The Old School Candy That's Barely Changed In Over A Century

Do you love Mary Jane? Have you missed Mary Jane terribly? And no, you don't need to escort the kids out of the room before you answer — we're talking, of course, about the classic soft, chewy, peanut butter-and-molasses candies that were invented back in 1914. According to Mental Floss, that's when Charles N. Miller, son of candymaker Charles H. Miller, hit upon the formula for what he thought would be a compulsively snackable and top-selling candy — and he was right.

The Millers had gotten into the candy game 30 years prior, in 1884, and started selling their confections out of their Boston home. But it was Charles Jr.'s invention — a sticky, taffy-like mixture of roasted peanuts, sugar, and molasses (via Instacart) — that really got the Millers attention. Quickly selling out of dime stores when it was sold as penny candy the very same year it was invented, Mary Jane was such a hit that it was later purchased by Stark Candy Co., and then by the New England Confectionery Company — aka Necco (via New England Today). But Mary Jane lovers everywhere were devastated when, in 2018, Necco's Revere, Massachusetts, factory abruptly closed its doors after years of financial difficulties.

Mary Janes are back, baby

The fate of chewy, peanut butter-and-molasses taffies Mary Janes was up in the air for a full two years after the candy producer Necco declared bankruptcy and then shuttered its Massachusetts factory in 2018. According to New England Today, the candymaker's brands, including Necco Wafers, were sold off to other companies — and Mary Janes finally found a home in 2020 when the Texas candy company Atkinson's purchased the treats (via The Boston Globe).

According to the Globe, Atkinson's has stuck pretty closely to the original Mary Jane boiled up in Boston back in 1914, and its ingredients remain the same. But the candymaker made a few key edits for easier eatin', according to company president Eric Atkinson: Mary Janes 2.0 are rounder in shape, a bit smaller in size, and the wrapper features twisted ends that no longer stick to the candy. If you're jonesing for some Mary Jane, you can find it on Atkinson's candy website.