The snack was invented after the Second World War by James Marker of Dayton, Ohio and W.T. Hawkins. The pair were living in Chicago when they discovered a method, by trial and error, of extruding cornmeal, casting it into fingerling shapes, then deep frying it in vegetable shortening and sprinkling it with genuine cheddar cheese. Production was moved to Tweed, Ontario in 1949 where the recipe was perfected and the W.T. Hawkins Ltd. plant established.
Production was moved to a factory in Belleville, Ontario in 1956 after fire destroyed the original plant in Tweed. They concentrated exclusively on Cheezies after dropping other snack foods from their portfolio. The snack has been produced in the same facility ever since and continues to be sold across Canada. Marker's original machine is still used to manufacture Cheezies at the company's plant, as of 2012. No two Cheezies pieces are exactly alike. Marker remained Vice President of the W. T. Hawkin Company until his death in 2012. He last visited the Cheezies factory for a surprise inspection in March 2012.
Old Dutch Foods produced two similar products in the 1970s, cheese-flavoured "Crunchys" and barbecue-flavoured. The latter were discontinued and Old Dutch continues to produce the cheese-flavoured Crunchys in two flavours.
- Morrow, Adrian (2012-05-03). "James Marker Moulded Cheezies into a Canadian Icon". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
- Lesley Ciarula Taylor "Cheezies inventor dies in Bellevile, Ont., at 90" Toronto Star, 3 May 2012
- "Canada loses Cheezie Whiz", The Calgary Sun, QMI Agency, Friday, May 4, 2012
- Hawkins History
- Old Dutch Foods:Crunchys