Necco Wafers #atozchallenge

NECCO Wafers

So, let’s talk about candy. Specifically, Necco wafers.


By Lkeers1415 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I uswed to think they were “nickel wafers,” becausae they were about the size of a nickel. You could get them for a nickel back then, too.

Oliver Chase created the Necco Wafers, then called “hub wafers,” with a lozenge-cutting machine he invented. Union troops used to carry them during the Civil War, no doubt to have something to give a kid after they burned down his house. At the turn of the century, Chase merged with two other confectionary companies and formed the Northeast Confectionary Company, so Necco is an acronym for their name.

They are still being produced, in eight flavors: lemon (yellow), lime (green), orange (orange), clove (purple), cinnamon (white), wintergreen (pink), licorice (black), and chocolate (brown). Legend has it that, if you take the wintergreen (pink) ones into a dark room and break them in half, sparks fly. I could never get it to work, though. A bunch of them are wrapped in a waxed-paper package. They’ve reformulated them in the past few years, eliminating artificial colors and flavors and making them softer with the addition of glycerine, so they aren’t hard as a rock anymore. Whether that ruins the whole “taking the pink ones into a dark room and breaking them in half” thing, I don’t know. Evidently, they had to eliminate the lime wafers because they couldn’t get the color right. (They could dye them yellow and make them key lime-flavored, but that would probably confuse kids.) Since tropical flavors are all the rage these days, they also make a tropical-flavored version. They also sell the chocolate and licorice ones separately, for people who like those flavors.

I couldn’t find any TV commercials for Necco Wafers, for some reason; I don’t think they ever ran any. I liked them, but most kids learned after the first time they bought them that they’re an acquired taste. Still, there are a few videos on YouTube about them, so go have a look.

Do you like Necco Wafers?

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

34 thoughts on “Necco Wafers #atozchallenge”

  1. I do like Necco wafers and have since I was a child. I still buy them when I go to Dollar Tree which is one of the few places where I’ve seen them carried. I don’t know about “softer” though. Maybe the ones they sell at Dollar Tree are still from the Civil War. No matter though. They are weird, but I like weird.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. There are a bunch of online “nostalgia candy” stores where you can get them, along with other candies they still make but you never see anymore. They might also sell them at Cracker Barrell, but I doubt there are any of those where you are.

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      1. Sadly, so far as I know, the closest Cracker Barrels to where I am are in Phoenix. We’ve eaten there often when we used to visit my sister when she still lived there. Now when we’re passing through Phoenix we’ve been going to Rudy’s BBQ restaurant which otherwise I’ve only seen in Texas–they also carry some vintage candies. I’ve been meeting up with some of my friends in TN at a Cracker Barrel when I go there to visit. Love Cracker Barrel!

        Arlee Bird
        Tossing It Out: It’s About Time

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  2. There it is! Now you’ve done it! This wafer post qualifies you as the family leader as the “Walking Encyclopedia of Useless Knowledge.”

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  3. So the purple ones are clove!
    There was a brief period in Chicago when people were throwing them in the tollbooth coin baskets, courtesy Steve Dahl.

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  4. I have never heard of the, so they must be an American candy. I’d love to try them except for the black since I dislike black liquorice. The pink sounds interesting but I wonder what is in them if it does create sparks

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    1. Right, they’re just as bad as they were fifty years ago. Consistency is the key… I’m sure you have more than a few candies over there that we haven’t heard of, either.

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    1. I don’t recall ever eating the chocolate ones; they came separately from the other flavors. I liked taking the wintergreen ones into a closet and breaking them to see the sparks.

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  5. They’re alright. I really only like the licorice.
    I didn’t know that about the sparking, but I’ve seen it with Wint-o-green Life Savers 🙂

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    1. You can still get them online, and Necco is quite busy in the confection business. They make the Sweethearts that show up around Valentine’s day, Mary Janes and Banana Splits at Hallowe’en, and apparently are still making the Clark bar. Check out their website: http://www.necco.com (of course!)

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    1. I know that’s got to be a benefit of living there. Mary used to go to school near a World’s Finest Chocolate factory and said the smell was heavenly. On the other hand, we lived near the old Union Stockyards, and although they had left twenty years before, there were still a few tallow-rendering plants in the neighborhood. The worst, though, are paper mills…

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      1. When I lived in Virginia, when the wind blew in one direction it brought the aroma of the Anheusser Busch brewery and in the other direction the paper mill. The brewery was preferable.

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        1. I’ve spent plenty of time in central Wisconsin, where they have a bunch of mills, and in Monroe, LA, which is across Bayou Desaird from a very active mill. I almost prefer the smell of tallow.

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  6. I know them but never had one. I grew up in the penny candy time period so was more likely to spend on getting a small brown bag of a variety of treats at the concession stand at the little league fields.

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    1. We had a store across from school that we went to that had just about every kind of penny candy you would want, and God forbid the nuns caught you with any of it while you were on school property. We spent a lot of time in front of that store…

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