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    

1960s Pez Frankenstein No Feet Candy Dispenser Universal Monsters Austria Rare!Vintage Toy Sealed Creature From The Black Lagoon Pez No Feet Dispenser AustriaPez No Feet Great Pez Parts Obelix Look Pez Olympic Snowman, 1976 Austria, Long Nose Version, No FeetVintage Green Hornet Pez UsaVintage Pez Orange Witch Dispenser AustriaPez No Feet Great Pez Parts Asterix Look Frankenstein Pez-vintage-great Condition-no Feet-austria Markings-frankenstein!!Pez Small Feet 9x Old Cool Cat, Cockatoo,raven,wolf,dalmatian,dumbo + Mo(54)Pez No Feet Snowwhite Yellow Dbp Stem (26)Pez 1950s Yellow Space Gun Ray Rocket For Parts, Non FunctionalPez No Feet Maharajah Big Turban Dbp Stem (31) Pez For Parts Olympic Wolf , Knight , Pony ,astronaut,bunnyPez Heads Parts Dumbo, Wolf, Doctore And More (13)Pez Small Feet 15x Old Like Dumbo,raven,rudolph And More Great Auction(53)Vintage Pez Dispenser Disney Zorro Mint In Cello Package W/ Candy And StickerPez No Feet Cat With Derby Orange Hat Dbp Stem (29)Vintage No Feet Pez Dispenser Long Face Clown AustriaPez No Feet Cool Cat 3.9 Near Mint (21)Htf Pez Snow White Turquoise Bow, Collar On Pink Stem" 1960's Pristine ConditionIndian Chief Marbelized HeaddressPez No Feet Raven 2,6 Stem Near Mint (19) Pez Orange Head Mmm Dog Whistle Pez Casper Die-cut 2,6 AustriaVintage Bozo Butch Pez No FeetPez No Feet Pinocchio 3.9 Stem (28)Pez Parts Clown, Elephant Hair And Hat And More (16)Vintage Rare Pez Duck With Dark Blue Flower Cream Face Maroon Mouth No FeetPez Bullwinkle Yellow 2,6 AustriaPez No Feet 2x Goofy Different Hat Colour Dbp Stems (32) Pez Click & Spend Regular Pez - Foghorn Leghorn Thin Feet Mint In Original Cello Bag Mib Nice Sticker Pez No Feet/small Feet 4 Different Baloo Great (30)Pez No Feet Cockatoo 2.6 Stem (27)Pez Heads Parts Pez Pals Stems Are Not Good (14)Pez No Feet Raven 2,6 Stem Near Mint (20)Pez No Feet Captain Hook Look Pictures Dbp Stem (18)Pez No Feet Popeye Look Pictures Dbp Stem (17)Pez Bullwinkle Brown 2,6 AustriaVintage Cocoa Marsh Pez Dispenser, No Feet, Metallic Blue Stem, Austria, RareVintage Bozo The Clown Pez Dispenser - No Feet 2. 620. 061 AustriaPez Parts Clown With Chin (15)Vintage Pez No Feet Policeman Austria ExPez Small Feet Peanuts Lucy White Eyes Near Mint (24)Pez 14x Limited Sumsi MocPopeye C Pez With Red HatPez 1978 Dc Comics Batman Rubber Head No FeetPez Dispenser No Feet Vintage Roar The Lion Green Face Red StemPez Truck No Feet Single Axle Green Cab & Fenders Yellow Body Made In AustriaDisney Frozen Candy Dispenser.Pez Heads,parts Many Old Version Pez Heads (9)Pez~lot Of "10" Clear Rounded Shoes~size Small~almost Impossible 2 Find!Pez Chicken Little Golden Fish Limited (50)Teenage Mutant Ninja Happy Turtles Lot Of 4 Pez DispensersPez Ultra Rare Test Lot Of 3 Crystal Clear Dispenser....please Look......!!!!!!!Vintage Pez Candy Dispenser Lot Of 28 No Feet Rare Wonder Woman Batman NiceNice Vintage Full Body Pez Spaceman Space Robot Tooper Pez DispenserVintage Die Cut Bozo The Clown Pez Dispenser - No Feet 2. 620. 061 AustriaPez Heads Parts 5x Rudolph (11)Dumbo, Walt Disney, No Feet Pez, Near Mint, Pat 3.4