Conversation hearts are sold every Valentine’s Day in enormous quantities, with messages like “BE MINE” and “LOVE ME.” And it’s been that way for as long as you can remember. Would it surprise you to know that it’s been that way since 1866? That’s one year after the Civil War ended! That’s when NECCO started printing messages on their candies, though the candies were different shapes back then: baseballs, watches, postcards and horseshoes. NECCO started printing their Sweethearts conversation hearts in 1902.
A lot has changed since then, including the way people communicate. Over the years NECCO has replaced sayings like “SWEET TALK” and “MARRY ME” with sayings like “TWEET ME” and “CRAZY 4 U.” Outdated sayings like “DIG ME” and the cheerful “YOU ARE GAY” have been discontinued. NECCO says that creating mottos can be tricky. The new sayings can’t be “offensive, distasteful, or too wordy,” according to Walter Marshall, retired NECCO vice president.