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Nello Ferrara, creator of Red Hots, dead at 93

Anyone who has ever busted a jaw on a Jaw Buster or singed his lips on a Red Hot should be in mourning today.

Nello Ferrara, the man who led the company that invented those confectionery classics and others (Lemonheads, Boston Baked Beans, Atomic Fireballs), has died, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He was 93.

Ferrara was the scion of a candy-making family that emigrated from Italy early in the last century and set up shop in Chicago with the Ferrara Pan Candy Co. The "pan" refers to the method of making the candy whereby "grains of sugar, nuts or candy centers" get tossed around in revolving pans "while adding the flavor, color and other candy ingredients," according to the company's website. The candy gets tossed around until it becomes the desired size and then it is polished with vegetable wax.

Ferrara came up with the idea for Atomic Fireballs in 1954 after serving in post-World War II Japan, the Chicago Sun-Times said, quoting Ferrara's son, company CEO Salvatore Ferrara II. 

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