Thursday, July 30, 2015

Uncle Sam and Cigars: Puffing on Patriotism

Sex sells, but so does patriotism.  Before the U.S. Surgeon General warned us all about the dangers of smoking, cigar manufacturers had recognized that symbols of patriotism could be a powerful influence on the stogie aficionados of America.  Uncle Sam, who regularly was showing up on liquor and beer advertising, was a natural icon for displaying on the cigar box lids and advertising.

The lid of a National cigar box above is particularly intriguing.  The bearded figure shown in the top hat, blue jacket and red striped trousers is a bit young for Uncle Sam and may be his predecessor, a character called “Brother Jonathan” that once epitomized the U.S.  Sitting jauntily on a hogshead of tobacco he is surrounded by two female symbols of “liberty.”  Just the name of the brand —National — bespeaks a patriotic appeal.  The cigars were the product of the Chas. Fellman Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Spanish American War was a time of considerable patriotic fervor in the country.  It also marked an era of expansionism.  The Boener Bros. of Lawrence, Kansas, offered Americans a new cigar, possibly a more bulbous version.  By calling it “My New Shape” and featuring an obese Uncle Sam it brought attention to the quick defeat of the Spanish and the potential for adding Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines to an American empire.   In the end, of course, only Puerto Rico and the Philippines (for a time) were kept.
The Spanish-American War also set the patriotic theme of “Victorias” Cigar — possibly a takeoff of “Victorious.” This was a product of the G. B. Sprague Cigar Company of Columbus, Ohio, probably manufactured around 1899.  It featured Sam with portraits of two Navy admirals designated, “Our Leaders.”  The portrait at left is Admiral George Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay for sinking the Spanish fleet at its anchorage there.  At right is William Thomson Sampson known for his victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.
“Our Uncle” Cigars strike a patriotic pose, this time showing Uncle Sam among two symbols of Washington, D.C., the U.S. Capitol building and the Washington Monument.  More interesting is the backdrop inside the bower behind the old gentleman.  It displays palm trees, mountains and what appears to be a factory in a Latin American Country.  This may be Cuba with the inference of where Our Uncle gets his tobacco.
The next cigar box lid leaves nothing to the imagination.  It shows Uncle Sam enjoying a “Yankee Smoke” cigar posed in front of a map of Cuba.  Again the name of the stogie and Uncle Sam smoking it in triumph, rampant on a map of a country recently wrested from Spanish control, bespeaks the strong tide of expansionism that swept the country during and after the Spanish-American conflict.

The most elegant portrait of the old gentleman came from a cigar manufacturer in Richmond, Virginia.  He was a German immigrant named Peter Whitlock who served with the Confederate Army in the Quartermaster Corps making uniforms.  After the war he began with a small cigar rolling shop and with success by 1885 was employing 70 rollers and 30 support people.   In 1886 Whitlock completed construction of the giant “P. Whitlock Cheroot and Cigar Factory” and introduced the smokes that Uncle Sam recommended.   They were called “Old Virginia Cheroots, sold three for five cents, and reportedly were a national favorite for more than a half century.  The picture of Uncle Sam was one of five large posters offered as premiums by the company.

Perhaps the ultimate in the kidnapping of the Uncle Sam image by the cigar trade was a line of the product that called itself “Uncle Sam Cigars.”   It was fully in the patriotism mode, with the American bald eagle and national shield flanking the stogie smoking Sam.  I read an imperial expansion theme in it as the figure drops his cigars over a cloud-shrouded globe.  A second lid, shown below, advertising the same brand sounds the same theme.  Uncle Sam is looking toward a navy ship, speeding fast and two guns aimed forward.  Perhaps this Sam “needs no introduction” because military power is opening foreign markets for U.S. manufactures like cigars.  

