M&Ms on display at Edwardsburg Museum

Published 11:38 am Monday, November 16, 2015

Today’s trivia question is: “What melts in your mouth and not in your hand?”

If you know this answer you are either a candy hound, have grandchildren, or love chocolate.

The answer of course, is M&Ms. Which brings up today’s story.

The Edwardsburg Museum in getting ready for the holidays and have put out a new display of M&M Collectibles. There are more than 300 pieces from all over the world depicting holidays, events and just plain candy.

This display came from an idea used in the display of candy developed in the 1960s. While M&Ms were first made in 1941 before the 60s they were sold in 100 countries. Even M&M collectibles have been popular.

The museum is displaying the collection of Jill Boepple. She has been collecting with the help of her friends and family for over 20 years. Her collection includes many item M&M items sold in other countries.

M&Ms were originally produced in a factory in Newark, New Jersey in 1941 when it was called M&M limited. The founders Forrest E. Mars Sr., son of the founder if the Mars Company and Bruce Murrie, son of Hershey’s president William Murrie, had a 20 percent share in the product and had control of the rationed chocolate at the time. During the war chocolate was rationed but the candy became very popular with soldiers during World War II.

Because of the increased demand for the candy, the company moved to large quarters in Newark and the candy was sold exclusively to the military.  In 1958 the factory was moved to even larger quarters in Hackettstown, N.J.

A black M was imprinted on the candies in 1950 and changed to a white M in 1954.

M&M fillings come in a variety of flavors with new ones added every year. Some of the fillings are milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint, peanuts, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry, cinnamon, birthday cake, pumpkin spice and many more flavors.

In 1995 a color campaign was conducted with a choice of colors, purple, blue, or pink. Blue was the winner and, in honor of the choice, The Empire State Building in New York was lit in blue. With the Blue campaign, computer characters were created as “spokescandies.” There were originally six colors: orange, red, yellow, green, blue and tan with all being males except two of them green and tan, being female. Tan was discontinued when blue appeared.

M&Ms were the official candy of the new millennium because the roman numeral for 2000 is M&M.

What has become collectibles are the containers, packaging, dispensers, and most anything you can put the MM logo on.

In the display are more than 300 of these items, along with free M&Ms for all visitors. Visit the Candyland of MMs on the evening of Nov. 28 during the community tree lighting ceremony. The museum will be open from 5 to 7 p.m.

The museum also has the Churches of the Dalrymples Dept. 59 collection in the old house section and a 1960s Christmas in the main room.

Just a reminder that the Muldoon sisters will be at the museum at 7 p.m. today to share their experiences with the Bonnie Doon Ice Cream factory, Raab’s grocery store and growing up at Garver Lake. The sisters are Bonnie Muldoon Witt and Darlene Muldoon Raab.


Jo-Ann Boepple works at the Edwardsburg Area History Museum.