A Century of Sweetness: Dum Dums’ 100-Year Journey

Closeup of a pile of Dum Dums lollipops in various flavors.
Dum Dums, those delightful round lollipops on sticks, have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives, leaving behind a trail of sweet memories. From the moment a child unwraps a Dum Dum, a magical bond forms. Whether it’s a reward for good behavior, a treat after a doctor’s visit, or a simple pick-me-up during a long day, Dum Dums evoke a sense of nostalgia.

As they celebrate 100 years in the candy industry, we look back on their cultural impact and how they came to be one of the biggest sweets among children and adults alike.

The Origins of Dum Dums

In 1924, the Akron Candy Company in Bellevue, Ohio, birthed the sweet sensation known as Dum Dums. The mastermind behind this delectable creation was none other than I.C. Bahr, the company’s early sales manager.

But why the name Dum Dums? Bahr’s reasoning was as simple as it was brilliant: he believed it was an easy name for kids to say. In fact, even an infant could learn the word “Dum Dum” and eagerly ask their parents for one of these delightful treats.

Evolution of Flavors

As Dum Dums gained popularity, they became more than just a sugary treat. In 1953, the Spangler Candy Company acquired Dum Dums and relocated production to Bryan, Ohio. That first year, they produced a whopping 84 million Dum Dums in seven delightful flavors: lemon, lime, orange, coconut-pineapple, cherry, grape, and butterscotch.

In 1995, Spangler introduced the Blue Raspberry flavor to the Dum Dums lineup. Its vibrant blue hue left a lasting impression on children’s tongues—and perhaps a few blue smiles! Then, in 2001, Spangler added an element of intrigue with the Mystery Flavor Dum Dum. What exactly is the mystery flavor? Well, that remains a delightful secret, inviting fans to guess and savor the enigma.

A Legacy of Nostalgic Imagery

In addition to the lollipops’ familiar packaging and simple design, Dum Dums iconic advertising lives on in the hearts of their fans. The Dum Dum Drum Man, a whimsical character with a playful persona, became synonymous with the brand. With his round head, wide grin, and colorful attire, he exudes the same cheerfulness as the lollipops he represents. To many, the Dum Dum Drum Man is more than an advertising gimmick – he is a part of their collective childhood.

In 1998, the Spangler Candy Company made a brilliant decision: they selected Dr. Irving, a white-faced Capuchin monkey, to be the official ambassador for Dum Dums. Dr. Irving’s role extended far beyond mere mascot status. With appearances ranging from trade shows to national television, this little monkey brought far-reaching attention to the Dum Dums brand.

Celebrating the Centennial

In honor of their 100th anniversary, Dum Dums have orchestrated a delightful celebration. Among the festivities is a Times Square appearance by the iconic Dum Dum Drum Man. Armed with bags of Dum Dums, he distributed these cherished treats to thousands of passers-by. The bright wrappers and familiar flavors added a touch of color to the bustling city streets.

In their hometown of Bryan, Ohio, the Spanger Candy Company has opened a store and museum where visitors can explore the fascinating history of Dum Dums and even take factory tours aboard the Dum Dums trolley. Imagine stepping into a world of colorful nostalgia, surrounded by decades of lollipop magic!

Looking Ahead

As we peer into the sugary crystal ball, envisioning the future of Dum Dums, a delightful tapestry of possibilities unfolds. Perhaps collaborations and limited-edition candy await. Maybe they will allow customization for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, or just because! There could be interactive wrappers with QR codes that transform a sweet treat into an adventure. The sky is the limit when it comes to Dum Dums’ future, and we are looking forward to seeing what they do next.

What are your favorite Dum Dums memories?