PEZ was invented in 1927 in Vienna, Austria, as a peppermint flavored breath mint. At first, the candy was sold in rolls as “Drops,” similar to Life Savers and other hard candy. During the 1930s, brick-shaped PEZ was also sold in small tins that protected the candies when kept in the pocket. Customers could purchase refills that looked similar to the ones sold today, but the multi-colored plastic dispensers we associate with PEZ would not be introduced until after World War II.

The first "BOX Regular" PEZ dispensers appeared in 1949 and were shaped like cigarette lighters, which was in keeping with the candy’s positioning at the time as an aid to help people quit smoking. That same year, the words on the containers were changed to “BOX Patent,” and for a brief period, there was even a dispenser that had a small locking mechanism on the top. These locking dispensers are quite rare. In addition, many PEZ dispensers produced in postwar Germany bear the words “US Zone” on them.

Some of the first character dispensers were shaped like robots and Santa Claus. The bodies of these dispensers from 1955 went beyond the rectangular outline of the refills inside them. Instead, Santa was rotund, which the robots were bulky, with arms stiffly at their sides. One especially hard-to-find Regular PEZ from this era is the Golden Glow, which came with a round gold base, so that the dispenser could be displayed almost like a piece of sculpture.

To contemporary eyes, the most curious, and even disturbing, PEZ shape is the space gun from 1956, which came in a variety of colors and actually shot pieces of candy. Today, of course, it’s difficult to imagine a candy company expecting its young customers to put the muzzle of a gun in their mouths and pull the trigger in order to consume its product, but in the mid-1950s and ’60s, when the space gun was retooled as a handgun, the delivery device was all in good fun.

During the 1950s, as PEZ tried to gain a foothold in the United States, the flavors of the candy were expanded beyond a range of mints to include numerous fruits. And then came the characters: Popeye, a bunny, and a witch were among the first to be introduced at the end of the 1950s, followed by Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bozo the Clown and several Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse to Donald Duck, at the beginning of the 1960s. Many of these dispensers had character heads as well as additional character images die-cut into their sides (for example, Huey, Dewie, and Louie appeared on the sides of Donald Duck dispensers).

Today, some of the most sought PEZ dispensers are from the 1950s and ’60s. Wonder Woman and Thor dispensers are just two of the comic-book characters collected by fans, while the Psychedelic Hands dispensers from 1968, each of which holds an eyeball, are favorites of people who collect rock posters and ’60s psychedelia. In 1987, PEZ added feet its dispensers, so that’s one easy way to date a dispenser.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

Pez, Vintage, Mint Factory Sealed, Old Store Stock, Wolfman, Austria 2.6Pez - Sweden Gathering Dispenser 2014Vintage Pez Pony Go Round Green Mane Pink Head Red Stem No FeetPez, Vintage, Mint Factory Sealed, Old Store Stock, Creature, Austria 2.6Pez, Vintage, Near Mint, Old Store Stock, Frankenstein, Unused, Austria 2.6Ultra Rare Pez Red Olive Dispenser No Feet From The 60's - 2.60 061Pez, Vintage, Near Mint, Old Store Stock, Olive Oil, Unused, Austria 2.6Pez, Vintage, Mint Factory Sealed, Old Store Stock, Green Hornet, Austria 2.68 Pez Rare Great Special Lot Jiminy Cricket Cowboy Yellow Face Mickey Pony &morePez, Vintage, Near Mint, Old Store Stock, Brutus, Unused, Austria 2.612 Pez Rare Vintage Great Special Lot Some Mint And Some For Parts All No FeetBatman W/ Cape No Feet Pez W/ Display & Salesman Ad SheetVintage Petunia Pig Pez Dispenser W,no Feet !!Vintage - 1978 - Cat Woman - Pez No FeetDisney Princess Lesnow White & The Seven Dwarfs Pez Collector's Series Box SetVintage Pez Dispenser - Goofy *purple 3.8 Usa* DisneyPez, Vintage, Near Mint, Old Store Stock, Santa, Unused, Austria 2.6Vintage Popeye Pez Dispenser W,no Feet !!1970's Vintage Pez Dispensers - No Feet! Witch Rabbit Snowman ChickensPez Dispensers - Target Dog Christmas And Elve 2014 HolidayVintage - Astronaut - Pez No FeetVintage Doctor Blue Stem No Feet Pez Dispenser Made In Austria 2.6 Patent-102818Vintage - 1982 - Annie - Pez No FeetPez Rare Vintage Peter Pan With Very Light Hair Color Like Blonde Hair Mint13 Pez Rare Great Special Lot For Parts With Feet Vintage Captain America Pez,no Feet Candy DispenserPez - Pal Pirate Mint In Original Cello Bag Mib Vintage Wonder Woman Pez Dispenser W,no Feet !! Soft Rubber HeadVintage Batman With Cape PezRare! Vintage Bluto / Brutus Pez, No Feet, Made In Austria2014 Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 Sketch Card Pez Gpk Kid Pez Dispenser Graham 285Vintage Gorilla Pez Dispenser W,no Feet !!Pez~2014 Smurfs Click N Play~euro Release~sold Loose~ **us Seller**Pez Lim. 100made, Blue,green, Red Crystal Pumpkin E..linzgathering 2012...vhtfVintage Sj Glew Pez Holiday Colors Set Of 4 With Rare Stem Colors~vintage 1960's Octopus, Mr Ugly Pez Dispenser No Feet, Candy DispenserLot Of 124 Pez Dispensers Star Wars, Disney, Santa Looney Tunes And More!Hong Kong Ultra Rare Pez Indian Chief Dispenser No Feet From The 60's - 2.60 0613 Footless Pez Dispensers Vintage No Feet Snowman Rudolph Reindeer Daffy DuckVintage Lot Of 10 Pez Candy Dispensers Without Feet Santa, Lamb, Thor, Witch,...Mimic The Monkey Pez Made In AustriaPez Dispensers - Large Lot Vintage Pez Mmm Merry Music Maker Pig Whistle No FeetVintage Sj Glew Pez Holiday Colors Set Of 4 With Rare Stem ColorsRare Barky Brown Pez Dispenser To Help Animals Affected By Katrina 2000 MadeVintage Roar The Lion Pez Dispenser W,no Feet !!Bird W/ Flower Pez, Unusual Colors, No Feet, Vintage, Nr Vintage Pez Merry Music Maker Whistle Duck Brown Head Austria European IssueVintage No Feet Crazy Fruit Orange Rare Pez Dispenser AustriaVintage Pez Dispencer Red Olive Oyl..made In AustriaVintage Totem Tv Pals Barney Rubble Non Pez Dispenser - No Feet - NrPez Despensers - Lot Of 5Old Pez Shoes From The 60 TiesVintage Pez Captain Hook No Feet Austria Pez Franch Kiss Rare Franch Pez Gathering February 2014 Mint In BagVintage Sweet Face Bunny Pez DispenserVintage Popeye "b" Pez Dispenser, 1960. Made In Austria. No Feet. Great Cond.Lot Of 22 Vintage Pez DispensersPez Dispensers Lot Of 300 Collector SetGreen Pez Box Regular U.s. Zone Germany