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Jawbreaker plate.jpg
Gobstoppers of various sizes and colours. The largest one is 3 inches (~7.5 cm) in diameter
Alternative namesJawbreaker, Jawbuster
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsSugar

Gobstoppers, also known as jawbreakers in the United States, are a type of hard candy. They are usually round, and usually range from 1 to 3 cm (0.4 to 1.2 in) across; though gobstoppers can be up to 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter.[citation needed]

The term gobstopper derives from "gob", which is slang in the United Kingdom and Ireland for mouth. The sweet was a favourite among British schoolboys in the first half of the twentieth century.[1]

Gobstoppers usually consist of a number of layers, each layer dissolving to reveal a differently coloured (and sometimes differently flavoured) layer, before dissolving completely. Gobstoppers are too hard to bite without risking dental damage (hence the name "jawbreaker").[citation needed]

Gobstoppers have been sold in traditional sweet shops for at least a century, often sold by weight from jars. As gobstoppers dissolve very slowly, they last a very long time in the mouth, which is a major factor in their popularity.


A cross section of a rainbow gobstopper, showing coloured layers of sugar

Gobstoppers are made by slowly depositing layers onto a core (such as a pressed ball of sugar, a single seed of anise or a gumball).[2][3] Gobstoppers are made in large, rotating, heated pans. This is called "hot panning". The candies take several weeks to manufacture, as the process of adding liquid sugar is repeated multiple times. Natural and artificial colours and flavours are also added during the panning process.

Everlasting Gobstoppers[edit]

The Everlasting Gobstoppers, sold under Nestlé's Willy Wonka Candy Company brand, were first introduced in 1976 by Breaker Confections,[4] and are named after the Everlasting Gobstoppers in Roald Dahl's children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In Dahl's story, Everlasting Gobstoppers are purported to last forever. Dahl named the sweet after gobstoppers, which were a favourite among British schoolboys between the two World Wars.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory[edit]

In the 1964 children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, British author Roald Dahl described "Everlasting Gobstoppers," a fictional gobstopper that could never get smaller or be finished.

Ed, Edd n Eddy[edit]

In the animated series Ed, Edd n Eddy, jawbreakers are humongous, and the entire show revolves around them. Most episodes feature the titular main characters running a variety of scams to earn money to buy jawbreakers. They are also the main subject of the video game adaptation Ed, Edd n Eddy: Jawbreakers!

Happy Tree Friends[edit]

In the animated television series Happy Tree Friends, Nutty attempts to eat a jawbreaker, but he ends up breaking his jaw trying to bite it in half, and it's indestructible, unbreakable and stone-harded candy, from the episode "Chew Said a Mouthful".


The 1999 American teen black comedy Jawbreaker centers around the main characters accidentally killing their friend after gagging her with a jawbreaker.

Notable incidents[edit]

Large gobstoppers sold in a children's store

In 2003, Taquandra Diggs, a nine-year-old girl in Starke, Florida, suffered severe burns, allegedly from biting on an exploding Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper that had been refrigerated, left out in the sun, then refrigerated again. Diggs and several other alleged victims' families filed lawsuits against Nestlé for medical bills resulting from plastic surgery as well as pain and suffering; the matters were later settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b John Ayto (2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. p. 154. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ How it's Made Season 7 Episode 02
  3. ^ Walter, Eugene (2001). Hints & pinches. Athens, GA: Hill Street Press. p. 18. ISBN 9781892514981.
  4. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (October 30, 2009). "Willy Wonka lives in Chicagoland". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Archived from the original on November 4, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ "Florida Girl Injured In Bizarre Candy Episode". The Smoking Gun. 2011. Archived from the original on February 13, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  6. ^ "Jawbreaker Candy Explodes, Burns Fla. Girl's Face". WKMG Orlando. 2011. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.

External links[edit]