The National Confectioners Association speculates that the first primitive lollipop was a stick used by a caveman to collect honey from a beehive. In Europe during the Middle Ages, the high cost of sugar made candy a delicacy and lollipops came into being because it was a good way for candy-makers to stretch their sugar budgets. They also allowed candy eaters to savor their sweets longer.

Around the turn of the last century, two innovations helped boost the lollipop industry. The Racine Confectioners Machinery Company of Wisconsin invented a machine that could turn out 40 lollipops a minute. Around the same time, Samuel Born, a Russian immigrant living on the West Coast, developed a machine that mechanically inserted sticks into candies.