of the U.S. Constitution back in 1787.  The Constitution was actually written in 1787, ratified (or officially agreed upon) in 1788, formally governing in 1789, and is the longest surviving written charter of government in the world.  In 1956, Congress established Constitution Week to encourage more Americans to learn about the Constitution and to commemorate the drafting of and signing of this foundational document.  September 17 was not officially designated “Constitution Day” until 2004 when Robert C. Byrd,a Senator from West Virgina, added the designation to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005.  The Constitution Day provision requires public schools and governmental offices to offer educational programs and/or events that provide a better understanding of the Constitution.

Fun Facts about Constitution Day

2004: year Constitution Day was established

2012: 225th anniversary of the Constitution

4543: number of words in the original, signed, unamended Constitution

11000 (as of 2012): number of amendments introduced in Congress

27: number of Constitutional Amendments

September 17, 1787: date of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4: number of months in length of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

9: number of 13 original states required to ratify the Constitution

70: number of delegates who were appointed to the Constitutional Convention

55: number of delegates who actually attended the Constitutional Convention

81: age of the oldest signer of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin

26: age of the youngest signer of the Constitution, Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey

39: number of delegates who signed the Constitution

3: number of delegates who did not sign the Constitution

  • George Mason, did not believe the Constitution established a “wise and just government” as it omitted the Bill of Rights
  • Elbridge Gerry, decided to become an ardent Federalist and also opposed the creation of the office of Vice President
  • Edmond Randolph, supported the Constitution during Virginia’s ratification when promised the position of Attorney General under George Washington’s administration
Posted in Monday Morsels

Monday Morsels: Liquid Paper

This Monday’s morsal moresel morsel gives a nod to a litle little office helper that got it’s its start back in the 1950s: Liquid Paper.

Bette Nesmith Graham, an executive secretary at Dallas Bank and Trust, desperately needed a better way to correct typing errors.  Having never attended secretarial school, Graham struggled daily with typos and corrections…even more so when IBM introduced their new electric typewriter with carbon film ribbons.  While these machines certainly made the daunting tasks of correspondences and memos easier for secretaries nationwide, making corrections seemed near impossible due to the messy nature of the new carbon film ribbons.  After watching an artist paint over his mistakes while decorating the bank’s front windows for Christmas, Graham developed the idea to paint over her typing mistakes.

Mimicking the artists’ techniques, Graham concocted a mixture of a white, water-based paint thin enough to paint over her typos but thick enough to cover the mistakes.  She even managed to experiment with the paint mixture to match the exact shade of stationery.  Once news spread of Graham’s correction fluid, other bank secretaries were willing to pay for bottles of her invention…eventually leading to Mistake Out in 1956.  Once demand and production of Mistake Out outgrew her small home kitchen and garage, Graham patented her invention and officially named it Liquid Paper.

In 1958 when a serious typing mistake led to her termination from the bank, Graham began manufacturing, bottling, and selling Liquid Paper full-time.  Thanks to a description in the office trade magazine The Office  and a review of her product in the magazine The Secretary, Graham sold her first major order to General Electric Company for 400+ bottles.

The interesting history of Liquid Paper and Bette Nesmith Graham doesn’t end here!

(did you know that Bette’s son Michael Nesmith was a member of the ’60s group The Monkees!?!?)

For more information on this, or to check out other awesome resources,

feel free to stop by the library.

Bibliography:

Derks, Scott. Working Americans 1880-2010 Volume XI: Inventors & Entrepreneurs.  Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing, Inc.; 2010,  339-402.

“History” Liquid Paper. http://www.liquidpaper.com/about_us.html (accessed October 7, 2011)

“Liquid Paper”  Lemelson-MIT PRogram. http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/nesmith.html (accessed October 7, 2011)