Nik-L-Nip and other Wondrous & Weird Waxy Candy!

Ah… wax candy.  As a kid, I never really understood the appeal, and frankly I was a bit afraid of the syrupy contents of some of these.  But my friends and classmates seemed to enjoy them, and as I’ve found over the years, they were not alone.   Things like wax lips and Nik-L-Nips are still around today, and still evoke powerful memories for those that had them in their youths.

For today’s piece, I’m going to share a series of trade ads and clippings from the early 70’s era.  I don’t have much in the way of packaging for any of these wax treats.  It seems that, for the most part, the packaging was an afterthought where this category of confection was concerned, and it rarely stood out by itself.  It was the syrup-filled contents that were the stars of the show.  That was certainly the case in the early 1970’s.

By my estimate, this era was a time of intense competition between two of the biggest wax novelty candy manufacturers; Glenn Confections and W&F Manufacturing.  Their ads in the candy trades during this time were full-color and plentiful. Which is good for us today, as I get to use those ads to show you a nice cross-section of what was available.

Before I get to those, I’d like to mention Nik-L-Nips, certainly one of the stars of the wax novelty world.  Originally produced by W&F, they’re still around and are now a product of the Tootsie company.  Tootsie has acquired several of these nostalgic brands over the years, and has used their confectionery power to allow them to live on, where in some cases they might have disappeared.  That’s pretty cool, in my book.

Now let’s take a look at what the world of wax candy looked like circa 1970:

I’m going to start with something you just wouldn’t find today – a wax six-shooter.

W&F Wax Novelties – Syrup Six Shooter – candy trade clipping – February 1969

Oh, wax guns and bunnies – they really do go together.   I don’t think I need to point out the issue some folks would have with the wax six-shooter seen here.  Simpler times.

W&F Manufacturing – Six Shooter centsational seller – candy trade ad – March 1970

W&F Manufacturing – Nik-L-Nip and more – candy trade ad – March 1969

W&F Manufacturing – centsational sellers – candy trade ad – February 1970

Next up is another W&F trade ad – this time focusing on their Halloween offerings.  In my opinion, Halloween is when these wax treats really shined.  This particular trade ad has some pretty awesome items pictured.  Anyone remember this wax-filled monster?:

W&F Manufacturing – Halloween centsational selling items – candy trade ad – May 1970

Next up are the trade ads I’ve collected from the other big name in wax confections – Glenn.  I first became aware of Glenn Confections due to their wax whistle, as one was in a scrapbook of gum wrappers that my pal Dan Goodsell had found years ago:

Glenn Confections Wowee Whistle packaging – and whistle.

I’ll get back to Wowee, but for now, here’s more of the whole Glenn lineup from the period:

Glenn Confections – Summer Money Makers – candy trade ad – March 1969

As you can see, Glenn was producing similar items to what W&F was.  I suppose you can’t trademark filling a wax gun with flavored syrup.  And once again, a wondrous mix of waxy forms; daggers and frogs.

Glenn Confections – 7 Fast Selling Items – candy trade ad – January 1970

This next ad has some really cool pieces that aren’t included in the other ads:  A syrup-filled space gun, a syrup-filled caterpillar (pretty gross for 1971), syrup-filled tools, and Chew-A-Toon, the same wax gum whistle that would be called Wowee for Halloween.

Glenn Confections – makes the change – candy trade ad – January 1971

Next up is a great ad featuring Glenn’s Halloween offerings for 1970.  I’ll bet a lot of you will remember these, or ones similar to these:

Glenn Confections – Fast Selling Items for Halloween – candy trade ad – April 1970

You can see that same Halloween witch whistle in this 1970 trade ad.   According to the annotated date in that gum scrapbook, the one included there is from 1986 – so that design lasted quite a while.  It was clear that they put a lot of promotion into it, as it received a dedicated ad the same year:

Glenn Confections – Wowee Wax Halloween Harmonica – candy trade ad – July 1970

And that’s everything I’ve got to share today on the phenomena that is syrup-filled-wax confections.  I’ll admit that I still don’t quite understand them, but I can’t argue with their appeal – people do love the things.

Honestly, I’m still a bit afraid of that syrup.

See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others.

Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books.

Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com.

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11 Responses to Nik-L-Nip and other Wondrous & Weird Waxy Candy!

  1. azog says:

    I would probably disagree slightly in the statement that the packaging was an afterthought. I find the Nik-L-Nips packaging quite interesting, if a little on the minimalist side. Since you said they’re still around, I had to look them up, and would have to say the current packaging is pretty dull.

    Of the wax candies, I think those were my favorites. Never liked the wax lips, and I get a really strange taste memory when looking at the wax whistles and harmonica.

  2. corduroy cat says:

    I loved the lips, and even though it was strange to chew wax I did enjoy it. I remember having a wax whistle for Halloween one year (most likely early 80s) and thinking it was too large. The syrup was definitely the best part of the bottles!

  3. veg-o-matic says:

    It’s interesting that the two companies were practically around the corner from each other.
    (For some reason I feel compelled to Google Map addresses of old companies.)

    • jasonliebig says:

      Yeah, after posting this one, I went back and noticed that they were so close. I did some additional reading, and it almost sounds like one company was a part of the other. But it’s weird, because these trade ads crossed-over each other in years. If they were the same company, why the use of both names within the trade? And why were both companies producing nearly the same, certainly competing products, year after year?

  4. jb says:

    Had forgotten about the wax harmonicas.

  5. The Old Wolf says:

    Halloween wax harmonicas were a special treat, I loved finding these available and they were often party favors at my Halloween parties when I was a kid. (1950’s). Nik-L-Nips were – yes, a nickel at the variety store across the street, and I remember the syrup-filled six-shooters well. In the 1960’s, after Atlantis, the Lost Continent came out, for a brief time little wax “death ray machines” were available as well.

    Thanks for the great stroll down memory lane.

  6. Dig Sandy says:

    Wow, I had forgotten about the Wowee wax whistles–I loved those! The syrup-filled bottles, etc., you just bit the top off in order to drink the syrup, then you usually tossed the empty wax bottles. Not so the Wowee or the wax lips –you ate the whole dang thing! They were not syrup-filled, but hollow and the wax was flavored. It was delicious to a 7-year-old! Thanks for the memories…:)

  7. Robert G Cole says:

    I still have a half dozen of the monster wax figures still preserved in my mother’s refrigerator. Thrilled to see a picture of one in an ad!

  8. Pingback: 13 Vintage Candy & Snack Wrappers From My Childhood | Modern Superior

  9. Michael Douglas says:

    Terrific set of Glenn Confection/W&F Wax ads that brought back lots of great memories for me… especially Halloween! Seems every Halloween in the 1960s/early 70s I got some of these items. I especially liked the wax syrup-filled monsters, cause after drinking the syrup they could be toys or decorations (only wish I’d kept all the ones I got). The packaging was especially memorable — the monsters with the distinctive “scary” writing, the “mustachio” distinctive old-tyme writing, the cute nose/mustache with the drawn eyes on the card, the clown mouth, sugar lips, tongue and horse teeth. I’d love to have all those old cards now! And the Wowee Whistles! Always got at least 2 or 3 of those while trick or treating. I’d usually not even chew up these so-called “fun gum” wax items, but just keep them intact (except maybe a couple in desperation, after all my Halloween candy/gum was gone! LOL). As I recall, they didn’t taste very good, and didn’t quite “chew” like chewing gum. Also remember getting long wax fingernails (or claws?) at times, as well. Thanks for posting!!!

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