The Hershey chocolate factory is expanded, circa 1915. Credit: Hershey Derry Twp. Historical Society
Americans absolutely adore chocolate. The average Americanof the stuff per year. But when did this love affair with chocolate start? Back in the 19th century, sugar was a luxury good, and chocolate was mostly for the rich. Milton Hershey, and his Hershey bar, changed all that. Historian Nancy Koehn, author of “ ,” has written about Hershey’s life and company. She walks us through who he was, and how he gave America a taste for chocolate.
- Milton Hershey didn’t start off mass-producing chocolate. He originally found success selling caramels… after repeatedly going bankrupt making other types of candy, like sour balls. It was only after he sold his caramel company that he decided to fully devote himself to chocolate.
- His first major candy innovation was to figure out how to make milk chocolate on a large scale. And this took Hershey years of messy, smelly, difficult tinkering. He worked obsessively, experimenting with multiple combinations to figure out the problem.
- When Hershey’s company needed to expand, he didn’t just build a factory… he built a town. Hershey, Pennsylvania - which still exists - was created for the purpose of making chocolate.
- Although Milton Hershey seemed to genuinely care about his workers’ quality of life, the company’s relationship with its employees wasn’t always rosy. History.com explores .
- Perhaps because our host absolutely adores chocolate, we’ve done a bunch of stories on the subject. Here’s a history of , a look at , and the story behind .
- The story of chocolate doesn’t begin with Milton Hershey, it goes back thousands of years.