Modern Brands

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Oh Bob- not just for girlies! I must send you some for Friday! And while we are at it- Hershey kisses are ALSO Gilded Age goodies. Dear old Milton Hershey of the Chocolate Empire in Pennsylvania, invented the KISS in 1907. These were so named due to the kissing sound made when the machine extruded the chocolate on the conveyor belt. Then the morsels past through a cooling tunnel for 18 minutes before being wrapped in aluminum foil. Purists will go for the original silver foil although colored holiday foils recently have boosted sales. The familiar Hershey "plume" on top was patented in 1924 and the total image not patented until 1976. Hershey also made a vanilla-flavored chocolate treat with a heart on the base back in 1900-1918 called "Sweethearts" and another similar product called "Silverpoints" in 1918-1929. The only time Hershey's shut down production was for the war effort from 1942-49 due to the country's need for metal foil. Twelve BILLION kisses are made annually in Pennsylvania and Oakdale California. Almonds appeared inside in 1990 and the new "Hugs"-white chocolate kisses came out in 1993.
Less romantically, when I'm researching, I keep finding ads for Harley Davidson motorbikes. They brag about the extra travel in the seat springs. Real high tech!

I remember what called conversation lollies in Oz. I'll see if they are still around. I think they came in different shapes.
Dave, most American vehicles of the period had extra travel in the seat springs. Some researchers believe this to be a modification made necessary by the huge success of Hershey chocolate products. Others put it down to the effectiveness of the 'love hearts'.
Shelley, thanks for the kind offer of a food parcel, even though it's for girlies. :) In return I'll send you a stick of Whitby rock. Do you know about seaside 'rock', or is that a peculiarly British treat unknown in the Colonies?
Fascinating link above that was Bob. I believe the Brit version is somewhat different than the American one. Shops here in the states seem to call rock that crystalline clear sugar stuff. Sometimes tinted, usually on a lolly stick- this is what I have thought of as rock candy. It has been around in Persia since the 1200's, even Shakespeare chimes in, in 1596, in Henry IV about the therapeutic qualities of rock candy to soothe the throats of long-winded talkers. The oldest candy company in America opened in 1806 in Salem Massachusets-I visit there often and enjoy their oldest running product, Gibralters, peppermint or lemon flavor, which were popular with seamen. Called the Old Pepper Candy Company, it was actually started by an Englishwoman named Spencer who was shipwrecked off the coast and started her American candy venture from a wheelbarrow in the streets of Salem. The store passed on to Mr. Pepper and you can read all about it at
Whitby Rock? Forgot to ask what that is- Whitby is my most favorite spot on the planet and I am an avid jet collector. Whitby also has quite a collection of shipwrecks off the jagged coast and one of the most heroic lifesaving squads ever. I remember seeing the monument to them at St. Mary's up on the cliffs near the Abbey. Recently Whitby was featured in the Gwen Paltrow movie POSSESSION (a nice Gilded Age film) and is also featured in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The film version with Frank Langella is the only one to actually film in Whitby which follows the novel. I learned all about Whitby parkin too- which seems awfully like gingerbread Old Beans!
Shelley, that site should carry a public health warning - I've put on weight just reading it. Take no notice of the statement on my link that seaside rock is sold in a bag. The only authentic form is the 'stick of rock', about a foot long, sealed in cellophane with a twist at each end. Usually also a crudely-printed photo of the seaside pier for the town in question is slipped between the wrapper and the rock. And to understand how it's made by hand you have to WATCH the process; words cannot do justice.
And of course Whitby gave us Captain Cook and his ship, the Endeavour, was a Whitby collier. (No, that's not OUR Cook - but rumour has it they were father and son. Not sure which one was the father).
Shelley, I'm sure you are familiar with the photographic study of Whitby folk made by Frank Sutcliffe in the nineteenth century. Anybody who isn't can see some of his pictures here:

Includes a superb portrait of Henry Freeman, only survivor of the 13-man crew of the Whitby lifeboat following a disastrous rescue attempt in 1861 - that's the story behind the monument.

Hope we're not wandering too far off topic - I've heard the moderator round here is a real hardcase, but the magic word is Whitby!
Further research shows that conversation lollies are still made in Australia. I'll see if I can find any.

In Cambridge Mass somebody is making a modern version with messages for the computer age, like "e-mail me".

I know the candy sticks with the name in the centre as Blackpool Rock. Whether it originated there is another thing. Today it's made in many places.

One curiosity I spotted in my researches was a special Gillette razor for women. They appeared soon after the original version for men. Apparently sleeveless dresses were becoming fashionable. No doubt Randy can give the story.
Bob, you're obviously on to my taste for silly songs. My "taste" runs to extremes. I can sing you Winterreise or The Bastard King of England
A fine repertoire, Dave, and a testament to the diversity of a Sunday School education. Try that link again and hit the 'previous' button for another George Formby classic.
Gillette introduced the ladies' shaver in 1915. In centuries past courtesans found various means to remove unsightly hair from straight razors to clam shells. It would seem that some countries have different standards of beauty and hairy-ness is actually desirable in some Mediterranean countries. Gillette 's motive was purely profit-driven. The advent of short skirts and sleeveless dresses in the 20's was a great incentive to "smoothe away unwanted hair." Loved the Blackpool Rock poem!
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