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Start your own PEZ Dispenser Collection....... by Priyanka ,  Mar 30, 2013

Pez (trademarked PEZ, in capitals) is the brand name of an Austrian candy and their mechanical pocket dispensers. The candy itself takes the shape of pressed, dry, straight-edged blocks (15 mm (5/8 inch) long, 8 mm wide and 5 mm high), with Pez dispensers holding 12 Pez pieces.

The name Pez was derived from the letters at the start, the middle and the end of the German word for peppermint, Pfefferminz, the first Pez flavor.[1] Pez was originally introduced in Austria, later exported, notably to the U.S., and eventually became available worldwide. The all-uppercase spelling of the logo echoes the trademark's style on the packaging and the dispensers themselves, with the logo drawn in perspective and giving the appearance that the letters are built out of 44 brick-like Pez candies (14 bricks in the P and 15 in each of the E and Z).

Despite the widespread recognition of the Pez dispenser, the company considers itself to be primarily a candy company, and says over 3 billion candy bricks are consumed each year in the U.S. alone.[1] Pez Dispensers are part of popular culture in many nations. Because of the large number of dispenser designs over the years, they are collected by enthusiasts.

Ever since the US branch of the Austrian candy maker PEZ had the brilliant marketing idea of turning their dispensers into novelty items in the 1950s, adults and children alike have collected them with a passion. Over six decades later the Pez dispenser is still going strong and has featured a huge variety of designs over the years: licensed cartoon characters from Disney and Looney Tunes; Marvel and DC Comics super-heroes; figures from iconic movies like Star Wars; or even real life people, such as the legendary Elvis Presley. Whilst the most expensive vintage Pez dispenser - a Mickey Mouse softhead - allegedly sold for $7,000 USD, there are still hundreds of Pez types for the vintage collector with a more modest budget! If you are daunted about how to begin an affordable vintage or modern Pez dispenser collection, this lens is designed to help you decide where your interests lie and on which variety of Pez items you might like to focus. In next to no time you'll be a Pez Head!

Mr Potato Head PEZ Dispenser

A rare example

Mr Potato Head Pez by Ingrid Taylar

This Pez dispenser was withdrawn from sale because of its dangerous small parts. Note the base of the stem - there are no feet!

Rare Pez Dispenser by ingridtaylar, on Flickr

Holiday PEZ dispensers

Christmas, Easter and Halloween

Holiday Pez by Deborah Swain

A fun area to collect is to concentrate on the holidays - Santa, the Easter Bunny, and numerous Halloween Pez designs will give you lots to look for when starting out. The Easter Bunny, for example, first appeared in the 1950s and has seen several changes over the years - with feet, without feet, fat ears, skinny ears, and a variety of different coloured stems.

Disney PEZ dispensers

Disney Pez by Deborah Swain

Pez started licensing Disney characters early on in its history, with the first Mickey Mouse dispensers appearing in the early 1960s. The very rare softhead version will set you back a cool $4,000 USD - best start with a modern Mickey which you can pick up for a few dollars! There are lots of figures to track down - Pluto, Goofy, Snow White, Captain Hook, Donald Duck - so go get Pez hunting!

Star Wars PEZ dispensers

From a galaxy far, far away...

Darth Vader Pez by Deborah Swain

The most popular licensed Pez series ever! There have been several series of Star Wars Pez dispensers, including an exclusive mail order limited edition set, and even a glow-in-the-dark Emperor Palpatine. A must-have Pez series for Pez Heads and Star Wars movie fans alike. Why not start off with the first set from 1997 featuring C3PO, Darth Vader (pictured above), a Storm Trooper, Yoda, and Chewbacca.

Super-heroes PEZ dispensers

Na na na na na na... BATMAN!

Batman Pez by Deborah Swain

Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk have all been honoured with Pez dispensers. The DC Comics hero Batman here, has been in production since the 1960s and is still found today. His very first edition included a cape - be very careful if you find one of these, however, as they are extremely rare, and unfortunately, have been faked. The original cape should be slightly translucent. Tracking down the varieties of blue mask, black mask, pointed and rounded ears should keep a new collector busy!

Muppets PEZ dispensers

Muppets Pez by Deborah Swain

Characters from the hugely popular TV show, along with fellow Jim Henson creatures on Sesame Street, first became PEZ dispensers in 1991. Look out for two different Kermit the Frog designs - one with a bow tie, and one without - and three Miss Piggy varieties, including a hard-to-find version with eyelashes. And don't forget Fozzie the Bear, and the wonderful Gonzo too.

The Easter Eggs Pez set of 4 includes a green egg on a yellow stem with a picture of a ducky in a flower, a yellow Easter egg with polka-dots on a purple stem, a blue Easter egg with yellow daisies on a yellow stem, and a pink Easter egg with white aster flowers on a green stem. We have been told that the Easter eggs will only be released in tubes - not in bag or on card, but we have set them free so you can save on shipping. The set of 4 Easter Egg Pez comes loose and ready to display!

Pez dispensers are made with several different parts. Over the years, even these parts have gone through a variety of change. Take a look at how to identify the various parts of a Pez dispenser:

Head

The head is the "character" of the dispenser. It could be an object (truck, whistle, cap, etc), or a character (Mickey, Tigger, Batman, etc), or even an animal (monkey, giraffe, dinosaur, etc). There's almost no end to what could be positioned as a head on a Pez dispenser. (Just look at "Fantasy" Pez items.)

