Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Co. in Philadelphia. After Wunderlee went out of business in the early 1900s, the Goelitz Confectionery Company (located at the time in Cincinnati) took up the task and has been continuously producing the treat for over a century.
In the beginning, making candy corn was a complicated task done by hand. First, the ingredients (sugar, water and corn syrup) were cooked in huge buckets. Then, fondant (a sweet, creamy icing) and marshmallow were added. Once the mixture was cooked, a massive 45 pound serving of the hot sugary liquid was poured into large, hand-held kettles. Last, men walked backwards to pour the syrupy concoction into corn-kernel-shaped trays.
The workers had to make three passes to create the yellow, orange and white layers - one color at a time. Air conditioning and fans did not exist yet, so the candy had to cool naturally. In fact, the process was so complicated that candy corn was only manufactured from March to November.
However, no matter how tedious process was, the end result was well worth it: the multi-colored candy was seen as a novelty, and sugar-loving customers rushed to purchase it. Its name and unique kernel shape made it especially popular among farmers and agricultural workers.
Now, thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, more than 35 million pounds of candy corn is made every year. Variations of the sweet show up not only during Halloween, but during Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day. There is even a caramel apple flavored version.
And the centuries-old Goelitz Confectionery Company? It's now known as Jelly Belly.
For those of you watching your waistline, keep in mind that candy corn is fat-free and only has 3.57 calories per piece. So when National Candy Corn Day rolls around on October 30th, you can have your cake - well, candy corn - and eat it, too.