Tootsie Roll

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This article is about the candy. For the manufacturer of the candy, see Tootsie Roll Industries.
A small Tootsie Roll ("Midgee")
A large Tootsie Roll log

Tootsie Roll is chocolate flavored, taffy-like candy that has been manufactured in the United States since 1907. The candy has qualities similar to both caramels and taffy without being exactly either type, and does not melt while being transported during hot summer months.[1] The manufacturer, Tootsie Roll Industries, is based in Chicago, Illinois. It was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped in America.[2]


A patriotic advertisement for Tootsie Rolls during World War I

In 1896, according to the official story, its founder Leo Hirshfield (Hirschfield) (d. 1922), an Austrian immigrant to the United States of America, started his candy business in a small shop located in New York City. In 1935, the company was in serious difficulty. Concerned about the possible loss of an important customer, Tootsie Roll's principal supplier of paper boxes, Joseph Rubin & Sons of Brooklyn, became interested in the possibility of acquiring control. The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but Bernard D. Rubin acquired a list of shareholders and approached them in person in order to purchase their shares. The Rubin family eventually achieved control and agreed that Bernard would run the company as president. Bernard D. Rubin was able to steadily increase sales and restore profits, changing the formula of the Tootsie Roll and increasing its size, moving from Manhattan to a much larger plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, and guiding the company successfully through the difficult war years during which vital raw materials were in short supply. When he died in 1948, he had increased the sales volume twelvefold.

After his death his brother William B. Rubin served as president until 1962, when his daughter Ellen Rubin Gordon, took control, and as of January 2015, is chairman and CEO of the company.[3] For many years prior to his death, her husband, Melvin Gordon, was Chairman and CEO.[4]

Tootsie Roll Industries (name adopted in 1966) is one of the largest candy manufacturers in the world. Approximately 64 Million Tootsie Rolls are made daily. [5]

According to the company website, the original (and still current) recipe calls for the inclusion of the previous day's batch. "As such, there's (theoretically) a bit of Leo's very first Tootsie Roll in every one of the eighty three million Tootsie Rolls that Tootsie produces each day."[6]

The real story of Leo Hirschfield[edit]

As early as 1896 Hirschfield, son of an Austrian candy maker was an employee of the Stern & Staalberg company in Manhattan, New York, owned by Julius Stern and Jacob Saalberg, and started out inventing Bromangelon Jelly Powder, not inventing Tootsie Rolls until 1907 after patenting a technique to give them their unique texture; the first Tootsie Rolls were marketed in September 1908. After rising to vice-president and seeing it change its name to Sweets Company of America in 1917, after which Stern and Staalberg retired and the new management outranked him, he quit or was fired in 1920, starting Mells Candy, which went bankrupt, causing him to commit suicide January 13, 1922 in his room at the Monterey Hotel in Manhattan, leaving the note "I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it".[7] He never ran a candy shop in Brooklyn.[8]

Korean War[edit]

During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950, mortar sections under the United States Marine Corps started to run out of mortar rounds. The radio men of these sections started requesting more rounds. There were too many nearby enemy anti-air emplacements however, and the risk that they might lose any airlifted supplies was too great, so they had to wait. After two days of waiting, all the mortar sections ran out of rounds. At this point they accidentally ordered hundreds of crates of Tootsie Roll candies instead of mortar rounds. This was because some elements of the United States military had used "tootsie rolls" as code for mortar rounds.[9]


Captain Tootsie[edit]

Captain Tootsie is an advertisement comic strip created for Tootsie Rolls in 1943 by C C Beck, Peter Costanza and Bill Schreider (1950 onwards). It featured the title character Captain Tootsie and his sidekick, a boy named Rollo (a black-haired boy), and three other young cohorts named Fatso (a red-haired boy), Fisty (a brown haired girl), and Sweetie (a blonde haired girl).[10] It had stories in the form of full color one-page Sunday strips, black and white daily strips, and two issues of a comic book of the same title released by Toby Press. The advertisement comic was featured by many publishers and in the newspapers. Within the context of the stories, Captain Tootsie was quite strong and quicker to the punch than any of his enemies. His stories were light and "kid-friendly". Captain Tootsie's comic strip ads ended in the 1950s.


The Tootsie Roll jingle, "Whatever It Is I Think I See," was recorded at Blank Tape Studios, New York in 1976. It is still occasionally played today. It aired on television regularly for more than 20 years, mostly during Saturday morning cartoon programming. The jingle was sung by a nine-year-old girl, Rebecca Jane, and a 13-year-old boy, the children of jazz musicians and friends of the song's composer.[11] The girl still has the original reel-to-reel audio tape recording.[12]


The current U.S. ingredients of a chocolate Tootsie Roll are: sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, condensed skim milk, cocoa, whey, soy lecithin, and natural and artificial flavors.[13]

In 2009, Tootsie Rolls became certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.[14]

Alternate flavors[edit]

In addition to the traditional cocoa-flavored Tootsie Roll, several additional flavors have been introduced. Known as Tootsie Fruit Rolls, flavors include cherry, orange, vanilla, lemon, and lime. These varieties are wrapped in red, orange, blue, yellow and green wrappers, respectively. Tootsie Frooties come in numerous different fruit flavors including red strawberry, blue raspberry, grape, green apple, banana-berry, smooth cherry, fruit punch, pink lemonade, root beer, cran blueberry and watermelon.

In other countries[edit]

Tootsie Rolls have been introduced to Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Aruba, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Panama, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica.


  1. ^ Kawash, Samira (February 1, 2010). "Chocolate? Tootsie Rolls". Candy Professor. 
  2. ^ Manny Fernandez, "Let Us Now Praise the Great Men of Junk Food", New York Times, August 7, 2010.
  3. ^ Kesling, Ben (August 22, 2012). "Tootsie's Secret Empire". The Wall Street Journal. pp. B1–B2. 
  4. ^ Griswold, Alison (21 January 2015). "Tootsie Roll CEO's Death Shines Wall Street Spotlight on Secretive Candy Empire" – via Slate. 
  5. ^ Tootsie Roll Industries FAQ's Retrieved 25 April 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Welcome to Tootsie – Tootsie Roll Product Information. (2014-05-04). Retrieved on 2014-06-03.
  7. ^ "KILLS HIMSELF IN HOTEL.; Illness and Wife's Breakdown Are Blamed for Candy Man's Suicide.". 14 January 1922 – via 
  8. ^ "Tootsie Roll Tragedy: The Real Leo Hirschfeld Story". 3 February 2010. 
  9. ^ Veterans remember Chosin Reservoir battle. Retrieved on 2012-01-03.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Letter from Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. December 5, 1996.
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Tootsie Roll Midgees Candy, 12 oz". Walmart. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Tootsie Roll Goes Kosher. (2009-12-02). Retrieved on 2012-01-03.

External links[edit]