Stem

The stem is the "body", or main portion, of the dispenser. It is rectangular in shape and has the word "PEZ" on both sides. One side features lettering spelled from top to bottom, while the other displays lettering sideways from bottom to top. The stem is also where you'll locate the patent number, country of origin, and (IMC) injection mold code.

Feet

The feet are the "base" of the dispenser. They are a flat plastic piece molded onto the bottom of the stem and resemble 'shoes'. The main purpose of the feet is to support the stability of the dispenser while "standing". (They help it not fall over.) Originally, Pez dispensers did not have feet. They were simply "squarred off" on the bottom, and are called (NF) non-footed. Many collectors will have thier non-footed Pez fitted with "Pez Shoes". These are blocks of plastic molded to fit around the base of the stem. There are now many colors to choose from, and it should be noted that they are not "licensed" items from Pez Co. The first style of feet used on a Pez stem had a thin profile, and are called "Thin Feet". Around 1990, Pez started molding the feet with a thicker profile, these are called "Thick Feet".

{Many collectors will have thier non-footed Pez fitted with "Pez Shoes". These are blocks of plastic molded to fit around the base of the stem. There are now many colors to choose from, and it should be noted that they are not "licensed" items from Pez Co.}

CandyPusher

The Candy Pusher is a "finger" that is molded onto the back of the head. It is what pushes the candy forward when you tilt the head backwards. There is also a small flat surface on the inner side of the pusher that sits against a "head spring". The spring pressing against this "ledge", or flat surface, is what keeps the head "spring loaded" while in a closed position. (no floppy head when turned upsidedown)

WireHeadSpring

As earlier mentioned, there is a spring in all Pez heads that causes the head to automatically "snap" back forward after it has been tilted back. On older dispensers, this spring was a wire spring that looked like a "coil" with each end straightened out. The wire head spring was held in place to the inner sleeve by either the steel hinge pin passing through the center of the coil, or by fitting in a pocket that was molded into the top of the inner sleeve. (Inner sleeves and hinge pins will be discussed a little farther down.)

PlasticHeadSpring

On newer dispensers, the older wire head spring was replaced with a plastic blade leaf spring that is molded right onto the top of the inner sleeve. The first version of this style of srping was a single leaf design. With use, the single leaf springs would often weaken and fail to keep the head tight in a closed position. (floppy head) To fix this problem, a multiple leaf design was incorporated. By having four leafs instead of one, the plastic spring is much stronger and is able to perform better over extended periods of time.

InnerSleeveCandyButtonInnerSleeveSpring

The Inner Sleeve acts as a candy "tray" or "channel" for the actual Pez Candy. It is attatched to the head with a metal or plastic hinge pin and goes inside of the stem. It has been produced in many colors and styles over the years. The Candy Button is a rectangular or oval shaped piece that sits inside of the inner sleeve. On the front and back ends of the button, there is a tab that fits inside of the groove or rib in the front and back ends of the stem. The candy button acts like a spring loaded elevator that pushes the candy towards the top of the stem. The tab on the back of the button rides in the back of the inner sleeve, and hooks into the back groove of the stem. The front tab hooks directly into the front stem groove.The Inner Sleeve Spring is the spring that goes in-between the candy button and the bottom of the inner sleeve. The top of the spring fits into the hollow bottom of the candy button. This spring is what pushes the candy button up, and forces the Pez candy towards the head.

SteelHingePin

On older Pez dispensers, the head was attached to the inner sleeve by a steel pin. It went completely through from one side of the head to the other. This pin allowed the head to hinge on the inner sleeve.

PlasticHingePin

On newer dispensers, the had is attached to the inner sleeve by two plastic pins (knobs) located on each outer side at the top of the inner sleeve. This allows for the head to hinge (pivot) on the inner sleeve. Unlike the steel pin that went all the way through the inner sleeve and head, the plastic pins allow the head to "pop" onto the inner sleeve, and hold it in place.

Cheeks

Cheeks are a variation in the mold design of a head. The "Cheeks" refer to the area on each side of the back of the head, where the head hinge is located. There are two types: Partial and Full. Full cheeks is when the back of the head is still full and thick. Usually, the plastic hinge pins will be under the thicker plastic in this area. On the partial cheeks, the plastic on the back of the head is thinned out, and looks like a ledge is cut out of the head on each side. With partial cheeks, the plastic hinge pins are easily visible.

ClubMed

On many of the "human series" dispensers, there is a neat color variation of the plastic for the molded head. The "normal" color for the plastic used in the head is a flesh-tone. But, the same heads can also be found molded in a yellowish-brown color, giving them a 'sun tanned' appearance. This head color variation is commonly called a "Club Med" head, referring to the famous health spa where the rich and famous to to sunbathe and get fit.

Flavors

Pez candy has come in a wide variety of flavors over the years, including:

A pack containing lemon flavored Pez

General

  • Cherry
  • Chocolate
  • Cola
  • Grape
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry-Lemon
  • Strawberry-Vanilla

Sour Flavors

  • Sour Watermelon
  • Sour Green Apple
  • Sour Blue Raspberry
  • Sour Pineapple

Sugarfree Flavors

  • Sugarfree Lemon
  • Sugarfree Orange
  • Sugarfree Strawberry

Retired Flavors

  • Apple
  • Chlorophyll Mint[2]
  • Coffee
  • Flower
  • Lime
  • Menthol/Eucalyptus
  • Yogurt

The common American flavors of grape, lemon, orange, raspberry, and strawberry are available in kosher form in specialty markets.

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