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Archive for June, 2009

Wish You Were Here. . .

 

 

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Postcards such as this one were used to promote Milton Hershey's model industrial town.

The early 1900s saw a surge of popularity for postcards. The hobby of collecting picture postcards became the greatest collectible hobby that the World had ever known. The official figures from the U.S. Post Office for their fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, cite 677,777,798 postcards mailed. At that time the total population of the United States was only 88,700,000.

 

Hershey Chocolate Company included specially sized postcards with their 5 cent milk chocolate bars from 1909-1918.

Hershey Chocolate Company included specially sized postcards with their 5 cent milk chocolate bars from 1909-1918.

 

Hershey Chocolate Company took advantage of the popularity of postcards by designing and printing a series of specially sized cards. These cards were included with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate 5 cent bars. The postcards were first included beginning about 1909 and continued until 1918. At first the cards featured images of the Chocolate Factory and dairy farms.

 

Early "Bar cards" featured scenes of chocolate making departments such as the Longitude or Conche department where chocolate was mixed for up to 96 hours before being moulded into bars.

Early "Bar cards" featured scenes of chocolate making departments such as the Longitude or Conche department where chocolate was mixed for up to 96 hours before being moulded into bars.

Later town attractions such as Hershey Park, Swatara Creek, The Homestead and Chocolate Avenue were featured. The cards enabled Milton Hershey to advertise the quality of his milk chocolate and promote the town as a destination. They also became a popular bonus for consumers of his best-selling product. Over 88 different designs were developed over the years. Hershey’s sophisticated printing equipment made it cost effective to print the cards.  Large quantities were printed.  The local paper, the Hershey Press, (also printed in house), reported that one year 75 milion cards had been printed for inclusion with Hershey’s milk chocolate bars.  Originally the cards were printed in black and white. Later a green tint was added and finally the cards were printed in 4 colors. All of the cards included the phrase “Home of the Hershey Chocolate Company.”  To see more Hershey Chocolate Company “bar cards”  visit the Archives page at www.Flickr.com

 

Over the years of production, 3 styles of printing were used:  black and white, green and black and 4-color.  Postcard featured scene from Hershey Park, ca1916-1918.

Over the years of production, 3 styles of printing were used: black and white, green and black and 4-color. Postcard features scene from Hershey Park, ca1916-1918.

 

 
 

Seeking thrills? Hershey Park’s first roller coaster

 

 

Entrance to Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park.  ca1930-1940
Entrance to Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park. ca1930-1940

Hershey celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1923, and Milton Hershey’s present to the town was a new roller coaster for Hershey Park.  Named the Wild Cat, it was nearly a mile in length and it had “more dips and deeper dips than any of like construction in America.”  It was put into operation on June 16, 1923.  On its first day of operation no ladies were allowed to ride until the afternoon.  Marion Murrie, daughter of Hershey Chocolate Company president, William F. R. Murrie, was the first female to ride the coaster.  Kids were given free rides in the morning to break the ride in.  The new roller coaster was briefly known as “The Joy Ride,” but that name was soon abandoned and the more exciting name, “Wild Cat” was adopted.

Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park.  View from first hill.  ca1923-1930

Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park. View from first hill. ca1923-1930

WIld Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park. Returning to the station. ca1923-1930

WIld Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park. Returning to the station. ca1923-1930

Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park, ca1923-1930.
Wild Cat rollercoaster, Hershey Park, ca1923-1930.

 

 The Wild Cat was designed by the great coaster designer Herbert P. Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) under his supervision.   (Schmeck also designed Hershey Park’s first water flume ride, The Mill Chute).  A note in the records of the PTC indicated the “length of Hershey Coaster – 2,321 feet – measured by Schmeck 8/6/23.”  PTC ran the Wild Cat as a concession for a number of years.  The Wild Cat was 76 feet high and crossed Spring Creek on a specially designed wooden bridge. The Wildcat was advertised in the Hershey Press as costing $50,000.  The Wild Cat lasted from 1923 until 1946.  In 1935 it was redesigned by Schmeck.  Its dips were made higher and the curves were more steeply banked.  Construction was supervised by Frank F. Hoover. 

  In 1946 the Wild Cat roller coaster was replaced with the Comet.