Sweethearts, as we know them today, once used to be called Necco Wafers. Before the Necco Wafers were created the machines used to make them were once used to make apothecary tablets which were used to cure coughs and throat irritation. The machine was created by Oliver Chase in the 1840s and this was said to be the first American candy machine.
Necco Wafers took off during the Civil War and have grown for decades since then. Since wafers grew, everyone wanted them. They were portable and they didn’t melt. Because of that, they were able to ship the wafers overseas. People later thought since they were already shipping Necco overseas why not add a love message to them? Heart shapes later came in 1901.
Necco declared bankruptcy and shut its doors in 2018. Spangler Candy then acquired the rights to the candy in 2019. This caused Necco wafers and sweethearts to not be produced for two years. They were both brought back in 2020 due to popular demand, and they took hold of the most popular non-chocolate candy for Valentine’s Day (Fink).