There are many stories about how the lollipop was invented. Some believe that a form of it has been around since the 1800s. Charles Dickens and other authors referred to a sweet lozenge without a stick in some stories. During the Civil War, it is believed that little pieces of hard candy were put on the ends of pencils for children to nibble.
In 1908, George Smith claimed to be the first to invent the modern lollipop. Smith applied an idea of putting hard candies on a stick to make them easier to eat. He decided to name the treat after his favorite racing horse, Lolly Pop, and later trademarked the name. Lollipops were successful in North America until the Great Depression. Smith stopped production on lollipops and the name fell into public domain.
A Racine, Wisconsin, manufacturing company claims credit for inventing the first lollipop machine. Racine Confectioners Machinery Co. answered an East Coast candy maker’s call to have a machine make hard candy on a stick in 1908. The company created a machine that automated the lollipop making process and could make 40 lollipops per minute.
However, others claim Samuel Born was the first to automate the lollipop-making process. Lollipop manufacturing grew independently in California, and in 1916 Samuel Born invented the Born Sucker machine. This machine automatically inserted the stick, which added to the popularity of the confection. San Francisco awarded Born the keys to the city for his invention.
Over time, lollipops have had different looks. They have been traditional hard candy on a stick and hard candy on a ring, some include bubble gum or chocolate as a surprise center, and some even spin or glow.
The lollipop manufacturing process is fairly simple. First, candy makers mix and heat sugar and corn syrup. Once cooked, colors and flavors are added. The mix then goes to a batch roller and press that forms the head of the lollipop and inserts the stick. Next the lollipops are cooled and wrapped. Finally, the candy is bagged and shipped.