Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jelly beans or jelly eggs are a type of confectionery that comes in many different (primarily fruit) flavors. They are small, the size of a kidney bean and usually have a harder shell and gummy interior. The confection is primarily made of sugar.
The interior jelly traces its origin back thousands of years to the candy called Turkish Delight while the shell is essentially the same as developed in the late 19th century for the Jordan almond candy. The two were brought together around the beginning of the 20th century. It was not until 1930 or so that jelly beans became an Easter candy, presumably from their resemblance to eggs.
One prominent maker of jelly beans and other confections is the Jelly Belly Candy Company. When Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, one of his well known practices was keeping a jar of this company's jelly beans on his desk.
In United States slang in the 1910s and early 1920s a Jelly bean or Jellybean was a young man who made great effort to dress very stylishly (usually to attract women) but had little else to recommend him; similar to the older terms dandy and fop and the slightly later drugstore cowboy. However, the word was also used as a synonym for pimp. See also jelly roll.
The type was memorialized in the song, "Jelly Bean (He's a Curbstone Cutie)", kept popular through the 1940s by Phil Harris. It was written by Jimmie Dupre, Sam Rosen, and Joe Verges , and published in New Orleans in 1920 by Universal Music Publishers, Inc.
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