Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 11, 2013

Life Saver celebrates 100 years in existence

By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
Daily Iowegian

EXLINE — I hope everyone had a nice time ringing in the New Year! Now, everyone will have to get used to writing 2013 on everything. It always seems like it takes a while to get use to doing that.

The recipe for this week is one that is quite different. My wife Denise, says a person she works with serves this to her family and they really enjoy it. It is called:


Spaghetti Pie


6 oz. of spaghetti

2 Tb. of butter

1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

2 well beaten eggs

1 c. cottage cheese

1 lb. ground beef

½ c. chopped onion

¼ c. green pepper (optional)

1 c. tomatoes, cut up or you may use juice

1 six oz. can of tomato paste

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. oregano

½ c. mozzarella cheese

½ tsp. garlic salt



Cook spaghetti and drain. Stir in the butter to the hot spaghetti. Add the parmesan cheese and the eggs and mix together. Form the spaghetti mixture into a crust, in a buttered 10 inch pie pan. Spread the cottage cheese over the crust.

In a skillet, cook the ground beef with the onion and (optional green pepper) until the meat is browned.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, oregano and garlic salt to the meat. Heat thoroughly in the skillet. Pour the meat mixture into the spaghetti crust.

Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Bake five minutes more. This recipe will make six servings.


Did you know that in 2012 the all time favorite candy Life Savers, celebrated its 100th anniversary.

It all began back in 1912, when a chocolate candy maker named Clarence A. Crane invented the Pep-O-Mint flavor to create a candy that could withstand the summer heat, since in those days before air conditioning, chocolate would melt in the summertime, when it got hot. Since the candies were round, they resembled a life preserver, so that is how they got their name of Life Savers.

Mr. Crane registered his trademark for Life Savers and then sold the rights and the formula for the candy to Edward John Nobel for his round peppermint candy for $2,900 in 1913.   

Mr. Crane had been selling his candy in cardboard rolls. After Mr. Nobel bought the company, he had the Life Savers wrapped in tin-foil packaging to keep the candy fresh.

That same year, Nobel founded the Mint Products Company in New York City to produce his Pep-O-mint round candies.      

This process of wrapping the candy was all done by hand until 1919. At that time Edward Nobel’s brother, Robert Peckham Nobel developed a process to streamline the process and he created a machine that would wrap the tin-foil around the candies, thus saving time to produce the product.

Also that same year, six new flavors were added to the candy. They included Wint-O-Green, Cl-O-ve, Lic-O-Riche, Cinn-O-Mon, Vi-O-let and Choc-O-Late. These flavors became their standard flavors and were in production until 1920. A flavor called Malt-O-Milk was introduced but was not received very well by the public so it was dropped form production after a few years.

In the early days Edward Nobel created marketing techniques that offered in store samples of the Life Savers candy. That way the customers could taste the hard candy for themselves. He also had displays set up by businesses cash registers at such places as restaurants, drug stores, saloons, cigar stores and barber shops. At first he had the owners give the customer an extra nickel back in their change, so they could purchase a pack of Life Savers before they left the establishment. This helped to increase the sales of the candy and helped to make the customers familiar with the product.

By 1921 the  company bean to make solid fruit drops. Up until that time the hard candy was round but did not have a hole in the center. By 1925, they had the technology to make holes in the center of their fruit candies. At that time the candy was available in three flavors lime, lemon and orange. They were sold in rolls that contained all of one flavor.

The new flavors were a big hit with the public and they soon added butter rum, root beer, cola and anise but they were not as well received.  

Also in 1925 aluminum foil replaced the tin-foil as the packaging on the rolled candies which continued to preserve their freshness.

In 1931, a Life Saver cough drop was added to their product line, with a menthol taste but it did not do well, so it was withdrawn.

Soon rolls of cherry and pineapple were also marketed in 1931. Since these two flavors were liked soon a Cryst-O-Mint flavor came out, with its crystal like appearance in 1932.     

These were eventually followed by a five flavor roll of Life Savers that were introduced in 1935. They contained orange, pineapple, lemon, cherry and lime flavors.

