The stem is the bottom portion of the dispenser and is rectangular in size. Molded in the plastic on the side of the stem is the Patent number, IMC code, and the PEZ logo. Stems come in many different colors. They will also have several subtle and obvious changes in appearance from one dispenser to another, dependent upon its age.
Spines - Standard and Raised -
The Spine is the *track* that is centered longways down the stem on both the front and back sides. On older non-footed dispensers, the spine sticks out just a small bit. On footed dispensers, this spine is raised out even further and is very pronounced. In the photo above, the differences between the older Non-Raised Spine and the newer Raised Spine can be clearly seen.
interesting to note... the dispenser on the right with the Raised
Spine also has a rib going across the top, back end of the stem. This
rib is to help keep the dispenser from falling over when it is packaged
in a Shrink Overwrap machine (common Euro style card packaging).
Full Body Stems -
On Full Body Dispensers like the Space Trooper and Santa Claus, there is not a stem per se... but rather a full-featured molded body. These dispensers get their name "Full Body" for obvious reasons. The Full Bodied Space Trooper and Santa were the first "character" dispensers made by PEZ. They were produced towards the end of the Regulars time frame, but came out before the rectangular stemmed (standard) character dispensers were produced.
Because these dispenser stems were not rectangular, PEZ had to mold some additional *ribs* inside of the body to help capture and guide the inner sleeve, as shown in the photo below.
"Half Flowers" -
2.6 Patent Yugoslavia stems an interesting stem variation can be found.
As shown above, below the word "Yugoslavia" there are two
half *flower* shapes molded onto the stem. These molded features are
commonly called "Half Flowers". It is unclear as to the
purpose of these Half Flowers. A single full flower shape can be found
on BOX Patent dispensers in the same area. It is my guess that maybe
PEZ molded these shapes onto the stem as a type of *placeholder* when
the original die was made so that the location of the Country of Origin
relief would be marked. It is interesting when looking closely at
these flowers that it appears that the section containing the "Made
in Yugoslavia" wording seems to be molded on top of the stem
texture and through half of each flower.
Embossed Stems -
Embossed stems are stems that have other non-standard features or wording molded onto the stem. In the photo on the left, instead of having the standard PEZ logo this stem has the words "Cocoa - Marsh" molded on the stem. This dispenser is called a Cocoa - Marsh Spaceman and was a Premium that was taped onto the outside of a jar of Cocoa - Marsh Cocoa.
The picture on the right shows a pennant that PEZ embossed onto the side of the Football Player's stem. This pennant provided a spot location for a Pennant sticker that was on an insert supplied with this dispenser. The purpose of the sticker was for kids to write the name of their favorite team onto the pennant, then affix the sticker onto the stem. Quite a clever idea... it allowed PEZ to supply a *generic* Football Player that could be *customized* into any kids favorite team!
Another type of Embossed Stem was on the Witch A dispenser shown below.
Non-Embossed Stems -
Die-Cut Stems -
Marbleized Stems -
Sometimes the stem is not molded in a solid color, but instead the plastic is "marbleized" with several different colors of plastic. On certain dispensers, like the Psychedelic Eye, a marbleized stem was intentional.
On other dispensers, the marbleizing was purely by accident. The marbleizing would occur when PEZ changed colors as they were preparing to mold the next colored batch of stems, and they did not get all of the *old* color of plastic pellets removed from the infeed hopper on the injection molding machine. With two different colors in the hopper, you would get a marbleized effect in the plastic as one color runs out and the next color begins. Since this marbleizing is not intentional, the stem would be considered a "reject" and trashed. Sometimes, however, one of these "reject" stems would not be caught, and would be assembled into a complete dispenser. These marbleized stemmed dispensers are very unique and hard to find! Shown below is one of these stems from our collection.
little closer view of this really unique and COOL stem!
Metallic Stems -
several occasions, PEZ has produced stems with either a metallic flake
in the plastic or *plated* with a metallic finish.
One such stem variation can be found on the Cocoa - Marsh Spacemen. On many of these stems, PEZ used a metallic flake in the plastic to give it a *shiny* appearance. In this picture, above, you can see how the metallic flakes gives the stem a really cool appearance when compared to a comparable solid color stem.
also has made some special dispensers with a metal *plating* on the
outside of the plastic. The dispenser on the left is called a Golden
Glow Regular and was a mail-away premium from PEZ. Years later, PEZ
produced the dispenser on the right called a Silver Glow dispenser.
Shadowed and Non-Shadowed PEZ Logos -
"Shadowed" PEZ logos on a stem refers to the molded relief coming off from one side of the letters. This relief gives each letter a more 3-D appearance by having a cast "shadow" coming off each letter.
PEZ Logo (Above)
"Non-Shadowed" PEZ Logo (Below)
On "Non-Shadowed" logo stems, there isn't a shadow coming off of each letter.
Missing "T" Stems -
Missing "T" Stems is a term used to describe some stems that have the middle "T" missing in the word "Patent". On these stems, Patent is spelled "PA ENT". These hard-to-find stems are found more frequently on the Valentine Heart dispensers, although they can also be found on other dispensers like Donald Duck.
Stenciled Stems -
A Stenciled Stem is a stem that has the *Made in* and the Patent number information stenciled onto the sides of the stem. Although is it not verified by PEZ, stenciled stems are believed to have been made during the transition period from the 3.9 to 4.9 patent numbers. It is guessed that PEZ had a surplus of molded 3.9 patent stems when the new 4.9 patent number was issued. Instead of discarding the discontinued stems, PEZ printed the new patent number (4.9) onto the outside of the molded 3.9 stem. On all of the stenciled stems, the Made in <Country of Origin> info is printed on one side, with the new patent number printed on the opposite side of the stem. Stenciled stems are more readily found on 3-Piece Witches and typically are printed in black... although white stenciled stems do exist.
Shown below is the only example of a White Stenciled Stem that I have ever seen. This wonderful dispenser is owned by Tanya Wilson.