In 1927, Eduard Haas, an Austrian candy maker, made a batch of brick-shaped peppermint candies designed as breath mints for adults trying to give up smoking. He named them “PEZ”, an abbreviation of sorts for the German word “pfefferminz” or “peppermint.”
At first, the candies were sold in small tins. In 1947, the tin was redesigned to look like a cigarette lighter. The following year, it was altered again with an “easy, hygienic dispenser,” making it look and operate more like today’s PEZ dispensers. In 1952, Haas brought his candy business to North America and was surprised by the fact that children were so fond of the candies and the dispenser.
To capitalize on that market, heads were placed on the dispensers and the first fruit flavored candies were introduced. Since then, many different characters have been featured on PEZ dispensers, with the top sellers of all time being Mickey Mouse, Santa, and Dino the Dinosaur (from the Flintstones). Many people collect PEZ dispensers, and it’s not uncommon for rare varieties to fetch $1,000 or more. The highest verifiable private sale of a PEZ dispenser garnered $7,000.
So if this whole real estate thing doesn’t work out……..