The figure in front of a flowing American flag is advertising “Uncle Sam’s Cigar,” likely a competitor to the cigar above.  This stogie was sold with the slogan “The Nation’s Choice.”  The motto must have had a signal amount of cachet; it was used, with variations on the wording, by a number of cigar manufacturers.  Against the backdrop of two patriotic props, the use of the word “nation” was not accidental.  As other illustrations here, it signaled an energetic patriotism as a marketing ploy.   

With the introduction of Uncle Sam as the most pervasive symbol of America, appearing frequently in newspapers and magazines both at home and abroad, perhaps it was inevitable that the image would be purloined for commercial purposes.   Although large parts of the American population considered smoking and drinking alcohol immoral, the general public apparently did not sense that such commercial uses would inappropriate or that some products tarnished the image of Uncle Sam.
“Uncle Sam’s Delight” featured the American icon in a highly unusual pose, lying on his back under a tree with an American eagle perched on one knee.  He is smoking a cigar longer than his midriff, a large ash on the end.  This image was meant to convey that Uncle Sam’s Delight cigars were unusually long — some seven inches.  They came in an oversized box of 50 made by the Old Well Cigar Company of Norwalk, Connecticut.  This manufacturer had been founded in 1880 by Christian Swartz, a German immigrant, Union solder, tobacco shop owner, and later Mayor of Norwalk.
Another cigar co-opting the name was “Uncle Sam’s Hot Shots” that showed the stogie rather than Sam but added in the usual patriotic symbols of the American flag and shield.  When issued about 1903 it was the product of the American Stogie Company of Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  A popular brand, it seems later to have been taken over by the P. Lorillard Company of New York.

The era of identifying Uncle Sam with cigars seemingly arose after the Civil War and, judging from the examples here, hit full stride during and after the Spanish-American war.  As the 20th Century wore on, however, the use of the figure to sell tobacco products diminish sharply and by the onset of World War One seems largely to have disappeared.  Today, of course, using Uncle Sam to promote tobacco products would be almost unthinkable.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Vintage Vermifuge: A Wormy Idea

 When my mother was a little girl growing up on an Ohio farm, the lore among her playmates was that if you thought you had a tapeworm the remedy was to swallow one watermelon seed a day for 12 days and on the 12th day the tapeworm would be expelled.   My mother several times ate a watermelon seed for 11 days but could never bring herself to swallow the 12th, fearing what might emerge.  For others a “vermifuge” was the answer.
Rural children, especially those in the South, who were going barefoot or eating bad meat,  were plagued with intestinal parasites.  It is estimated that after the Civil War,  half of Southern children had hookworm.   Against this plague, a wide array of remedies, called “vermifuges” were produced by patent medicine firms.  Dozens of those products aimed at expelling worms, many containing in excess of 10% alcohol, were advertised widely and bought by anxious parents.

One of the earliest peddlers was B. L. Fahnestock of Pittsburgh.  Just when this gentleman, shown on a trade card, began his quack medicine enterprise is not clear but his was among the drug houses listed in Pittsburgh in 1829.  By the time this ad for his vermifuge was issued he had been in business almost 30 years.   One worm-fighting concoction bearing the Fahnestock name had the such ingredients as tincture of myrrh, oils of wormwood and anise, croton oil (a laxative), and turpentine.  
Another early vermifuge was from the E & S Frey Company of Baltimore.  Beginning about the same time as Fahnestock, its ads called upon parents to watch for symptoms in their children.  Those included gritting of teeth, nose picking, and upset stomach.  “Rid your child’s body of these ruinous parasites,” it implored.    If its trade cards are to be believed E & S Frey did business for more than half a century.

The verisimilitude of the vermifuge pitches apparently was believed to be enhanced if they came from a “doctor.”  One of the most inventive in his advertising approach was “Dr. D. Jayne.”  Born David Jayne in Philadelphia about 1798, the this nostrum peddler spent most of his life in Philadelphia concocting cures. 

