CANDY-THEMED POSTCARDS SWEET TO COLLECT
By Barbara Andrews, Antique Trader magazine
How many of your happiest childhood memories involve guilt-free
indulgence in candy? Chocolate bars, homemade fudge, cotton candy at the
county fair, jellybeans and all-day suckers are the comfort food of the
young, and it’s easy to be nostalgic about enjoying sweet treats
without any concern for the consequences.
Fortunately, collectors can enjoy the pursuit of candy without actually
eating any. Postcards show the attitude toward sweets was very different
in the early 1900s, with many people believing that they were actually
good for children (and that it was healthy for children to be plump).
If there’s a gene for a raging sweet tooth, my family certainly had it.
In fact, my very existence can be traced to my grandfather’s urge for a
stick of candy. If he hadn’t gone into town to buy some, he might not
have met the friends who later hooked him up with my grandmother. The
rest is history, but candy was always a reward in my childhood. The
scarcity of sugar during World War II made it even more highly prized.
If nostalgia alone isn’t enough motivation to seek out postcards about
candy, the postcards themselves are. Candy represents pleasure, and the
advertising often reflects this.
Nor are the old “goodies” particularly scarce. The best source of
information is “American Advertising Postcards, Sets and Series, 1890 to
1920” by Frederic and Mary Megson, copyright 1985. This choice
reference book devotes more than seven pages to “confectionery,”
including candy stores and ice cream parlors.
Some of the names in the Megsons’ book are still familiar today: Hershey
Chocolates, Fralinger’s Taffy, Ghirardelli’s Chocolates, Huyler’s
Chocolates, and Cracker Jack. Others are long forgotten: Greenfield’s
Chocolate Sponge, Hildreth’s Velvet Candy, and Mirror Candies, as
Hershey was by far the largest publisher of postcards as advertising,
although quite a few only picture the buildings and grounds around their
Pennsylvania factory. Many of these are narrow black and white
postcards. They’re not directly related to their chocolate, nor are they
as entertaining as those of some other advertisers. Hershey continued
to make postcards in the modern era for their many visitors, including
continental size (4 inches by 6 inches) of candy production and candy
Some of the highlights of a candy collection would be: the Cracker Jack
Bears (set of 16), Fralinger’s Taffy’s series of nursery rhymes, and
Huyler’s Candies’ Indian chiefs, girl graduates and girl golfers, to
name just a few.
My favorites are the interiors of candy shops and confectioneries, which
also had soda fountains. Almost everything pictured in the early 20th
century shops is collectible today.
That includes marble topped counters, caned, bent wood and metal chairs,
glass-fronted bins, elaborate soda dispensers, and beautiful ceramic
and glass jars. Even empty