Jimmies were first developed by Just Born Candy Company, which was founded by Samuel Born, who immigrated to the US from Russia around 1910. Born opened a small candy-making and retail store in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1923. Soon after opening the Brooklyn store, Born invited his brothers-in-law, Irv and Jack Shaffer, to join him in the business. With his capable partners handling the factory and growing sales, Born was free to direct his energies to his many candy-related inventions.
In 1930 James Bartholomew was lucky enough to acquire a job at Just Born, Inc. Bartholomew operated a machine that produced Born's latest invention, tiny hot-dog shaped chocolate sprinkly things. But what to call them? Born briefly pondered that question before deciding to accredit the name to the producer, Jimmy Bartholomew. The new product was named JIMMIES, which is still a trademarked name, but no longer made by Just Born.The dictionary definition for JIMMIES used to be "decorative things." They have also been called toppettes, shots, fancies, trimettes and sprinkles.
When they came to Boston, (circa 1947) Brigham's was the first to promote JIMMIES and did not charge for them. In Boston, JIMMIES are to ice cream like mustard & relish are to a hot dog. Brigham's has continued the long tradition of serving JIMMIES free of charge on ice cream cones and dishes.