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Life Savers turns 100!

Categories: Candy,Candy News,Classic and Retro Candy,Gummi/Gummy Candy,Hard Candy,Mint Candy,Soft Candy


Life Savers Wint-O-Green Bag

The year was 1912. The Titanic was sinking, New Mexico was becoming the 47th state and Arizona was becoming the 48th. The Scoville Organoleptic Test was being developed (to rate the spicy heat of a pepper), and, ah, yes, the good ol’ Life Saver was being born.

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, weighing approximately 2 grams, the Pep-O-Mint Life Saver was born thanks to the clever determination of his father, Clarence Crane, a chocolate maker who set out to create a sweet treat to beat the summer heat.

Life Savers became so popular that during WWII other candy manufacturers donated sugar rations to sustain production so they could be supplied to the Armed Forces.

In the 100 years since Life Savers were born, the candy has had more than 40 siblings, each uniquely flavored. These include Lic-O-Rice, Cin-O-Mon, Vi-O-Let, Choc-O-Mint, Molas-O-Mint, Lemon-Lime and Wint-O-Green.

Yes, it is true that Wint-O-Green Life Savers cause a spark in the dark—or, if you prefer the fancy scientific term: triboluminescence. Simply sit in a dark room, bring a friend or two, put a Wint-O-Green Life Saver in your mouth and bite. Your friend(s) will be impressed. To my surprise, many people under 30 have never heard of this whole spark in the dark thing. How bizarre!

Despite being kept in the dark regarding the spark, the under 30 demographic does seem awfully familiar with fruit-flavored Life Savers Holes that were born in 1990 or the Gummies, which are just two years younger.

Wrigley, the candy company who owns Life Saver, has launched a joyous website to celebrate this milestone birthday. And what does Life Saver, the man of the hour himself, want for his birthday? … He want you to purchase a 100th Anniversary Life Saver bag and enter the code on the birthday site so that you can donate $1 to a charity. I suppose it all circles back that charitable name of his – Life Saver.

And for those of you who want to reminisce, here’s an old commercial you may remember seeing.

What’s your favorite type of Life Saver? I prefer the Gummies Wild Berries. But I’m not one to ever turn down a spark in the dark, so I suppose I also favor the Wint-O-Green.

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