History of Clear Toy Candy


  German immigrants are credited with bringing clear toy candy to America.  They originally settled in Pennsylvania. Clear toy recipes are traced back as early as 1772.  This hard candy was originally called ‘barley candy’ because early candy makers used the cheaper and more readily available barley sugar instead of imported cane sugar.  However in 1818, cane sugar became more accessible.  With this, barley sugar would soon lose it’s popularity.  The literal name ‘clear toy’ was penned because of the candy’s likeness to minature people, animals, and other images. That is how the ‘toy’ was created.  These toys acquired their ‘clear’ namesake from the clarity of the product. Most of the original molds were produced by Thomas Mills & Brothers (circa 1864) and V. Clad & Sons (circa 1863).  They were made from a composition metal shaped from brass.  Reproduction molds composed of cast-iron and aluminum are scarcely produced today.  These molds lack the definition and detail of their predecessors.  Sadly, many of today’s clear toy is made from automated machines. These imitations are often only two sided in dimension and lack the quality and depth of the originals.



The Regennas Candy Tradition


The Regennas Candy Shop opened for business in 1894 in Philadelphia.  It was founded by C. Fred Regennas & Sons. C. Fred had learned the candy business in Lititz, PA from Billy Bollinger.  Their first shop was located at 1330 North 19th Street in Philadelphia.  Every week they would lead their horse-drawn carriage full of candy to tempt the local vendors. Pictured: Horse Drawn Wagon with C. Fred Regennas in Philadelphia, 1908

 After the death of his wife, Fred returned to Lititz with his two sons, Charles and Harry.  In 1910, Fred constructed a home and shop on 120 West Lemon Street.

Pictured: Charles H. Regennas, Sr. and a young Charles H. Regennas, Jr. in a storefront at 54 East Main St. In Lititz, 1929

The business continued into the next generation with the help of his sons Harry and Charles H.  Harry built himself quite a reputation as a skilled confectioner.  But in 1960, Harry could no longer continue his craft.

Pictured: Harry holding a piece of warm candy that will be rolled through a a double roller for drop candy

 His nephew Charles (Charlie) H. Regennas, Jr. would continue the candy tradition.  Charlie began on a part-time basis with the help of his wife, Betty. His duties as a letter carrier took up most of his time.  After his retirement in 1972, Charles could devote more time to the candy business.  It started to attract quite a following.  His candy was featured in such magazines as Life, Time, Americana, and numerous other publications.  After Charlie’s passing in 2005, Betty continued operating the business for several years with help from friends and family.

Pictured: Charlie pouring clear toy in his shop at 120 W. Lemon St. in 1970

Charlie’s son Jake would be the next in line for the candy business but his work took him out of state for several years. The Regennas Family is grateful to the Rager Family for operating the business in Myerstown, PA until Jake returned and could resume its operations in 2021.  

Pictured: Joe and Laurie Rager pouring clear toy.

Currently, in its fourth generation, Regennas Candy, Inc is in the process of moving to a newly constructed shop space in the home of Jake’s daughter, Kimberly. The Regennas Family still uses the same recipes that were used in the factory back in 1894 and is proud to continue as an original clear toy candy manufacturer.

Pictured the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of Regennas Candy