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 Vintage Pez Peter Pan And Cow Dispenser No Feet Made In Austria Vintage Pez No Feet Eerie Spectres Soft Head Air Spirit Monster Rubber DispenserSlovenia 2014 Gathering Vucko Pez Dispenser Set Of 3Mint Pez Yappy Dog, Blue Head, 3.4 Stem, No FeetVintage 1970's Pony Go Round Pez Dispenser No Feet Us Patent 3,845,882Rare Charlie Brown Test Pez DispenserMint Pez Pif Dog, On Footed 3.9 Austrian StemRare Shere Kahn Test Pez DispenserRare Skull Halloween Test Pez DispenserVintage No Feet Soft Head Pez Dispenser Eerie Spectres Vampire Vamp Dracula RareMint Pez Mimic Light Blue, 3.4 Stem, Rare GuyVintage Pez Duck W/ Flower, Factory Sealed In Bag, No Feet Blue Stem FsibMint Pez Superhero Green Hornet, Vintage Item, 2.6 StemMint Pez Crazy Cow B, Medium Blue, 3.4 StemMint Pez Indian Chief, Bright White Feathers, 3.4 StemVintage Pez Pony Factory Sealed In Bag, No Feet, Yellow Stem, White Mane FsibVintage Pez - 1975 Uncle Sam - No FeetMint Pez Spare Parts, Consignment 3French Gathering Pez Convention Dispenser 2014Vintage Casper The Ghost No Feet Pez Dispenser, Die Cut Stem, AustriaVintage Pez No Feet Baseball Glove And Ball Dispenser AustriaVintage Sherrif Hat For Pez DispenserVintage Pez Candy Halloween Witch Vending / Counter Advertising Display Promo?Pez Indian Chief Marbeled Colored Headdress 1970'sVintage Pez Dispenser - Pony Go Round Brown Head/blue ManeMint Pez Indian Brave, Black Tipped Feather, 3.4 StemOriginal Pez Psychedelic Hand Eyeball Stickers Both Sides Go Luv ModMint Pez Peace Pipe, Indian Type, RedMint Pez 5pc Consignment 3 , All Austrian 3.9 Footed StemsNo Feet Sheik Pez Made In AustriaVintage Pez Secret Code FlasherMint Pez Spare Parts, Consignmet 2Vtg Doctor Pez Dispenser No Feet Us Patent 3,845,882Vtg Fat Ear Easter Bunny Pez Dispenser No Feet Austria Us Patent #3,410,455Mint Pez Duo Petunia Pig W.f Plus Donkey Whistle N.f.Vintage Santa Pez Dispenser, In Original Bag, With Pez Sheriff StickerVtg Truck Moveable Wheels Pez Dispenser No Feet Austria Us Patent 3,942,683Vintage Uknown Pez Dispenser Die Cut Face Us Patent 3,845,882Pez-a-mania 25th Anniversary Convention Truck And Candy(mib)*2.6* Austria Cocoa Marsh Embossed Vintage Pez Dispenser - Translucent BlueMint Pez Mimic, Dark Yellow Head, Blue Cap 3.4 Stem, No Feet3 Pez Rare Vintage Snow White No Feet Pez Dispensers - Awesome MintMint Pez Spare Parts, Consignment 4Pez - Mimic Or Monkey With Baseball Cap Orange Head Lot #88Casper The Friendly Ghost Pez Dispenser White Stem Die Cut No FeetPez Orange Face Halloween Witch Neon Yellow??? DamagedMint Pez Cool Cat, Warner Bros, Footed 3.9 Austrian StemVintage Pez No Feet Red Velvety 6 Dispenser HolderPez - Group Of 6 Pez Pal Shell Boys With Body Parts Lot #87World Dance 1989 Art By Pez Rave Flyer Flyers In Shop LookMint Pez Spare Parts, Consignmet 1Mint Pez Bicentennial Cowboy, Tan Hat, On 3.4 Austrian Stem3 Pez Rare Vintage Peter Pan With Very Unique Different Hair Color MintPeter Pan Disney Vintage Pez No Feet Nf - 2.6 Austria Stem - Excellent Shape!2 Pez Disney Rare Vintage Winnie The Pooh No Feet Copyright Wdp - Awesome MintMint Pez Pal Sheik On 3.4 Stem, No FeetMint Pez Mimic The Monkey, Orange Head And Black Cap, 3.9 Stem, No FeetVintage Pez Dispenser - Dumbo Yellow Stem - Hat Blue Mouth *wow*Vintage Pez No Feet Monkey With Sailer Hat Dispenser AustriaFirst Model No Feet Pez Dispenser