Jayne was responsible for one of the most intriguing ads for a worm-killer to be circulated.  It shows a young woman in Middle Eastern dress with a blonde baby who gazes directly out at the viewer.  Could this be a depiction of the Madonna and Child?  But no.  Look closer, the baby is in a wicker basket.  This is the child Moses and his mother after he has been found in the bulrushes of the Nile River by the Pharaoh’s daughter, as per the Biblical story.  Shown left, the discovery scene was caught on a trade card issued by the Jayne firm.  
What Dr. Jayne put into this elixir is not clear, but he recommended it as a “family remedy” for both adults and children.   “It will remove dyspepsia and restore tone to the Stomach and is a certain destroyer of Worms.”  Other fraudulent advertising warned about the horrors of worms in a child, noting that they produce “…such irritation and debility as will surely break down the constitution, if the cause is not removed may bring on St. Vitas Dance or  Convulsions and render its after life a burden.”  To save your child, Dr. Jayne’s was the answer.

Dr. H. F. Peery was another huckster who featured a vermifuge.  Shown here is one of his medicine bottles.  He called his potion “Dead Shot,” and claimed that it was “…capable, from the promptitude of its action, of clearing the system in a few hours of every worm.”   Dr. Richard Cannon, the guru of patent medicines, has speculated that this approach appealed to consumers who sought quick action.  Whether it worked was another matter.
The label of Dr. C.M. McLane’s “Celebrated American Worm Specific or Vermifuge”  from a Pittsburgh drug firm named Fleming Bros. raises economic questions.  It advertised a one-half ounce bottle for 25 cents.  While that might not sound like much, at the time the average worker made only about $1.00 a day.  This would be about a quarter of a day’s pay for a very small amount of the remedy but nonetheless a financial sacrifice for some poor families.
In order to make the purchase seem worthwhile, Dr. McLane and other resorted to attractive trade cards with cautionary tales on the back.  The one shown here has a testimonial from a “John Piper” who cheerfully notes that after giving Dr. McLanes’s Vermifuge to his children “Charley passed forty-five and Johnny about sixty worms.” 

To complete this lineup of worm-killers is a bottle from the Van Vleet-Mansfield Drug Company of Memphis that also sold an extensive line of liquors.  It might have held the product that the firm called “Sweet’s Honey Vermifuge,” advertising it as a “perfectly harmless” preparation for children. Under the 1906 Food and Drug Act, however, Van Vleet-Mansfield were convicted of a patent medicine fraud in 1912. 

Although the name gave the impression that there was honey in the product, none could be found by U.S. Bureau of Chemistry.  Instead the ingredients were alcohol, senna (herb laxative), Epson’s salts, table salt, sugar, coloring and santonin (a poison).   As reported by the American Medical Association:  “The stuff was misbranded because of false and misleading statements regarding the quantity of alcohol, it contained no honey, and any preparation containing santonin is not “perfectly harmless” to children. “  Van Vleet-Mansfield pled guilty and was fined $10, a mere slap on the wrist.

In summary, it appears that my farm girl mother and her companions were wise to choose the watermelon seed worm cure.  It likely was just as effective as many of the vermifuges being sold, definitely safer, and certainly a lot cheaper — even if my mother could never swallow that twelfth seed.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Confederate Flag and “The Splendid Valor”


Although for some time I have been planning a post on the souvenirs of Southern Civil War veterans,  the current controversy over the display of the Confederate battle flag has impelled me to bring an article forward now.  I spent more than two years transcribing into a computer the hand-written diary of a Confederate infantryman who recorded his thoughts every day for the five years of the war, an activity that has given me a new appreciation of that era in our national history.

Of particular interest to me — and illustrated here — are the artifacts that have been left to posterity by the Confederate veterans organizations from their multiple reunions after the war.   An earlier post here [January 2014] provided images of souvenirs issued by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the Northern Civil War veterans organization.

