January 31, 2023 at 01:03
Ira "Bob" Born, a candy company executive known as the "Father of Peeps" for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died.
Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old family-owned company Born led for much of his life, said Monday that he had died peacefully on Sunday.
His father, Sam Born, was a Russian immigrant who started Just Born shortly before his son's birth.
6 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT PEEPS AND CADBURY EGGSBob Born graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in engineering physics.
"The candy business was kind of catchy … it was interesting to him," Ross Born, Bob Born’s son, told the Lehigh Valley News.
In 1953, Just Born acquired Rodda Candy Co., a jelly bean maker that had a side business producing shaped marshmallow candies by hand.
Bob Born saw the candies’ potential, so he and an engineer at the company designed and built a machine to make them in less than six minutes.
The company's current machines, which are still based on Bob Born's design, now pump out 5.5 million Peeps per day.
Seventy years later, Peeps remain Just Born’s most recognizable candy brand, the company says.
Just Born makes around 2 billion Peeps each year, or enough to circle the globe two-and-a-half times.
Bob Born also came up with the recipe for another popular Just Born candy, Hot Tamales.
He last visited the Just Born factory on Feb. 15, 2019, when the city of Bethlehem proclaimed the first day of the Easter season as "Bob Born Day."