Table of contents
Without a doubt, National Lollipop Day on July 20 is a day that children of all ages can celebrate. We’re looking at you, grandparents — relive some childhood memories! People in the Midwest call lollipops suckers but they go by other names as well — lolly, or sticky pop. They come in many flavors but mostly fruit flavors for licking or biting. Lollipops are made of flavored sucrose, water, and corn syrup that are hardened on a stick.
When is National Lollipop Day 2021?
We are suckers for lollipops on National Lollipop Day on July 20.
History of National Lollipop Day
Lollipops have been around in some form or another since forever. In prehistoric times, cavemen would collect honey from beehives using a stick. The sweet nectar was licked off the stick, becoming the world’s first lollipops (in theory, at least). Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Arabs also ‘candied’ fruit and nuts by glazing them with honey and inserting sticks into the confection for easier eating.
With the surplus of sugar in the 17th century, the English started the trend of preparing boiled sugar candy and, of course, they too inserted sticks into the treats. In Northern England, the word for ‘tongue’ is ‘lolly’ and pop means ‘slap’ — so ‘lolly pop’ means ‘tongue slap.’ The term probably got popularized by street vendors in London.
In the 18th century, it seems like there was almost a clamor to create refined versions of the modern lollipop. In 1905, the McAviney Candy Company was producing boiled hard candies, the mixture of which was stirred using a stick. By the end of the day, the owner would take home sticks covered with hardened candy for his children to enjoy. Later on, in 1908, he marketed these ‘candy sticks.’ But it is George Smith, owner of the confectionery company Bradley Smith Company, who is credited for creating the modern lollipop that we all enjoy today. He started making them in 1908 and trademarked the word ‘lollipop’ in 1931. Lollipops were also referred to as ‘dum dum suckers’ to appeal to kids.
The first automated production of lollipops also started in 1908 in Wisconsin, U.S.A. The Racine Confectioners Machinery Company built a machine that attached hard candy on the end of sticks at 2,400 sticks per hour. Russian immigrant Samuel Born also invented a machine that did the same thing, in 1916. His machine was called the ‘Born Sucker Machine’ and was so well-received that San Francisco awarded Born the ‘key to the city’ that year. There are over 100 varieties of lollipops available today in all shapes and sizes.
National Lollipop Day timeline
Ancient peoples across the world eat honey off of sticks, the earliest precursors to lollipops.
The English put sticks in boiled sugar candies to make them easier to eat.
The Racine Confectionery Machine Company invents a machine that can produce 2,400 lollipops per minute.
George Smith, who says he invented the idea of putting candy on a stick, patents the term 'lollipop' (though it's now in the public domain).
National Lollipop Day Traditions
Whether you want a Tootsie Pop, a cola-flavored lollipop, or a Charms Blow Pop, take your pick of your favorite ‘tongue slap’ and give your mouth some good exercise. Kids especially enjoy National Lollipop Day, with store displays featuring colorful lollipops in different shapes and sizes.
Pop culture has many catchy songs based on lollipops. ‘The Lollipop Song’ by The Chordettes is the perfect anthem for the day!
Now that you have been enlightened about the history of lollipops, give your friends and family a lesson on ‘tongue slaps.’ Conclude with the motto that, if everything else fails, put a stick in it.
National Lollipop Day By The Numbers
16 million – the number of lollipops produced per day by Tootsie Roll.
7,000 pounds – the weight of the world’s largest lollipop created by See’s Candies.
12 foot – the height of the stick on which the world’s largest lollipop was mounted.
40 – the number of lollipops produced by the lollipop-making machine in 1908.
26 – the number of calories in a 14-gram lollipop.
1958 – the year when the first song about lollipops was released by The Chordettes.
1780s – the period in which the word lollipop was used for the first time.
12,831 – the record for the longest chain of people licking lollipops!
National Lollipop Day Activities
Buy yourself a pop
Buy one or two lollipops for yourself today. You'll feel like a little kid with a sucker in your mouth, and the sweet taste will make you smile.
Share some pops
What's better than having a lollipop on your own? Sharing lollipops with friends! Buy a bag of lollipops to share with friends all day, and if you're feeling especially generous, you can share them with strangers, too!
Do some science
Count how many licks you take on a Tootsie Pop to reach the Tootsie Roll center. Purdue University, the University of Michigan, and Swarthmore Junior High School have conducted studies on this very project and each has reached a different answer. The world may never know the true answer.
5 Tasty Facts About Dum Dums
Today there are 12 million Dum Dums made per day
North American Specialty
Dum Dums are sold mainly in the U.S., but also some in Mexico, Canada, and a few other countries.
What's in a Name
Dum Dums got their name because the sales manager decided it was a word any kid could say
Dum Dums are gluten free
It's a Mystery
The famed Mystery Flavor is a mixture of the two flavors that come together between batches on the machine
Why We Love National Lollipop Day
Lollipops come in many shapes and sizes
Popular brands are Dum Dums, Saf-T-Pops, Charms, Tootsie Roll Pops, and Tootsie Pops. Oh, it’s impossible to pick a favorite. Sugar Daddy is America’s oldest and most popular milk caramel lollipop.
They make us nostalgic
Lollipops remind older adults of Theo Kojak, a hard-nosed New York City detective, who always put a lollipop, specifically a Tootsie Pop, in his mouth. The “Kojak” television series ran from 1973-1978. Kojak’s catchphrase of “Who loves ya, baby?” can be heard in many places worldwide.
Shirley Temple sang “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in the 1934 movie “Bright Eyes.” The “Wizard of Oz” introduced the Lollipop Guild that welcomed Dorothy to the Land of Oz with a giant spiral sucker. Artists celebrate this day as well. As far back as 1855 James Campbell painted “The Lollipop.” Louis-Nicholas Darbon of the United Kingdom painted “The Girl With the Lollipop.”
National Lollipop Day dates