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The most popular sweets throughout the 1900s

13/01/2018 12:52

Sweets are nostalgic! They are not only loved for their vibrant colours and great taste now, they are also adored my many for sparking memories and nostalgia from childhood.

The 1900s saw the introduction of many different kinds of sweets. From Wine Gums, to Gobstoppers to boiled sweets and more, there are many sweets that were born in the 1900s and stuck around!

Many of these fantastic sweets we still sell at Appleton Sweets. Although many sweets were around in the 1800s, for example, the first packaged box of Whitman’s chocolate was released in 1854 and William Wrigley Jr. introduced the first Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum and Wrigley’s Spearmint Chewing Gum in 1893, in our blog this week we’re focusing on the 1900s, since this is where the sweet industry started to fly higher than it ever had before.

From peanut bars to space-themed packaging, let’s take a trip back to the 1900s and look at the invention of some of our favourite sweets:


We’re starting way back at the beginning of the 1900s when even some of our great, great grandparents were still children, and considering the sweeties they would have enjoyed at the time when they attended school.

In the 1900s and 1910s, many sweets were invented and here are some of the most popular ones:

Conversation Hearts (1902)

A hugely popular Valentine’s Day sweet, the very start of the Love Heart as we know it started in 1902 with the Conversation Heart from The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO).

Toblerone (1908)

A go-to present for Christmas stocking fillers and more, Toblerones are often a fail-safe for anyone who loves chocolate and nougat. Loved for their unique shape and luxurious taste, the Toblerone was created by Theodor Tobler and his cousin Emil Baumann and features supreme Swiss Milk chocolate, nougat and honey.

Wine Gums (1909)

Although the ‘Maynard’ company was established in 1896, the introduction of the Wine Gum itself occurred in 1909.

Wine Gums were introduced by Charles Gordon Maynard who had to persuade his father (who was a Methodist and did not drink alcohol) that the sweets didn’t contain wine!

Jelly Babies (1918)

Although Jelly Babies were actually released in 1953 as ‘Jelly Babies” they were around in 1918 and earlier.

In fact, Jelly Babies were first produced in Lancashire in 1864 by an Austrian confectioner who worked for the Fryers of Lancashire. The sweets he produced were given the name “unclaimed babies”.

It is next believed that the ‘unclaimed babies’ were given the name of ‘peace babies’ and were produced by the Bassett’s of Sheffield in 1918. They were given the name of peace babies so to mark the end of World War One.

However, due to war shortages in World War II, production of the sweets was ceased and it wasn’t until 1953 that Jelly Babies were relaunched and when their popularity finally soared.

Also, it is rumoured that each Bassett’s jelly baby has its own name and shape, colour and flavour. These are as follows: Brilliant (red, strawberry), Bubbles (yellow, lemon), Baby Bonny (pink, raspberry), Boofuls (green, lime), Bigheart (purple, blackcurrant) and Bumper (orange).


The list of sweets introduced in the 20th century kept on growing and introduced us to some of the most popular sweets we have today. 

While the names and sweet production company may have changed slightly, the flavours and make-up behind the sweets remain very similar to how the sweets were first made.

Here are a few sweets made in the 1920s to 1950s:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (1928)

H.B Reese made his first peanut butter candy, coated with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in 1922. We now, of course, know this chocolate as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and they were marketed way back in 1928!

Black Jacks (1920s)

A Black Jack is a big sweet of the 1920s and was created by Bassetts Trebor (Bassetts has now rebranded to become CandyLand).

The original Black Jack packaging had a picture of Gollywogs on it.

Snickers Bar (1930)

Another nutty delight, Mars introduced the Snickers Bar in 1930 and it was, apparently named after the Mars family’s horse!

It was marketed under the name “Marathon” in the UK until 1990.

Extra Strong Mint (1935)

The Trebor Extra Strong Mint came to the market in 1935, around the outbreak of World War One. A sweet apparently popular with horses, Trebor sold their brand to Cadbury in 1989, however, Extra Strong Mints exist, as they always did, in the present day.

Fizzy Cola Bottles (1930s)

One of Britain’s top choice of Pick ‘n’ Mix sweets, the Fizzy Cola Bottle has been around since the 1930s. A classic sweet that we simply couldn’t be without, there are now all sorts of variations of the fizzy cola bottle, including: Blue and pink fizzy cola bottles, large fizzy cola bottles, cherry cola bottles and more!

Polo Mint (1948)

The polo mint was first manufactured in 1948 and has remained popular ever since! It was devised by Rowntree and the name came from ‘Polar’ and reference to the arctic and refreshing mint taste.

Kit Kat (1949)

Although the Kit Kat had been around since the 1920s, and was named Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp in 1937, the name ‘Kit Kat’ was officially adopted for the Kit Kat in 1949.


Munchies (1957)

Now produced by Nestle and a firm favourite chocolate and caramel treat, Munchies were first launched by Mackintosh’s in 1957. Munchies were taken over by Nestle in 1988 when the company bought out Rowntree Mackintosh.

Starburst (1960)

Launched first of all as Opal Fruits in 1960, Starburst are still a popular sweet to this day and come in a variety of flavours, including: Strawberry, Lemon, Orange and Lime (which were the original flavours!).

Chewits (1965)

Chewits have been sold in the UK since 1965 and have since become popular on an international level.

The original flavours were Strawberry, Blackcurrant, Orange and Banana, however, the range of flavours has increased over the years.

Twix (1967)

First produced in the UK in 1967 and introduced to the US in 1979, Twix is a chocolate bar containing Mars biscuit.


In the 1970s, sweeties with a space theme were more popular than ever! Think the Wham bar and flying saucers just to start!

At Appleton Sweets, we sell a variety of retro sweets that are a popular addition to any confectionary store.

From Anglo Bubbly to hard boiled sweets, you’ll find them all in our range of retro sweets.

A couple of popular sweets from the late 90s are as follows:


Lemon or strawberry? They’re both fantastic! Whichever flavour is your favourite, Refreshers came into popularity in the late 20th century and is definitely a sweetie for the present day Pick ‘n’ Mix bag!

Millions (1990)

Millions, from Golden Casket, are a fun sweet, produced in 1990. Available in various flavours, they’re show-stopping, flavour popping, popular sweets of the present!

Discover more show-stopping sweets on our website at Appleton Sweets.

Posted By Matt Appleton
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