Since we were kids, PEZ candies and their creative dispensers have been both fun and delicious. When the PEZ factory in Orange, CT presented us with the opportunity to create custom aprons for their factory, we were honored to be of use.
Many of you likely know PEZ as a child’s toy or a collector’s item. What you might not know is it actually started out as a breath mint, later became a method to encourage smokers to quit, and in the mid 1950′s finally transformed into the pioneer of interactive candy that we know and love. To grow the U.S market, fruity flavors were introduced and character dispensers were utilized to help market PEZ towards children.
Originally invented in Vienna, Austria, the name PEZ was created from the German word pfefferminz, meaning peppermint. In less than a decade, production was moved to Czechoslovakia in order to manufacture the small candies on a larger scale. By 1952, PEZ-Haas, Inc established a PEZ headquarters in New York City, and moved their production to Orange, CT in 1974.
One of the first characters to be licensed for manufacturing in the U.S. was Popeye in the late 1950′s. A decade later Mickey Mouse followed. Today, PEZ has a candy dispenser for just about every movie and cartoon character, many of them incredibly valuable. Although the manufacturing of PEZ candies and dispensers has been located in Connecticut for over four decades, it was not until December of 2011 that a visitor center was opened to give fans an idea of how their favorite PEZ candies are made.
Located at 35 Prindle Hill Road in Orange, CT, the PEZ Visitor Center holds “one of the largest collection of PEZ memorabilia on display in the world.” Not only is there a viewing area that allows visitors to see inside the production area, but there is also an interactive PEZ trivia game and historical time line to give an accurate insight into the creation of PEZ. Possibly the best part of the visitor center is that it not only costs $5.00 or less, but tours are also self-guided. For those of you looking for a fun filled afternoon on a low budget, the PEZ Visitor Center is the perfect place to go.