Unlike the GAR, a national organization formed almost immediately after the conflict, the Southern veterans initially grouped on a fractionalized basis, locally or on a state level.  For years there was no single national organization representing their interests.   This is understandable, given the low morale that must have followed soldiers home after Appomattox and the state-centered nature of the Confederacy.  One of the earliest Southern veteran’s organization, for example, was the Oglethorpe Light Infantry Association in Savannah, Georgia, formed in 1865.  The 1870s and 1880s saw a proliferation of local units throughout the South.
It was not until June 1889, twenty-four years from the end of hostilities, that efforts succeeded to create an all-Dixie organization.   Founded in New Orleans, the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) sought to unify the many separate veterans’ groups scattered across the former Confederate states into one larger regional body.  It succeeded and grew rapidly throughout the 1890s culminating in its 1898 reunion when 1,555 local “encampments” were recorded at its 1898 reunion.  Eventually 160,000 former Confederate soldiers were organized into 1,885 individual camps.

The UCV, devoted to social, charitable and memorial functions, divided itself into two groups based on the division of the Confederate forces into the Army of Virginia and the Army of Tennessee.  Shown above is a souvenir ribbon from a reunion of the latter’s  Louisiana Division held in New Orleans in April of 1895.  Note that it carries prominently the Confederate battle flag, as do other other souvenir items shown here.  The UCV national hymn, “God Save the South!”  similarly featured the battle flag on its cover.
Not all UCV souvenir items, however, were flag oriented.  Shown below are a ceramic jug from the 15th annual reunion of the UCV in June 1905 and a watch fob from a 1910 reunion in Virginia.  By that year, the membership was dwindling as the veterans aged and died.  The last UCV reunion, its 60th, was in 1950 when only one member, the 98-year-old leader, could attend.  A U.S. postage stamp was issued the next year to commemorate the organization.  Note that the stamp has no flag, just an hourglass indicating the passage of time.
While the Confederate flag was conspicuous in much the UCV did, it is instructive to repeat a statement that appeared in the program for its 1907 reunion, held in Richmond, Virginia:  “Here where once sat its Confederate Congress, stands side by side the Stars and Bars of the “Lost Cause” with the Stars and Stripes, which no section has done more to upbuild and uphold than the South.   Everywhere is seen the American flag side by side with the Confederate, and it is this spirit which prevails among the Veterans and which will pervade the reunion.”  Note the souvenir from a 1897 UCV reunion that displays both flags.

Another signal event was the 1913 Gettysburg Reunion, a June-July gathering of 53,407 veterans.  All honorably discharged veterans of both North and South were invited and many responded from both sides.  Despite concerns that there might be conflict between Blue and Gray, a peaceful reunion was reported to have been “marked by events of Union-Confederate camaraderie.”  President Woodrow Wilson gave the July 4 reunion address that summarized the spirit:  “We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgotten — except that we shall not forget the splendid valor.”
Fast forward to today.  In the present a young man, who in photos wrapped himself in the Confederate flag, murdered nine people in a Charleston church.  Why has the amity shown at the Gettysburg Reunion gone so awry?  The answer lies in the groups that have made it their business to put the Confederate flag in public places, on license plates and in other venues.  As a sign of what?  The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) says it is to elicit Southern pride.  The Southern Poverty Law Center on its website, however, provides a long list of SCV officers at both national and state levels who are, or recently have been, members of what it lists as “hate groups.”  Unfortunately, the haters seem to have captured the flag and made it a symbol of resistance to equal rights.
The soldier mentioned in the first paragraph here was from the 17th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  Shown right, its battle flag was dominated by the traditional  “Stars and Bars.”  That flag currently resides in a museum in Alexandria Virginia, the city from whence came many of its men.  That is a good and fitting place for the flag — not flying above city hall or the state capitol, nor displayed on license plates, or featured in other contexts that suggest racial bias.  All memorabilia and souvenirs of the Civil War deserve to be in a location like the 17th Virginia battle flag:  A museum.  That is where they can do the most to inspire respectful memory of those who fought and recognition of their “splendid valor.”

