Nobody really likes the taste of candy hearts per se (and please accept our sincerest apologies if we somehow misjudged you), but just about everyone seems to agree that there’s at least a teeny thrill in reading those silly little messages.
It turns out that a version of the candy dates back more than 150 years (!) to Boston candymaker Oliver Chase, which came up with an early concept in the 1860s, according to Real Simple — though those were little like the versions produced as Sweethearts in our modern times. Those early confection were more like fortune cookies: candy on the outside with a special note on the inside.
It was in the early 1900s that Oliver and his brother Daniel’s company, New England Confectionery Company (now Necco), shifted its focus to heart-sharped treats and named them Sweethearts.
But needless to say the messages printed on those candies over the years have varied considerably as culture has evolved. Those early 1900s candies had messages with a tone that was firm and traditional — such as “BE MINE,” “KISS ME,” and “MARRY ME.” (They weren't exactly feminist-empowerment snacks.)
By the 1950s, pop culture influenced the candies, which included such messages as “HEP CAT” and “YAK YAK.”
And by the 1990s, candy hearts were all about both cheeky pop culture and the influence of technology — but, as we all well know, technology was rather different back then. Consider... “FAX ME.”
These days telling a potential date to “fax me” would be the ultimate brushoff — like, “Send your stupid love note to a device I no longer have and I will never receive it, thxbye.”
Also popular in the 1990s: “AS IF,” “LET’S DO LUNCH,” and “1-800 CUPID.” People used the telephone to make actual calls in the ‘90s! So quaint!
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