Leo Hirschfeld immigrated to America from Austria about the steamship Neckar in 1884.
His father was in the candy trade back in Austria, so when Leo arrived in New York he began to sell candy on the side to neighborhood kids in Brooklyn.
In 1891, Leo moved to Manhattan and took a job with Stern & Saalberg.
Stern & Saalberg hired Leo to create, develop and mass produce candy.
In December of 1894, Leo and Stern & Saalberg was awarded a patent for a machine that deposited confectionery into molds.
In July of 1895, Leo and Stern & Saalberg was awarded a patent for a bonbon dipping machine, and another patent described as a fork for dipping bonbons.
Jelled desserts were all the rage at the turn of the century with Leo Hirschfeld developing such treats as Jellycon, Tryphora, and Bromangelon for Stern & Saalberg.
When you added hot water to the pink powder of Bromangelon, it transformed into a sweet and fruity dessert jelly.
Booklets printed to advertise Bromangelon featured “Tattling Tootsie,” a cute little girl who happened to be Leo Hirschfeld’s daughter Clara, whose nickname in real life was Tootsie.
By 1904, Leo had worked his way up to become one of three “directors” at Stern & Saalberg.
In May of 1907, Leo and Stern & Saalberg applied for a candy making patent that created a candy that would not melt easily in the heat, with a distinctive texture and hardness. The patent was awarded in November 3, 1908.
Leo and Stern & Saalberg then applied for the trade-mark “Tootsie.”
Once more, they named the candy after the nickname of Leo’s daughter Clara.
The trade-mark was registered on September 14, 1909.
They stated in their application that “Tootsie” would be used in association with the first individually wrapped penny candy they named the “Tootsie Roll.”
And the rest, as you know, is Tootsie Roll history!
By 1913, Leo had been named Vice President of Stern & Saalberg.
The Stern & Saalberg Company went on to become The Sweets Company of America, which in turn became Tootsie Roll Industries, a business today worth well over one billion dollars.
Tootsie Rolls made Leo Hirschfeld very rich.
Hirschfeld left The Sweets Company of America sometime around 1920 to start another candy venture called the Mells Candy Corporation.
1921 was a bad year.
Leo’s wife was seriously ill, and recuperating in a sanatorium.
Leo himself suffered from a disease of the stomach.
On January 13, 1922, Leo shot himself in his room at the Monterey Hotel at 94th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. He died that same day.
The note he left for his attorney said “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it.”
In 1931, the Tootsie Pop — a lollipop with Tootsie Roll filling—was invented.
Its low price made it popular in the Depression era.
During World War II, Tootsie Rolls became a standard part of American soldiers’ field rations, due to the hardiness of the candy under a variety of environmental conditions.
During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950, the United States Marine Corps started to run out of mortar rounds during a 17 day battle in freezing weather. The radio men started requesting more rounds under the code name Tootsie Roll.
There were too many nearby Chinese emplacements however, and the risk that they might lose airlifted supplies to the enemy was too great, so they had to wait.
After two days of waiting, all the mortar sections ran out of rounds.
At this point the risk was taken and supplies were dropped.
When the troops found the crates of mortar rounds, they found the crates were instead filled with Tootsie Rolls.
The cause of this error was that a supply specialist did not know that the codename for mortar rounds was “Tootsie Rolls”, and instead ordered hundreds of crates of Tootsie Roll candies instead of mortar rounds.
Today Tootsie Roll Industries is one of the largest candy manufacturers in the world. According to the company website, the original (and still current) recipe calls for the inclusion of the previous day’s batch. “As such, there’s (theoretically) a bit of Leo’s very first Tootsie Roll in every one of the sixty four million Tootsie Rolls that Tootsie produces each day.”
Now We know em
- http://candyprofessor.com/2010/02/03/tootsie-roll-mystery/ (candyprofessor.com)
- http://candyprofessor.com/tag/leo-hirshfield/ (candyprofessor.com)