Every year the Hallmarkiest of Hallmark holidays comes around in mid-February. Of course I mean Valentine’s Day. People who are together feel pressure to do something grand and people who are alone get depressed. We all eat too much candy. Kids bring card-ettes to school and often lace them with less than flattering aphorisms.
In the USA Miss Esther Howland has credit for receiving and sending the first valentine cards in 1847. Commercially produced cards were introduced earlier in Europe right around 1800 – the first mechanical cards in 1840.
Then there are the candy hearts. How can anyone actually ingest those chalky, flavorless lumps with trite sayings tattooed in Red #6? The first conversation hearts were introduced in the 1860’s by the founder of the NECCO Company founder. The hand-made candy hearts included lengthy entreaties such as,
“Please send a lock of your hair by return mail.”
Finally they were tightened up and factory-made by the NECCO Company in 1902 and since then have sported favorite sayings like: kiss me, sweet talk, and be mine. 2004 brought the internet-based IM ME to the hearts.
The mind swims with the awfulness.
Over the years NECCO has eliminated sayings when they become out-dated, such as the funky “Dig Me” and the cheerful, “you are gay”.
A full production run contains 1.7 million pieces and NECCO will sell about 8 billion candy hearts in six weeks. They have a shelf life of 5 years.
Thanks to the folks at despair.com there’s a valentines candy heart for the rest of us.
… maybe it’s just me?