Going, going, GONE!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you should know that the classic candy that has been a constant since 1847, is about to go the way of phone booths.   Yes, that’s right.  The company that makes Necco Wafers has announced that, unless it finds a buyer, it will close its doors forever in May.

Do you know what that means?  Future generations will never know what drywall tastes like. 

Originally called hub wafers, the coin-shaped candies were carried by soldiers during the Civil War and World War II.  Since the candy traveled well and never melted or spoiled, soldiers and yes, even cowboys, could carry them with confidence.

These candies traveled as far as the North Pole, and that’s not all. Admiral Byrd took two tons of the things with him to the Antarctica.  Even more impressive; Necco Wafers was the first candy to multi-task.  They served as wafers during communion and were tossed in baskets for payment at toll booths.

Sad to say, Necco isn’t the only old company at risk. In recent years, we’ve seen the demise of the Sears Wish book and five and dime stores. Who knows what will be next? 

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but I shudder to think that Baker’s chocolate—a friend to cooks since 1780—might someday be declared unfit for human consumption.  Don’t laugh. It happened to wheat, eggs and red meat. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen to chocolate?

Never mind that cowboys and civil war soldiers enjoyed morning cups of Baker’s hot chocolate with no known problems.  Cast-iron stomachs of the past have no place in today’s world. 

It’s not just food and drink that’s in danger. The next company that could bite the dust could very well be Remington, established in 1818. It’s hard to believe that the company that produced the “rifle that won the west” might one day close its doors. But firearms aren’t all that popular these days.  Nor for that matter are typewriters. So who knows? 

And what about Brooks Brothers, another formidable company founded in 1818? The company made the first ready-to-wear suits in 1849.  Those flocking to California that year for the gold rush couldn’t wait for tailors to outfit them. For that reason, forty-niners depended on Brooks Brothers for their clothing needs. So did Abe Lincoln, Eisenhower and J.F. Kennedy.

Anything made of paper is about to become obsolete, including maps, shopping bags and checks.  Here in California, the war on drinking straws is heating up.  If that’s not enough, many of the nation’s newspapers have vanished in recent years. That means that old standbys like The New York Times (founded in 1851 as the New York Daily Times) could one day shut down their presses forever. 

I also worry about Merriam-Webster, founded in 1831. If it goes the way of encyclopedia salesmen, I will have to share the blame. I can’t remember the last time I actually looked something up in an honest-to-goodness, print dictionary, can you? 

Nothing is safe in today’s fast-paced world as proven by Kodak. Who would have thought that a company that we all knew and loved would close its dark-room doors forever and stop making cameras?

Founded in 1889, Kodak was the absolute leader in photography. It’s still in business making mobile devices, but its past glory is gone. Phone cameras have taken its place, but it’s not the same. An iPhone second just doesn’t have the same ring as a Kodak moment.

So, what old-time product do you or would you miss? What were you glad to see go?

 

Amazon

Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 40 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
Updated: April 19, 2018 — 1:49 pm

33 Comments

  1. Great blog. Now that so many things are going by the wayside there are so many things I wish I had held onto. The wafers though, yuck. My thought when you compared them to drywalls was, “well drywall will be the next Youtube/youth challenge”! LOL Chocolate is what I would miss! I can’t imagine a world without chocolate. I’m not sure what I miss that is already gone. Hmmm I would miss libraries and my small town post office too. I’d hate to have to drive 25 miles everytime I had a package that wouldn’t fit in my mailbox at home. (I have dogs my postman is afraid of so she won’t put them on my porch) Which reminded me I miss getting letters and cards from family and friends. The digital world has also wreaked havoc on having actual pictures of my youngest daughter because so many are stuck in cellphones that never were printed or developed.

    1. Hi Stephanie, this week I got an honest-to-goodness handwritten thank you note in the mail and I couldn’t believe it. What a treat! I didn’t realize how much I had missed getting notes/letters in the mail. Like you, I also prefer actual photographs and get a lot of eye-rolling from my kids when I ask for them. Oh, well.

  2. There are many things I worry may go. Newspapers and magazines are among the top – Nothing better than the Sunday Newspaper. I shall miss Necco. I did enjoy them every once in a while. I would miss a good cup of tea.

    1. Hi Debra, I agree, newspapers and magazines are tops. I have a lot of happy memories of my husband and I reading the Sunday morning comics to the kids.

  3. I used my Webster’s dictionary just this past month. I am an old school hardcopy type that finds searching Google a last resort even if convenient.

    1. Hi Jerri, sad to say, but I’ve gotten into the habit of depending on spellcheck and Google for my spelling/thesaurus needs. Like you said, it’s more convenient. Somehow, though, it’s less satisfying.

  4. My grandpa used to give me that candy all the time. I hated it but I didn’t want him to know that so I ate it.

    1. Oh, Hannah, that is precious! What we do out of love!

  5. I would hate to see print books go. Even though I buy lots of e-books, I still love to have print books too. I have honestly never had a Necco candy before, so I won’t miss it. And when I heard Twinkies were going away I rushed out to buy some just to try again and then decided I just didn’t like them anymore, so I wouldn’t miss them. But they were only gone a short time before another company picked them up. Maybe someone else will pick up Necco eventually.

    1. Hi Janine, I hate to say this but I do believe print books will eventually disappear. Already we have bookless libraries and are raising digital natives. One of the things I miss most is browsing through a bookstore. Browsing Amazon just isn’t the same.