By the late 1930s and early 1940s, four new mint flavors came out. They were Spear-O-Mint, Molas-O-Mint, Stick-O-Mint and Choc-O-Mint.

Sugar was rationed during world War II, so other candy manufacturers donated their ration of sugar so the Life Saver candies could continue production. That way, the military personnel who were fighting the war, could enjoy a taste of home, with 23 million boxes of them being distributed to the troops.

Robert P. Nobel became the major share holder in the Life Saver Company and was the company’s Chief Executive Officer for more than 40 years. Finally by 1950, he sold the company and it went out of their family ownership.  

After that, the company passed through many different owners. By 1956, Life Savers Limited, merged with Beech-Nut. Then the Beech-Nut, Life Savers company merged with the E.R. Squibb Corporation in 1968.

After the E.R. Squibb Corporation owned Life Savers, they sold them by 1981, to  Nabisco Brands Incorporated. Nabisco introduced a new cinnamon flavor called Hot Cin-o-Mon and was a clear fruit drop style. This replaced the white Cinn-O-Min flavor which had been discontinued. They also discontinued some of the other older flavors once Nabisco acquired the company, to cut production costs.  

After nearly 70 years of having the traditional five flavor packs of cherry, lime, orange, lemon and pineapple Life Saver rolls, three of the original flavors were dropped. The flavors they no longer produced were orange, lime and lemon. In their place, they introduced blackberry, watermelon and raspberry. After a time, blackberry was dropped and the orange flavor was added back into the roll of candy. However, the original five flavors of Life Savers can still be purchased in Canada.

Life Savers were produced in Holland, Mich. for quite some time before being moved to Montréal, Quebec, Canada to save money due to sugar prices. The company had its headquarters in Port Chester, N.Y. where Life Savers were made from 1920 until 1984. That old building was sold and made into apartments. By 1985, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  

In 1987, the Canadian Life Savers company was bought by Hershey Canada. Then, by 1996 the Canadian Life Savers, which was owned by Hershey, was acquired by Beta Brands Limited.   

By the year 2000, Kraft bought the American life Saver Company from Nabisco.

Then in 2000, they acquired the Canadian life Savers business from Beta Brands.

In 2004, the Life Savers business was acquired by the William Wrigley, Jr. Company of Chicago, Ill. which is known for making gum. After they bought the company they introduced the first two new mint flavors in 60 years in 2006. They were Sweet Mint and Orange Mint. They also brought back the Wint-O-Green flavor.  

By April 28, 2008 Wrigley sold Life Savers to Mars Incorporated, the candy bar company. After that, the Wrigley Company operated as a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, which is located in McLean, Va. and is a family owned business.

In 2012 the Life Saver candy celebrated its 100th anniversary. In April of last year, they announced they would donate money to 100 charities. Customers who purchased specially marked, 100th anniversary packs of Life Savers and entered the code on their web-site through the month of August, were part of their Connect for A Cause promotion.   

For each of these codes that were entered, they would donate $1 to the  100 chosen charities that were also listed on the same web site. They hoped to donate up to $250,00 to these charities. This was their token of sharing for the 100 years that the famous candy was used in the same way.

Also, to help celebrate, a big party was held at the company’s Chattanooga, Tenn. factory, where Life Saver mints are produced.

A lot of children awake on Christmas morning to find the old fashioned Life Savers Hard Candy Sweet Story Books, full of a variety of Life Saver rolls of candy, in their stocking. It is a tradition that has been going on for years and they are still available to this day.

There are an estimated one million places in the United States, where you can buy Life Savers candies. So, the next time you enjoy one of these delightful hard candies with the famous hole in the center, remember you are enjoying a treat that is more than 100 years old.   

Just a reminder, bricks are still available to purchase for the Church Bell pedestal in Hero’s Park, in Exline. If you are interested in purchasing one or more, you may call (641) 895-2691 for further information. If purchased now, the inscriptions will be placed on the bricks in the springtime.