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    

Rare Clear Test Stem Pez Dispensers - Prototype Crystal Halloween Set Of 5 RarePez Witch 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Pez Astronaut A 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Pez Very Rare Vintage Muselix A Panoramix Dargaud / Dargaut 74 Asterix Series Pez One Eyed Monster 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Pez Mickey Mouse Die Cut Stem 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Pez Bulldog From Mini Cooper Promo Pez Mr Ugly 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Ibex Men's Original Pez Zipper Cardigan Sweater, Merino Wool, Usa, Med M, Euc!Pez Popeye 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Nf Mr Ugly Pez Dispenser Lot - No Feet, 3 + 1 Mib Mint In Bag - RareRare! Vintage Pink Pez Bunny Rabbit Dispenser Austria L@@k!Pez Octopus 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Vintage 1976 Uncle Sam Pez Dispenser (bicentennial Patriotic Usa Flag Hat)Vintage Batman Pez With Cape No Feet Excellent Condition Made In AustriaPez Dispenser, Bullwinkle Moose, Rare All Yellow, No Feet, Perfect HeadVintage Pez - Pal DoctorRare Vintage Pez Dispenser Space Man Astronaut No Feet Austria 2.6Pez Zorro 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!4 Rare Vintage Fat Eared Bunny Pez No FeetPez Rare Vintage Olympic Snowman With Long Carrot Nose And Soft Red Rubber HatVintage Cocoa Marsh Pez Astronaut, No Feet, Austria, 2.620.061, No ReserveVintage Regular Pez Candy Dispenser No Feet Austria Transparent Yellow #2620061Pez Indian Chief 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Pez Vintage LotNo Feet Kooky Zoo Light Blue Bull Cow Pez B 3.4 Austria, Vintage, Rare!! Vintage Peter Pan Pez Dispenser Austtia No FeetVintage Pez Dispencer Lavender/yellow Easter Feet..made In AustriaVintage Pez Pal Mexican Austria Sombrero Mustache No Feet Near Mint Dispenser Vtg Pez Stewardess Blonde Light Blue Hat W/ Emblem No Feet Austria Teal BodyRare Pez Icee Bear And Pez Pals Misfits Moc 2 Pez Rare Vintage Indian Chief Multy Colors Headdress & Vending Box & Club Med Pez Dispenser Vintage Indian Chief Marbelized11 - Pez No Feet Candy Dispensers Casper Peter Pan Mickey LotPez Nurse Vintage Red Hair Vintage Pez Crazy Fruit Series ~ Orange W Leaves No Feet AustriaVintage Mickey Mouse Die Cut Stem Pez Dispenser Austria No Feet 2.6 Pat MinniePez King Louie 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Vintage No Feet Pez - Santa ALtd Toys Stamp & 1970's No Feet Pez Flesh Face Popeye "c" Lot Q-13Pez Pal Mexican Boy W/accessories Vintage No Feet Pat.2 620 061 Austria Vtg 1960's Sheriff Pez Dispenser No Feet Us Pat 3.4 Rare Austria NrRare Pez Dispenser No Feet Pony Go Round Blue Mane Orange Head Yellow Stem Rare! Vintage Violet Pez Bunny Rabbit Dispenser Austria L@@k!Vintage Pez - Pal NursePez Doctor 1970sPez Dispenser Vintage Black Cat AustriaVintage Pez Dispenser Cockatoo Kooky Too Yellow Pink No Feet~ Vintage 82 Pez + Huge Accessory Lot & Collectibles Book ~Swarovski Crystal Winnie The Pooh Series "eeyore" Pez DispenserVintage No Feet Pez Vintage Velvet Pez RackLoose Rare Large Hamburger Helper Giant Pez Only 900 MadeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Complete Set Of 64 (includes Teal And Blue)Vintage No Feet Pez - Boy W CapRare Pez Dispenser No Feet Rooster Green Head Red Comb Red StemPez Donald Duck Die Cut Stem 2.6 No Feet 1960's Mega Rare-wow!Frankenstein Fantasy Custom Pez Figure Figurine3 Glow In The Dark Pez Pals Gard To Find 2 Are Shell. In Near Mint Condition Vintage Batgirl Soft Head Pez In Excellent Condition Batman Usa Dc Comics 1978