  6. I have been fearing losing all these things for years. I hate how everything – including all the good old companies – are closing their doors. No more little shops, mom and pop restaurants, all the places that are homey and comforting. I don’t want to know what will disappear next!

    1. Hi Susan, I know what you mean. Things are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up.

  7. I hate to see the printed newspapers/magazines go by the wayside. So many people are dropping their landlines and going strictly cell phones…I will always love having a telephone.

    1. Hi Melanie, I’m keeping my landline. I like my cell phone, but I like to have a backup in case I drop it in the water (like I once did) or forget to charge it.

  8. I’m 55 years old and have always loved the Necco Wafers and my mom and kids love them too. Nooooooooo! Please say it isn’t so!!!
    I buy print books from Lifeway and Mr. K’s and it makes me feel so good when I walk into Mr. K’s (used bookstore) and there are so many people there. My fear is all the books will disappear. But there are still a lot of us out there including my two grown children. Haha I showed them the love of reading and eating wafers.

    1. Hi Pam, your liking Necco Wafers made me “chalk” up with laughter. I envy that you still have local brick and mortar bookstores where you live. I used to browse bookstores for hours. Now, all we have here is as single aisle of books at Costco and they only carry the top bestsellers.

  9. I hate to see anything go.

    1. Hi Kim, you sound like me. I don’t mind change, I just like it to be very gradual and not interfere with the things I love.

      1. Problem is everything goes so fast these days don’t really have time to process that it won’t be around in a month or two.

  10. Fortunately, I don’t think the local farm stands will disappear. I would miss those.

    1. Good point, Denise. Leave our food alone!

  11. The magazine’s & newspapers I would miss. As well as the book stores around us still. I have to say I loved the chocolate Neccos growing up and always buy the all chocolate roll. A shame to see what has disappeared.

    1. Hi Carol, I didn’t know they had chocolate Neccos! I thought I was an expert in all things chocolate, but I guess I was wrong.

  12. I don’t think chocolate is going anywhere. I just saw another news piece about how good dark chocolate is for you. It has to be 70% dark chocolate and real sugar–no substitutes, and not milk chocolate. I’ve read this in many places, and not on adverts.

    As for books going by the way, I think this is another turn in the wheel where only wealthy folks will be able to collect old books, or books printed in more limited editions. Used bookstores may sell cheap paperbacks now (often cheaper than ebooks), but antique books will be around for those who can afford them as well as specialty printing is my guess.

    Despite e-readers, I don’t think paper is going away. With the first desktops we had PC copies AND paper copies in greater number because of all the reprints. Technology keeps updating so people use paper trails to find old material. Look at the Mueller investigation, one person gave them a million (!) pieces of paper. And how do we see Stormy Daniel’s agreement? Yes, on paper. With all the computer hacking going on, I wonder if that doesn’t send us back to paper because there’s someone always smarter to figure a tech work around whereas paper copies can be secured (unless you get a warrant).

    Maps may be like books–more expensive but available for those who can afford them. Not everyone wants a GPS deciding for them where they’re traveling and how they’re getting there. Remember travel is sometimes about the journey, not just the getting there.

    There’ll definitely be fewer newspapers–already are–but I’d bet on the NY Times. Despite being called the failing NYT, it readership is currently at an all time high. Recent events and times have sent people to a source they can trust, and who admit and print corrections for mistakes unlike much of the rest of the world.

    I just used a dictionary last night. I may use a google search for when I’m online, but when I’m reading I use a dictionary because I want to see the origins of the word as well as its different forms. Besides spellcheck doesn’t always catch grammar mistakes, wrong use of homonyms (like Trump’s use of “council” when he means “counsel”), missing words, which is a common printing mistake especially for little words like “if’ and “to” and so on.

    As for hand-written notes, I think they’re special and more personal too as does a friend of mine–we write back and forth my snail mail as well as email. Folks REALLY don’t need to be on a phone or computer all of the time in order to have a meaningful life. In fact I think tech is way out of hand, what with all the studies of how lonely people are these days because of the lack of face to face human contact.

    Okay, off my soapbox now! Just my thoughts.

  13. Hi Eliza, loved reading your thoughts. It’s what makes the blog so much fun.

  14. I enjoyed reading this blog of yours Margaret Brownley I miss the Sears and Roebuck Christmas Wish book I remember my brother and I could hardly wait for it to come in mail. Which also makes me think of getting actual letters in the mail from someone. It was just so thrilling to get written letters from friends I had made over the summer at camp.

    1. Hi Glenda, it’s crazy but I still miss the Sears Wish Book. Like you, I couldn’t wait for it to come in the mail. As for letters, I still have the letters the kids sent home from camp when they were young. What a treasure!

  15. Great post Margaret. I would definitely miss the chocolate and straws and even though my newspaper subscription increased so much that I no longer get a daily paper, I certainly miss it. One thing that I don’t miss is a girdle. Now, there may be girdles still being made and girdles still being worn but I haven’t had one on for years. Yes, I could use it to corral my stomach but….
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Connie, you made me laugh. I’m with you. I don’t miss girdles! Those things should be banned from the face of the earth!

  16. When the companies that make toilet paper and safety pins go out of business, I will really be beside myself! I can do without a lot of things in my life but those 2 are a must.

    I love the chocolate Necco’s.

    1. That is so hilarious Joye!!!

    2. Hi Joye, back in the olden days, they used the Sears catalogue for toilet paper. Can you imagine? I don’t know what they used for safety pins, but I agree. Those are a must.

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