How the Civil War shaped the commercial candy industry.
Leading up to the Civil War, the North and South were separated by major differences. The South was in control of agriculture where the North was in control of industry. Due to industry’s location, the New England area of the United States can be coined the official birthplace of commercial candy. This was a major plus for the Union soldiers as they had sweet treats to look forward to after battle.
Invented in 1847 by English immigrant Oliver Chase, the lozenge cutter became the first American candy machine. Along with the creation of the candy machine came the invention of the beloved NECCO Wafers. NECCO Wafers had their claim to fame shortly after being invented due to the start of the Civil War. Made by the New England Confectionary Company, NECCO Wafers sided with the union during the Civil War. NECCO Wafers were a great candy to take to war since they did not melt and rarely broke in transport.
Other candies that sided with the Union included jelly beans and Jordan Almonds. Jordan Almonds are believed to date back to ancient Rome around the 15th century when sugar was first introduced. These candies have a long history and are believed to have sparked the interest in William Schrafft of Boston to create the first jelly bean. As the jelly bean is a spin off of Jordan Almonds, they tend to go hand in hand when explaining candy during the Civil War era. One commonly unconfirmed story explains that William Schrafft urged people to send his jelly beans to Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Following this story, jelly beans have been a popular candy ever since.
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