Note:  It is just happenstance that this article is being posted on July 4, Independence Day, 102 years after the Gettysburg Reunion that brought together combatants from both the Union and Confederacy military in apparent harmony. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

“Come Drink Beer with Me”: Brewery Song Books


Drink beer, drink beer,
Oh come drink beer with me;
I don’t give a damn
For any old man, 
Who won’t drink beer with me

Above is a song sung lustily from the back booths of taverns and bars all over America by college student today and reaching back into the 19th Century.   Drinking beer and singing are like Siamese twins — not joined at the hip, but joined at the lip.  This close identification was understood by many a brewery in vintage times.  Illustrated here are a number of examples of the song books they issued to take advantage of the musical carousing.

The first item, “Drinking Songs for Auld Lang Syne,” is illustrated by a barbershop quartet, all in tuxedos, three of the gents wearing homberg hats.  The notes are flying.  This song book was issued by the Schmidt Brewing Company of St. Paul.  Formerly located at 882 West Seventh Street in that city, it was founded in 1855 and its name changed when Jacob Schmidt, formerly the brewmaster at Hamm’s Brewing Co., took over.  The brewery continued under that name until 1954, staying open during National Prohibition by making “near beer.”

The barbershop quartet motif was echoed the “Songs of Long Ago” issued for Bruck’s Jubilee Beer.  Here the songsters are actually performing in a barbershop while the barbers and patrons look on.   The chaps apparently are serenading with “Sweet Adeline,” that was, we are told, the 1903 Season’s Song Hit.   This book originated from the Bruckmann Cumminsville Brewing Company of Cincinnati.  Bruckmann operated two plants and featured a number of brands in addition to “Brucks.”  They included “Big Ben Ale,” “Aristocrat Cereal Beverage,” “Jubilee Beer,” and “Dixie Beer.”  The company also issued a song book that looked like a foaming mug of its brew.  
The Star Beverage Company of Minster, Ohio, issued two song books, both entitled “Sing the Good Old Times.”  The items advertised the brewery’s “Wood Shoe Lager Beer,”  available, we learn, on draught and bottles.   It is not clear why one shows the beer in the stein with a golden color while the other shows up amber.   The brewery was founded in 1869 by one Frank Lange who ran it until 1882 when the Steinemann brothers bought and directed the plant until it became Star Brewery in 1890.  Under that name it operated until National Prohibition in 1919.  Surviving during America’s “dry period” by producing nonalcoholic beverages, it began making beer again in 1933, finally closing in 1954.
Milwaukee’s Blatz brewery, of which I have written extensively before, created a song book made to resemble a German beer stein, complete with pewter lid.  These were created to carry the identification of particular restaurants and saloons carrying Blatz beer.  The one advertised here was a Cleveland, Ohio, watering hole known as “Braustub’l,”  located on the Lorain Road.  Once the book was opened, Blatz’s ad made its appearance.  This view allows us to read the songs and — goodness me — they are all in German.  Although “O Tannenbaum” hardly seems like an appropriate drinking song, except perhaps at Christmas,  I well recall intoning “A Du Lieber Augustin” and “Du, Du, Leigst Mir Im Hezen” at the Trails Inn Lodge in Milwaukee, with the owner, Mitzi, joining in.

“Everybody Sing!” was the title of the Duquesne Brewery Song book.  It advertised Duquesne Pilsener as “The Finest Beer in Town.”  That town was Pittsburgh where the brewery was a major merchandiser of beer from its founding in 1899 until dissolved in 1972.  Using a wooden barrel as the motif for the song book might have been the idea of Henry Miller who had begun his business career selling furniture.  It is said to be one of the first breweries in America to use refrigerated train cars to transport its beer to customer outside Pittsburgh.  Opening the book reveals the motto “Songs you love to sing, beer you love to drink.”  The index of songs reveals a fairly tepid roster of tunes including “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” and “Goodnight Ladies.”  Inclusion of Franklin Roosevelt's theme, “Happy Days Are Here Again” suggests a post-Prohibition origin.  

