Everyone knows conversation hearts are virtually synonymous with February 14. You know they’re sweet, colorful, and can be counted on to create some seriously awkward moments, but what you might not know? These five facts about them. Minds=blown.
1. Daniel Chase, the brother of Necco founder Oliver Chase, created the first “Motto Hearts” in 1866. So that is old.
2. Before World War I, Sweethearts candies came in a variety of shapes, including baseballs, horseshoes, and watches. Wait, what?! Can we bring this back, please?
3. Each year, about 45 sayings get included in the mix—but you can personalize the candies, too.
4. To make enough Sweethearts for Valentine’s Day, production for the next year starts right after the holiday, in late February, and continues until mid-January. So it’s basically like Santa’s workshop for Valentine’s Day.
5. More than 8 billion of the candies are manufactured each year—that’s about 100,000 poundsper day!
6. They haven’t changed the way they were made. The same process has been used since the beginning, involving mixing corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, and food coloring, stretching and rolling it on a machine, then printing letters and cutting them into hearts.
7. The hearts used to be larger (we got gipped with the size downgrade), and they were most popular at weddings.
8. Some phrases have been retired, and you’ll never see them appear on hearts again, such as “SAUCY BOY” and “LET’S READ.” Personally, I’d say that’s for the best.