Before the famous Whitman's Sampler candy box was created, there were needlepoint samplers -- decorative pieces of cross-stitch created as an example of skill.
A hundred years ago, Walter P. Sharp, president of Whitman's candies, was looking for a name for a new sample box of assorted chocolates when -- voila! -- he looked on his living room wall and saw a framed needlepoint sampler created by his great-aunt. He thought the cross-stitch design of birds, animals and flowers on the linen backing was so delightful that he borrowed the name and design idea for the sample box.
The company turned to an old woman who had made samplers as a little girl to come up with the final design.
The "Sampler" was meant to be only a yearlong candy promotion, but quickly became the star product of Whitman's line.
First Published January 29, 2012 5:00 AM