In 1924, the Akron Candy Company in Ohio had developed a small, spherical hard candy on a stick. When it came to naming the confection, sales manager I.C. Bahr came up with “Dum Dums” because he thought it was a phrase that could easily be uttered by children. Simple, colorful, and inexpensive, Dum Dums soon became an institution.
The brand was purchased in 1953 by Ohio’s Spangler Candy Company, which already had a solid reputation for its hard candies, Circus Peanuts and chocolates. Spangler has added many flavors over the years, including Buttered Popcorn, Cotton Candy, and Bubblegum. In 2006 the company celebrated its 100th anniversary by introducing two new flavors – pink lemonade and cherry cola.
Building a Mystery
Some Dum Dums have wrappers with question marks where the flavor is normally printed. This was a marketing idea that made the production process run more smoothly and made eating Dum Dums more fun. The Mystery Flavor pop is a mixture of two flavors that come together when the end of one batch of candy meets the beginning of the next batch. Rather than shutting down to clean out the candy equipment between flavors, Spangler turned lemons into lemonade and made pops out of the combination of flavors – the tail end of the old, and the beginning of the new. The candy lines keep running continuously, and the Mystery Flavor pops are a surprise treat every time.