Even as far away as Los Angeles, the beer and singing tradition impelled the Eastside Brewery to issue a song book that featured beer songs in the repertory of Carl Ledel’s Tirolier & Bayern Orchestra, aka the “Alpine Troubadours.” Shown here front and back, the cover gives us two lyrics, one in German, the other in   English.    I remain puzzled by the motto at the top of the publication:  “Put Eastside Inside - For the Gesundheit.”  Is it implied that their beer can induce sneezing?  Eastside Brewery owes its origins to a Bavarian immigrant and veteran brewmaster named George Zobelein who bought an existing Los Angeles brewery and began making a range of beers from light pilsners and dark hocks, all under the Eastside label.  When purchased by Pabst the brand was retired after 1962.

Speaking of that Milwaukee brewery, the final song book is entitled “Pabst Blue Ribbon Stein Songs,” and shows a shapely woman holding a stein with the background of a red checked table cloth, just like those featured at the “Forstkeller,” the Pabst-owned German restaurant and bar immediately adjacent to the brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee.  It was at the Forstkeller too that beer and song mingled in a way to gladden the heart and remain fixed in memory.  This song book is definitely post-Prohibition, dating from about 1933.

It seems only fitting to end this tribute to singing, drinking and brewery song books by quoting another favorite of the bierstube crowd:

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gem├╝tlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gem├╝tlichkeit

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sweet Memories: Candy and Gum of an Earlier Time

No better way exists to evoke memories of the small pleasures of bygone days than the vintage artifacts that featured them.  My remembrances of the candy and gum enjoyed in my young days six or seven decades ago are spurred by seeing their advertising paperweights and other items.   Shown here are ten such, all of them conjuring up thoughts from the 1940s and 1950s.
World War II broke out when I was five years old and severely constrained the variety of candy that was available to a young sweet tooth.   As I recall, sugar was rationed with much of the supply going to the troops at home and abroad.  One confection still readily available was marshmallows.  Those treats had been introduced by a Milwaukee candy company in 1917, with packaging that recommending roasting them over an open fire.  With the war restricting travel, many activities were neighborhood based, including evenings around a campfire with marshmallows.  My preference was to let them burn until the entire outside was charred and then to eat the whole blackened mess with the soupy insides.  Yum!
Another candy that seems to have been around during the War was licorice, sold in the form of chewy ropes or tubes.  They could be purchased in those days for about two cents a rope and gave many a moment of pleasure as your teeth snapped off a chunk and the process of mastication ensued.   The flavor is an extract of the roots of the licorice plant and not to everyone’s taste.  In those wartime days, however, any candy to be had was eagerly consumed.
Represented here, not by a paperweight, but by an early 20th Century metal container is another favorite of mine — Tootsie Roll.  Tootsie Rolls, however, encountered a different kind of rationing.  My father was a dentist and determined to exclude cavities from the teeth of my brother and me.   Although this candy had been around since 1898, he objected to it because it had a tendency to stick to the teeth and the sugar to linger in the mouth.  The buying public was not concerned.  Today Tootsie Rolls are consumed worldwide and enjoy global favor.  According to the company, 64 million rolls are made daily.
Dad had considerably less objection to Cracker Jacks, possibly because of his own “sweet tooth” and love of popcorn.  Shown here on two vintage paperweights, this confection originated with a German immigrant named Frederick Rueckheim who ran a popcorn stand in Chicago beginning in 1871.  In 1896 his brother, Louis, discovered a method to separate the kernels of molasses coated popcorn during the manufacturing process.  As each batch was tossed in a drum similar to a cement mixer, a small amount of vegetable oil was added that helped prevent the contents from sticking together in chunks.

