Everyone is familiar with NECCO candies (especially their wafers), however do you know what the acronym NECCO means? Did you know that they were and still are headquartered in Massachusetts? This blog will cover some fun historical facts about the famous candy-making company.
In 1901 three of the leading confectionary firms in Massachusetts came together under the name of the New England Confectionary Company or NECCO. The companies were Chase and Company, Bird Wright & Company, and Fobes, Hayward & Company. Oliver Chase of Chase and Company was originally a druggist at a pharmacy, a field in which it was already a common practice to put bitter tasting medicine into sweet lozenges. In 1847 Chase invented a medicinal lozenge cutter, which increased the production of lozenges and made it possible to also make wafer candies. He patented his invention and then started his own confectionery company with his brother Silas in 1847. His lozenge cutter is considered the first candy-making machine, and in 1866 another brother Daniel invented a machine that could print words onto candy—leading to the invention of Conversation Candy or Sweethearts.
NECCO is the oldest continuously-run candy factory in the country. In 1902 NECCO was located at 253 Summer Street and 11-27 Melcher Street in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston. Although the company has since moved from the Fort Point neighborhood, Necco Street and Necco Court remind us of where it once was located. In 1927 the company built its factory in Cambridge on Massachusetts Avenue near the Charles River and remained there until its move to Revere in 2003.
In 1947 the Boston Globe said that NECCO was one of the world’s largest candy producers and that New England was leading the country in boxed candies. The latest developments in the NECCO story come from an April 27th, 2017 article in Banker and Tradesman: “Framingham-based developer Atlantic Management has acquired New England Confectionery Co.’s 50-acre headquarters in Revere, the candy manufacturer’s home since 2003, for $54.6 million.”