Candymaker Behind Peeps Passes Away

Bob Born is credited with the design that became the basis for the current marshmallow depositing systems.
Bob Born Peeps

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Ira "Bob" Born, founder of the iconic Peeps brand, passed away on Jan. 29. He was 98 years old.

Bob Born was the son of Just Born Quality Confections' founder Sam Born. Bob Born joined the company in 1945 after World War II, where he served in the Navy.

"Bob devoted his life to Just Born and the science and process of candy making. He was an inventor whose amazing intellect allowed him to see solutions to almost any situation," Just Born said in a statement.

Notably, Bob Born is credited with designing a machine that deposits the Peeps marshmallow chicks, which was in use for more than 50 years. The design became the basis for the current marshmallow depositing systems. Originally, the treats were made by hand.

Bob Born is also credited with inventing the Hot Tamales brand by finding a creative way to rework Mike and Ike candies.

"Bob will be remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for the candy industry and a wonderful supporter of our community. Bob was our second-generation family member whose dedication was instrumental in Just Born reaching our 100-year milestone," said David Shaffer, board chair and co-CEO of Just Born. "We extend our deepest sympathy to his son, Ross, and the entire family."

The inventor visited the Just Born factory on Feb. 15, 2019 when he was honored by the City of Bethlehem proclaiming the first day of the Easter season as "Bob Born Day."

Just Born traces it roots back to1923 when founder Sam Born opened a small candy shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he marketed the freshness of his daily-made candy with a sign that declared, "Just Born." Together with his brothers-in-law, Irv and Jack Shaffer, the company thrived and, in 1932, moved its operations to Bethlehem, where it has grown to become one of the largest candy companies in the United States.

Today, Just Born Quality Confections is maker of some of the most iconic brands, including Peeps, Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. The company celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.