Conversation hearts are sold every Valentine’s Day in impressive quantities, with cute messages like “BE MINE” and “LOVE ME.” It’s been that way for as long as anyone living can remember, in fact, it’s been that way since 1866? That’s one year after the Civil War ended! That’s when NECCO started printing messages on their candies, though the candies were different lozenge shapes back then: baseballs, postcards and horseshoes. NECCO began printing their Sweethearts conversation hearts in 1902.
A lot in the world has changed since then, including the way people communicate. Over the years, NECCO has replaced sayings like “SWEET TALK” and “MARRY ME” with sayings like “TWEET ME” and “CRAZY 4 U.” Outdated sayings like “DIG ME” and the cheerful “YOU ARE GAY” have been discontinued. NECCO says that creating mottos can be tricky. The new sayings can’t be “offensive, distasteful, or too wordy,” according to Walter Marshall, retired NECCO vice president.