This plain, rectangular tin was once used to store after dinner mints. The name of the product, V-All-No After Dinner Mint, and the manufacturing company, Manufacturing Co. of America, Philadelphia, is stamped on the lid.
Sweet treats have been a part of the human diet nearly since the beginning of human existence. The type of treat has changed over time, but human desire for sweetness has not. Candy can be hard or chewy, may or may not contain chocolate and can be sweet or sour. Sugar cane was introduced to Europeans when crusaders brought the substance back from the Middle East, and it was with these Europeans that sugar gained its highly prized status as an art form and a gift to be given away on special occasions. A status that persists to this day when a suitor gives their beloved chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
At one time, small family owned confectionary shops dominated the American landscape. Opening a candy making business was a relatively low cost investment, all one needed was a kitchen and a basket to sell their treats from on the street. As demand grew, they could grow their business. Today, many of these small businesses have been absorbed into large corporations who command a much greater market power. Breath mints gained popularity because of how they felt cool and refreshing in the mouth while also freshening one’s breath. Peppermint was also considered a digestive aid, and mint leaves and breath mints were often chewed after a meal.