Who Invented the Tootsie Pop

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How many licks does it take you to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? It’s a question that has long been asked and scientific studies have even been conducted on the answer, but the truth is that no one really knows for sure. These hard candy lollipops that have a Tootsie Roll chocolate candy at their center were invented initially by Luke Weisgram, who worked for The Sweets Company of America. You might know the company better by its current name, Tootsie Roll Industries.

At one point, 20 million Tootsie Pops were being produced every day for sale by this company. The Tootsie Roll, which was invented in 1896, has a unique story by itself before it ever became part of the center of a delicious lollipop.

Who Invented the Tootsie Roll?

Credit for the recipe of the Tootsie Roll goes to Leo Hirschfeld, who was an Austrian immigrant who had a love for candy. The first Tootsie Rolls began being produced in 1896 and by 1917 they were a commercial hit. Yet in the 20 years between, there’s a company called Stern and Sallberg who produced them during the meantime. There’s a story that Hirschfeld had created the candy out of his own store, but according to documents from the time, he is actually listed as an employee of a candy manufacturer.

Hirschfeld applied for several patents in the candy making process so that the Tootsie Rolls would have their distinctive texture and flavor. He started seeing success, brought new candy over to his own company, but couldn’t see it through. His wife was ill, he had a problem with his stomach, and so Hirschfeld decided to take his own life.

Eventually that led to a meeting at The Sweets Company where new products were being dreamed up. Weisgram thought about putting the Tootsie Roll into the center of a lollipop and the rest is history.

How Did Weisgram Come Up With the Idea?

As the story goes, Weisgram was sitting in the meeting, chewing on a Tootsie Roll. He had the memory that a few days before, his daughter Clara had offered to share a lick of her lollipop with him. The idea occurred that the two candies should be combined, the executives at the meeting loved the idea, and Tootsie Pops were born.

There have been some rumors over the years that certain candy wrappers can be redeemed for prizes. Some candy stores would offer a free Tootsie Pop to kids who return a wrapper that had three unbroken circles on it, while others would offer a free candy to those with a wrapper which had a star and a Native American on it. Since 1982, the Tootsie Company has sent out a short story to those who mail in their wrappers.

Tootsie Pops are a wonderful candy and many have enjoyed them over the years. Only one question really remains: how many licks will it take to get you to get to the center of your next one?

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