July 20th is National Lollipop Day. The lollipop has a long history — some evidence the idea of candy on a stick has been around for centuries, but surprisingly, the modern lollipop in the United States has only been around for a little over 100 years. Here’s a little bit of the history of the lollipop.
The word originated in Northern England in the 18th century, but their lollipops were a bit different from what we now know as lollipops. At the time, soft candy was referred as Lolly Pops – in that dialect it literally translates as “tongue” (lolly) “slap” (pop), but the term didn’t surface in the United States until the turn of the century.
1908 was a big year for candy on a stick. In Racine, Wisconsin, at McAviney Candy Company, hard candy was the focus. Workers used wooden sticks to stir the candy and there was always a bit leftover on the stick – which employees gave to their kids. Seeing the potential for the product, the company started mass-producing candy on a stick.
According to connecticuthistory.org, the Bradley Smith Company started producing candy on a stick in 1908 as well, but the owner of the company, George Smith, gets the credit for the name “lollipop.” He claimed the name for a trademark after being inspired by a race horse called Lolly Pop, but because of the original use of the term by the English, the trademark office refused his request. It wasn’t until the 1930s Smith finally got Lolly Pop” trademarked, however, the term is now part of public domain.