On this day in 1896, the first Tootsie Roll was sold in a New York candy store. Developed by Austrian immigrant Leo Hirschfield and reportedly named after his five-year-old daughter, Clara “Tootsie” Hirschfield, the Tootsie Roll is now one of the most popular candies in America today.
Believe it or not, the story of the Tootsie Roll is not without controversy and those interested should check out the excellent articles by Samira Kawash, PhD, aka The Candy Professor. Yet in a nutshell, the candy went from a small individually wrapped candy to being the first “penny candy” to being a part of U.S. war rations because of its longevity. Today, the Tootsie Roll’s additional companies include Andes, Charleston Chew, Dots, Dubble Bubble, Junior Mints and Sugar Babies.
But for me, Tootsie Roll’s greatest invention was the Tootsie Fruit Roll, which it introduced in later years. Ironically, the material used to make the first Tootsie Rolls was used in fruit candies before creating the chocolate treats we know today.