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    

Finnpez Finnish Pez Gathering 2014 Limit Ed. Pez+attendee Pin+sticker Vintage Rare Rare Rare Mip Pez Ringmaster No Feet In Original Cello Austria Pez Katrina (black Stem)7 Pez Vintage Rare Lot No Feet Dumbo Cool Cat Thumper Dalmatian Pup Bambi Vintage Football Player Pez Dispenser - No Feet AustriaSnow White Vintage Pez Dispenser (no Feet) Austria Pat. #2620061Pez Cow B Blue Head No FeetPez Rare Vintage Nf~casper The Ghost~die Cut~3.620.061~austria~no Head SpringVintage Pez Indian Chief No Feet Marbled Headdress Austria 2.6 Patent 1960s5 Pez Vintage Rare Jungle Book No Feet Mowgli X2 King Louie Baloo Lil Bad WolfPez Rare Vintage Nf~casper The Ghost~pat #3.620.061~austria~tight Head~pristineVintage No Feet Elaphant PezRed Head Mimic The Monkey Pez Mint Condition*rare* 3.9 Austria "yappy Dog" Vintage Pez Dispenser Green Head "near Mint"Vintage No Feet King Louiei PezVintage No Feet Yellow Head Rooster PezRare Vintage No Feet Paul Revere (captain) Pez Dispenser 1970'sPez Crocodile No Feet Pez Excellent ConditionVintage Pez Paul Revere No Feet Made In Austria 1970s Medium Face Dark Blue StemVintage No Feet One Eye Monster PezVintage No Feet Policeman PezVintage No Feet White Head Rooster PezYellow Head Mimic The Monkey Pez No FeetHo Scale Athearn Pez Candy 40' Single Door Box CarVintage No Feetdie Cut Bozo PezCaptain Hook Pez No FeetNo Feet Rare Vintage Circus Elephant Pez Yellow Head1970's Pez Cockatoo Bird 3.9 Austria No Feet Vintage Rare Dispenser "nice!"* Pony-go-round * 2.6 Austria Pez Pony Dispenser Vintage Rare "very Nice"Rare Pez Vintage Monkey Sailor No Feet Bullwinkle Pez Austria No Feet Yellow Ears Brown Stem Patent 2 620 061 - 1960Vintage Rare Mip Pez Lion No Feet In Original Cello "roar The Lion" Austria Indian Brave Pez No Feet Mint Condition Vintage Rare "cow" Pez No Feet " Original Packaging"rare!!!!!Thumper Pez Dispenser 4.9 Yugoslavia Disney Rare Vintage "very Nice!"Pez~"no Feet Pez Shoes #2"~set Of 10 Red~hard To Find~low Price Here!1978 Dc Comics Penguin / Batman Villain Pez Dispenser No Feet Soft Head.Lot Of 4 Regular Pez No Feet VintageVintage Mip Rooster Pez No Feet In Original Cello Austria Pez Lot, Pinky Pink Panther, Charlie Brown With Frown And With TonguePez Rare Vintage Nf~puzzy Cat W Derby~pat #3.410.455~hong Kong~near Mint ConditnVintage No Feet Yellow Feb PezPez Bugs Bunny Red Stem No Feet Austria 1960'sVintage No Feet Mowgli PezVintage No Feet Light Yellow Hair Pez Girl PezVintage No Feet 3.8 Usa Skull PezVintage No Feet Lil Bad Wolf PezYappy Dog Pez No Feet Mint ConditionSanta A Pez No FeetDiecut Bozo Pez No Feet*pirate* Pez Pal Dispenser Vintage Rare Near Mint 3.4 Austria CompleteIndian Chief Pez Mint Condition No FeetVintage No Feet Angel PezVintage No Feet Baloo PezVintage Pez Dispenser, No Feet, Red Headed Monkey, White BodyOrange Head Mimic The Monkey Pez No FeetFat Ear Bunny Pez No FeetOne Eye Monster Pez No FeetPez - 2014 Heroes - Set Of 4 - Mint On Cards - MocVintage No Feet Pink Feb Pez