Tootsie Rolls for All

You wouldn’t guess from the unassuming brown wrapper, but the Tootsie Roll empire – Tootsie Roll Industries, to be precise – is doing rather well 116 years on.  Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange– with prices that even might make RIM shareholders jealous. Not bad for modest beginnings as an inexpensive alternative to chocolates. Austrian immigrant Leo Hirshfield started what would become his candy kingdom on this day in 1896, with a small shop in New York, introducing the caramel-coloured sweet that would become a beloved treat for generations to come.


Hirshfield bestowed the candy with his daughter Clara’s nickname Tootsie and made it so it wouldn’t melt on hot summer days. Its durability would proof beneficial. Tootsie Rolls have been a popular military ration for American soldiers ever since the Second World War.

Even if you weren’t a fan of the small sweet cylindrical candies, you may have gobbled up other Tootsie Roll Industries’ delights like Double Bubble, Charleston Chew, Sugar Babies or Junior Mints – made even more famous by the Seinfeld episode named after the treat, as Kramer said “It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious.” Enough said.

-Tara Losinski