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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

History of Bulk Candy and Vending Machines

In doing a lot of research on candy, I decided to take a little
departure and write about the history of bulk candy. Sounds like "ho
hum". But really, bulk candy has a little twist in itself.

If you have followed my articles on candy, you will know that it was
mainstreamed in the late 1800's. Bulk candy did not come along until
much later. In fact, it has only been around about 75 years.

Francis Arthur (known as F.A.) Wittern, in the 1920's was employed as
a private contractor, making everything you can imagine for home and
on the job use. In 1931, he took $12.50 and created the very first
vending machine. More about that in a minute.

What I find fascinating is the figure $12.50. With that, you can by a
DVD, a purse, a case of sodas, a family sized package of hamburger
meat, or really cheap sneakers. However, wait! In reality, if you
compare the would actually be purchasing DVD players,
television sets, or computers (none of which existed in the year
1931!). According to CPI (Consumer Price Index), the equivalent of
$12.50 in 1931 to today is $176.71. I know, you cannot buy a good
television for that price. It gets better. If you compare the worth of
"unskilled labor" from 1931 to today, that same $12.50 is now worth
$528.69! Now, we are getting somewhere.

Okay, back to the original research. Bulk candy was first found in
F.A. Witterns "Peanut penny dispenser". He first placed it in a local
bar. His company, Hawkeye Novelty, was innovative in several areas.
First of all, with the bulk candy dispenser, every ninth "vend" would
result in a bell ringing, meaning the person inserting the penny would
win a free portion of peanuts! It also had the ability to
differentiate between real coins and slugs. He developed this during
the Great Depression, possibly as a means of income, since there were
no jobs to be found. During World War II, as times got tougher, Mr.
Wittern ventured out into other arenas, finally coming back to his
original invention at some point after the war.

Vending machines, dispensing bulk candy has come a long way since
then. In the late 30's, the design was changed to be able to dispense
larger items like matches. They have a different look about them even
now. The original machines were small enough to sit on a table or
countertop. Now it is very interesting and fun to watch as the gumball
spins down a screw-type slide, or lights up the machine on its way
down the chute. They not only come in a variety of shapes, but designs
as well. I have seen machines that look like old time gas pumps, or
have the old "Route 66" logo.

Today, you can see bulk candy machines in malls, children's play
areas, restaurants, gas stations, and probably bars, as well. They
have become quite the nostalgic item, still dispensing that old bulk
candy that we all love and remember so well.

Read More......

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March is Reading Month Based on a Candyland Game Theme

Inspiring kids to read can be achieved through a month-long challenge
during March is Reading Month. For every class reaching the Candy
Castle the reward is to participate in a school-wide game day (or 1/2

One idea is to use a game theme. As a school, a variation of the
Candyland game board will be hung around the school walls. This is
especially easy since the Candyland game board is made up of colored
rectangles. If not a school-wide activity, certainly this could happen
as a classroom activity.

Then, weekly bookmarks are handed out to students. Each piece of candy
is colored in for every ten minutes of reading. At the end of the week
the class minutes are totaled and then the class game piece is moved
along the school-wide game board. Or, if in individual classrooms,
each child would move his or her game piece.

To spice up the school-wide game board it is especially snazzy if the
Candyland game board characters are scanned and enlarged. This can be
done by scanning the images and then using a projector to show them on
a wall or using a document camera, and then draw around them with
black marker. Using pastel chalks is an excellent way to color the
pieces. The older children can help with this activity.

A book jog is another way to encourage reading. Kids bring in used
books from home that they would like to exchange. For every book that
a child brings in, he gets a ticket to exchange for a different book.
Create a path by taping rectangles of colored paper through the
library and around the halls. Next, lay out all of the books that have
been brought in along the path. Children travel the path looking for a
book. At the end of the path the child exchanges their tickets for the
books. By using the ticket method children can leave with as many
books as they brought. In honor of the book jog, everyone should wear
jogging suits for "Jog into Reading."

In addition to the game, theme days can correspond to the various
characters such as:

Wear Red for Dr. Seuss' Birthday and play the games on the Dr. Suess website
Wear a funny hat in honor of Lord Licorice
Wear Green in honor of St. Patrick's Day and Mama Ginger Tree
Dress as your favorite fairy tale character in honor of Princess
Frostine & King Kandy
Nutty Hair Day in honor of Gramma Nutt (a favorite of all kids is to
come to school with crazy hair!)

Inspire kids to read by bringing a challenge to your school or class this year.

Download the supplemental pages, such as the recording sheet bookmarks
from the download center within the Mastermind Group of Educators
website at

Join Kathy and a group of educators dedicated to improving student
learning through literacy and technology in the Mastermind Group of
Educators for continued support,
resources, book discounts and community in educational technology.

Kathy Cothran is an elementary media specialist committed to helping
teachers engage students through the uses of technology. Her vast
teaching experience ranges from preschool through Master's level
education classes. For years Kathy has been a "Gadget Girl." She loves
technology! Tie that to her extensive teaching background and she has
been able to interest, invigorate, and inspire children and teachers
to use technology in a rich, exciting manner.

Read More......