History of Dryden & Palmer Rock Candy
During the late 1800s, there were several rock candy companies in the US, including one formed in 1880 by the partnership of Charles Dryden and Noah Palmer.
These companies supplied various forms of crystals and syrups as cough-cold remedies, soda fountain syrups, and delicious confections. In addition, vast amounts were used in saloons. Every bar had its own creation of Rock & Rye (rock candy dissolved in rye whiskey) to cure their patrons colds or at least to make them forget they had a cold in the first place!
Many different factors caused the rock candy industry to change. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines using active ingredients became more common in the early 1900s. But the biggest effect on the industry was Prohibition. During this time the rock candy industry failed, as it had become too dependent on sales to bars and saloons.
More changes kept coming, however. The syrup business that was a big part of the company at the end of the 19th century is almost entirely gone, as soda manufacturers switched to cheaper corn syrups. Rising to the challenge, Dryden & Palmer introduced rock candy on a stick in the 1960s, then flavored and colored the sugar sticks in the 1970s.
Mr. Dryden and Mr. Palmer would be astonished to see the different flavors, colors, and forms of rock candy produced by their company today, but they would recognize the tradition of quality and service carried forward from their time.