Who would have thought that the creator of lozenges has had such an impact in the confectionery industry. The demand for lozenges in the 19th century gave way to americas first candy cutting machine. This machine would go on to be used in a variety of candy we still eat today, for example, candy hearts. Not only that, it’s creation led to the founding of one of America’s oldest candy companies.

By the mid 19th century, sugar had become a much more accessible commodity. This is largely due to the sugar plantations that used slave labor to supply an increasing number of American sugar refineries. Candy making became a little less expensive but still required a lot of hard work.

“If you wanted to have a business making candy early on, it was not only expensive, it was really difficult, hot, sweaty work,” says Beth Kimmerle, the author of multiple books on America’s confectionery history in this article by the Smithsonian.

An English born apothecarist named Oliver chase immigrated to Boston and began rolling ropes of sugar and gum and mixing them with medicinal herbs. He would cut these ropes manually and sell them as lozenges to the public. Eventually, there were some machines developed to speed up the cutting process but it was still painstakingly slow. The demand for lozenges increased when Chase began to make lozenges with no medicine that people began to enjoy as hard candy.

In order to satisfy demand, Chase took matters into his own hands and, in 1847, created a machine that would stamp sheets of sugar dough into identically sized candies. The machine was hand cranked and closely resembled a pasta maker. This lead Chase and his brother to open a factory in south Boston to produce lozenges. Eventually this factory become known as the New England Confectionery Company (Necco).

If you read our post about Sweethearts, you know that Necco was recently sold, ending a 170 year American candy legacy. For more posts like this, make sure to keep up with our blog!