Inside each Cracker Jack box were two additional items:  a peanut or two and a prize.  The presence of the nuts meant little, but the prize was a big deal.   As I recall, before World War II, they frequently were made of metal.   During the war, with metal going for military purposes, the prizes disappointingly were made of paper.   After the war plastic made its appearance in the Cracker Jack box.   Whatever the prize, it was always a kick to pour out the candied kernels to look for what else the box might hold.
Life Savers were another favorite.  As shown on the weight here, for many years the round candy with the hole in the middle sold for five cents — a nickel.  The price was usually within reach of a kid with kind of any enterprise.   All it took was returning three soft drink bottles back to the store to afford a roll, with a penny left over.   The package of candy, with discipline, could last a long time.  The story of Life Savers reaches back to 1912 when Clarence Crane of Garrettsville, Ohio, invented the sweet stuff in 1912 as a “summer candy” that could withstand heat better than chocolate.   After registering the trademark, Crane sold the rights to Edward Noble for $2,900.  Noble grew Life Savers into a national brand.  He is said to have encouraged sales at cash registers of restaurants and stores, suggesting that change include five cents.  Noble’s strategy frequently was successful on me.
Bubblegum was around for a long time, produced by Frank H. Fleer in 1885 through his Fleer Corporation.  Called Blibber-Blubber, it was inferior to regular chewing gum.  It was not until 1928 that Fleer improved the formula to produce the first commercially successful bubblegum, giving it the pink color with which it traditionally is associated.  I was too young to chew before World War II and it was unavailable during the conflict itself, re-emerging only after 1945.  What a revelation!   My friends and I could not get enough of the stuff.  We also collected the cartoons that wrapped the pink chunks.  Many had corny jokes but some could even be quite sophisticated.  For years I kept one that featured the painter Picasso.  
Fast forward from the 1940s to the 1950s and Necco Wafers.  Those candies date back to 1847 when Oliver Chase, an English immigrant, invented a lozenge cutting machine to produce the wafers.   The name “Necco” was added in 1912.  The wafers got their boost during the war after the U.S. favored it as appropriate for consumption by troops overseas.  Returning servicemen became customers and spread the word.  I became addicted about 1955, buying a tube of assorted flavors almost every day before embarking on an hour-long bus trip home from high school.  
 About the same time, my taste in chewing gum changed and I became fond of the flavor of Beechnut Gum.  The Beechnut firm was founded by Bartlett Arkell in 1891 in Canajoharie, New York. It manufactured numerous items, including bacon, ham, peanut butter, coffee, strained foods, chopped foods, soups, candy and — importantly for me  — chewing gum.  Just when Beechnut Gum was first marketed is not clear, but its appearance pre-dated a 1931 paperweight that featured an “autogyro,”  an early form of helicopter.

A final memorable candy requires another movement in time, to my late 50’s college days in Milwaukee.  On many occasions going to and from the campus, my route took me past the Ambrosia Chocolate factory, founded by Otto J. Schoenleber in that city in 1894.  The company was named “Ambrosia” to characterize chocolate as “food of the gods.”  The aromas coming from the plant were indeed heavenly and I did all I could to imbibe of them fully.   The experience would lift my whole day.  Under new ownership since 1964,  Ambrosia in Milwaukee got a new plant in 1992 and today is the largest supplier of private label chocolate baking chips in America.
Although this illustrated romp through the candy and gum of yore is meant as a personal memory trip via vintage artifacts, further observations seem appropriate.  First, note that each of these confections is “home grown,” that is, invented right here in America.  Although some of the inventors were immigrants, possibly bring insights to candy-making from their homelands, all these products were “Born in the U.S.A.”   Second, without exception, all are still being sold today, having survived the Great Depression, World War II, succeeding crises and economic turndowns.  In fact, many candies such as Tootsie Roll, Cracker Jack, and Life Savers have achieved a global market, proving that the world has a sweet tooth.