PEZ mint dispenser, 1956-1960

A small ritual first needs to be performed before the sweet can be enjoyed: insert coins must into vending machine, press the button, unwrap, insert sweets into dispenser, activate dispenser, remove the sweet.

This procedure forms the basis of the brand status of the PEZ peppermint sweets. First introduced in 1927, they were initially intended to support smokers during their withdrawal phase. This was the reason for the manufacturing company Haas offering a dispenser emulating a cigarette lighter. The name "PEZ" simply strings together the first, middle and last letters of the word "Pfefferminz" (German for "peppermint"), which was the only flavour offered initially. The manufacturer only extended his product range once he discovered children to be a potential target group. Consequentially, the dispensers were designed as heads of Disney characters from 1962 onwards. Vending machines for the sweets already existed at this stage. The first one had been mounted at the Westbahnhof of Vienna in 1956.

Another tradition was the PEZ design with the lettering of the brand name made up of the rectangular sweets and the uniformed "PEZ girl" offering a sweet from the PEZ dispenser. The top-heavy cigarette lighter imitations have become collector's items – the reason for this lies in another small PEZ story: apparently, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar had the idea to start an Internet auction house after his wife – a passionate collector of PEZ dispensers – asked him to set up a platform on which she could exchange these items with other like-minded people. The charming legend is also maintained by eBay itself. A display cabinet for PEZ dispensers as well as a vending machine are on exhibit at the German central office in Kleinmachnow.


Inv.Nr. 35186
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