Eduard Haas III
Class of 2010
Eduard Haas III was born near Vienna, Austria, in 1897, to Eduard II and Katharina. At age 18, he began manufacturing his grandfather’s recipe for baking powder. By 1915, he further innovated the product as “Hasin for the baking of health sponge cakes,” which is reportedly the first ready-made cake mixture.
By 1918, Eduard’s baking products were selling well, and he decided to produce peppermints on a large scale. Working with a chemist, he developed a process to cold-press the sugar-based tablets, allowing the peppermint flavor to be enjoyed without the loss that had occurred through previous heat-based manufacturing processes.
In naming his new tablets, Eduard took the German word for peppermint, pfefferminz, and abbreviated it to PEZ.
A long-time anti-smoking advocate, Eduard decided the peppermints might appeal to those trying to quit. PEZ was first marketed as a smoking alternative in the 1920s, using the slogan, “Smoking prohibited, PEZing allowed.”
PEZ was originally sold in small tins, but to facilitate sharing them in a hygienic fashion, Eduard commissioned an inventor to design a dispensing device. In 1948, the first PEZ dispenser was awarded a patent and sales of the candy quickly outpaced the capabilities of the facility in Linz, and a new plant was built in St. Martin, Austria.
In 1953, he extended into the U.S. market with offices in New York City, and also around that time he added lemon and chlorophyll-mint to the PEZ line.
In the mid-1950s, Eduard devised a strategy to market PEZ to children. The company began modeling its dispenser tops after popular cartoon characters, and introduced a line of fruit flavors. The earliest character heads were Santa Claus and Popeye, which were an immediate hit.
Eduard died October 13, 1986, and PEZ is now a worldwide institution.