Who created the first lollipop?

The history of the lollipop is a bit vague. Some think that lollipops were invented during the American Civil War. Others believe that a version of the lollipop has been around since the early 1800s. What is known is that in 1905, the owner of the McAviney Candy Company may have stumbled upon the lollipop by accident. The company made boiled hard candies that were stirred with a stick, and at day’s end, the owner brought the sticks covered with the candy home for his children to enjoy. It wasn’t until 1908 that he began to market these candy sticks in his store.

In 1908, in Racine, Wisconsin, the first lollipop machine was developed by the Racine Confectionary Company. They created a machine that put hard candy on the end of a stick at the rate of 2,400 sticks per hour. At the time, the owners believed that they could produce enough candies on a stick in a single week to supply the nation’s demand for an entire year.

Also in 1908, George Smith, owner of a confectionary company called the Bradley Smith Company, took credit for inventing the modern version of the lollipop. In 1931, he took the next step and trademarked the term ‘lollipop.” It is said that he borrowed the name from a famous racehorse of the time named Lolly Pop.

And how are lollipops made?

Making lollipops is simple. First, candy makers mix and heat sugar and corn syrup. Once cooked, bright colors and wonderful flavors are added. The sticky mixture then goes to a batch roller and press. This process forms the head of the lollipop and the machine inserts the sticks. The lollipops are then cooled, wrapped and are ready to find their way to a candy store near you.

Lollipops are one of the most popular candies. Companies such as Dum Dums in Bryan, Ohio, and  Hammond’s in Denver, Colorado offer daily tours so you can see firsthand how they are made.

find a rink near you and choose the correct skates

Ice skating is a fun way to spend an afternoon. In some cities, you can skate all year round and in others, rinks pop up for the winter holidays. One can also skate outside on a frozen pond but this takes a seasoned pro to know when the ice is thick enough to be safe. I have skated on a frozen pond and a frozen reservoir in a tucked away cove, but the ice has always been tested with a drill to measure the exact depth of the ice. Even with the ice depth tested, each person always skates with an ice hockey stick as a precaution – just in case the ice were to crack.

choosing your skates the first time

If you are a beginning skater or have a new skater with you, wearing figure skates until you have the basics down is a good idea. Figure skates have a long, flat blade that is pointed on the back with a toe pick on the front. Ice hockey skates have a rounded blade that is curved on both ends. I have often seen ice hockey skates being given to a new skater and have watched them fall backward over and over because of the rounded blades. If you have a new skater start with figure skates.

One other tip – a great way to start out as a new skater on the ice is to march – yes march! If you are taking steps up and down then you aren’t sliding out of control. You transition from marching steps to a gentle glide. From there, the gliding becomes skating.

A quick search on the term – “find an ice skating rink near me” – should locate a fun place to skate. Pack your warm gear and head out for a day of ice skating.


Picking apples at a farm near you

It’s apple season and there are orchards and markets across the country overflowing with apples. There are pies to be made, apple butter to cook and harvest festivals to attend.

Before you bite into that next apple, here’s a bit about its history:

The apple tree originated in Western Asia, where you can sill find its wild ancestor today. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C. After thousand years of cultivation, there are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of characteristics from color to crispness. Apples were brought to North America with colonists in the 1600s, and the first apple orchard was said to have been planted near Boston in 1625. Apples must cross-pollinate to develop fruit. With the large decline in natural bee populations over the recent years, apple growers usually bring in hives of pollinators to carry the pollen during the flowering season.

With apples being grown all across the country, there’s probably a festival near you. Find an orchard or festival and have fun!