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Archive for the ‘Hershey Chocolate’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-20 Eckenroth Journals: Working for Hershey Chocolate during the 1930s and 1940s

Daily journals are kept as a personal record of the activities in an individual’s life. Although never intended for a public audience, many journals provide us with a better understanding of what effect world-wide and local events had on an individual.


Raphael Eckenroth’s journals detail his work experience in the Hershey Chocolate Factory during the Great Depression and World War II. Born in 1908, Eckenroth began working for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in 1928. Perhaps to accurately record his income during a period of financial uncertainty, or possibly due to a meticulous personality, Eckenroth recorded his daily wages and work assignments in the factory over a period of ten years.


Raphael Eckenroth's journal documents his cumulative earnings for 1941.

Raphael Eckenroth’s journal documents his cumulative earnings for 1941.

The first column records the week of the year.  The second column is the number of hours worked in the Carver room or other factory departments.  The third column is total hours worked for the week.  And the final two columns record his weekly income.


An example of a "Carver" press. ca.1950-1960

An example of a “Carver” press. ca.1950-1960


In the chocolate factory, Eckenroth worked primarily in the “Carver room” where “Carver” brand cocoa butter presses extracted cocoa butter from roasted cocoa beans. On occasion, he recorded how many hours each shift worked and the hours of operation for the “old” and “new” Carvers.  These entries offer insight into the factory’s production schedule and the increase in hours and output during the war.


“All old carver presses started again to press and are operating three 8 hour shifts.  The [new] carvers are operating two 7 hour shifts today.”  (February 24, 1942)


There is little information about the personal lives of the Eckenroth family in the journals.  Deaths, major illnesses, and social activities are recorded, but Eckenroth rarely comments on the events he chronicles.  He does however record personal reflections on the 1937 labor strike.  The journals offer a timeline of events and Eckenroth’s feelings regarding unionization are evident.


Approximately 500 Hershey Chocolate employees went on strike on April 2, 1937.  The “sit-down” strike end on April 7, when local farmers and non-striking workers forcibly remove the strikers.

Approximately 500 Hershey Chocolate employees went on strike on April 2, 1937. The “sit-down” strike end on April 7, when local farmers and non-striking workers forcibly remove the strikers.


In February 1937, the CIO began holding labor organizational meetings in Palmyra and negotiating an agreement with Hershey Chocolate Corporation.  In March, an agreement between the company and the United Chocolate Workers of America (CIO) recognizing the union was reached, however not all areas of concern were addressed.


A wounded and bloody striker is helped through the crowd on the last day of the strike.

A wounded and bloody striker is helped through the crowd on the last day of the strike.


On April 2, at 11:00 AM, a “sit-down” strike was called and approximately 500 employees began occupying the factory.  The strike impacted not only the non-striking employees but also the local dairy farmers who supplied the factory with milk each day.  On April 7, after the strikers refused to vacate the building, non-striking workers and farmers forcibly removed the strikers from the factory.  Strikers were forced to run a gauntlet and emerged beaten and bloody.  A few weeks later the National Labor Relations Board conducted an election and polled employees as to whether they wished to be represented by the United Chocolate Workers of America.  The employees overwhelmingly rejected the union.


“Had election today.  C.I.O. had 786.  Loyal 1542.  Was happy day for Hershey.  Spent the night drinking and being merry.”  (April 23, 1937)


Raphael Eckenroth worked for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation for 45 years until his retirement.  His journals, although spanning a brief ten years, broaden our understanding of the Great Depression and World War II’s impact on the Hershey community and businesses.  They also provide one man’s perspective on his relationship with Hershey Chocolate during one of the most violent periods in the community’s history.




HersheyArchives@30-19 Serving the Nation: Hershey and the Ration D bar

When the United States Army needed a food product that would serve as a survival ration for soldiers in combat situations, they turned to the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.



Wrapper: "U.S. Army Emergency Ration." 12/1939

Wrapper: “U.S. Army Emergency Ration.” 12/1939


In the spring of 1937, Captain Paul Logan, from the office of U.S. Army Quartermaster General, met with William Murrie, President, Hershey Chocolate Corporation and Sam Hinkle, Chief Chemist. The Army wanted to develop an emergency ration bar.


Milton Hershey was very supportive of the request and instructed Sam Hinkle to get started right away.


While developing the formula for the survival ration bar was relatively simple, manufacturing the bars presented greater challenges.


Unlike Hershey’s confectionery products where warm chocolate pours easily into moulds, the non-confectionery chocolate paste for the Field Ration D bar, as it was formally known, was much thicker and did not flow at any temperature. A new method of moulding would need to be engineered.


For the first batch of Ration D bars, Hershey Chocolate Corporation planned to produce 90,000 bars for the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. First, the factory needed to construct enough moulds for the project. Next, the specially formulated Ration D chocolate paste was produced and each four-ounce portion was weighed, kneaded, and pressed into the mould by hand. It took the chocolate factory three weeks to produce the first run of 90,000 bars.




The challenges to deliver this product were not over yet.




The United States Army had detailed requirements for the wrapping and packaging of this product. From the bar wrapper to the boxes to the shipping cartons, Hershey had to follow very specific guidelines as to the information printed on the wrappers and cartons. As the letter notes, Hershey Chocolate provided 42,000 bars packed in wooden crates, specifically as the Army Quartermaster had specified, and 48,000 packed in fiberboard cartons. In spite of the Army’s specific instructions, Hinkle noted that the company would not pack the bars in rectangular tins since they did not have the necessary equipment.




Between 1937 and 1941, small contracts were awarded to Hershey for additional orders of the Ration D bar. As war became more imminent, and Hershey realized that production would need to increase, the factory developed an automated method of moulding.


Ration D wrapped bar and shipping carton. 1942

Ration D wrapped bar and shipping carton. 1942


In 1939, Hershey was able to produce 100,000 units per day.  By the end of 1945, production lines on three floors of the plant were producing approximately 24 million units per week.  It has been estimated that between 1940 and 1945, over three billion ration units were produced and distributed to military personnel around the world.



HersheyArchives@30-18 Only Hershey’s Kisses are Kisses

Consumers associate a trademark with their experiences with the service or product the trademark represents. Milton Hershey prided himself on manufacturing quality products believing quality was “the best advertising in the world.” Hershey Chocolate Company trademarks and trade dress were consistent across the product line so a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar was easily identifiable as being from the same company as Hershey’s Cocoa. “Hershey’s” meant quality to consumers and it has always been important to the company to maintain the positive association that Milton Hershey established.


Early Trademark Action




In 1905, the Societe Generale Suisse De Chocolats, manufacturers of Peter’s Chocolate brought suit against Hershey Chocolate Company arguing that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrappers were too similar to those of Peter’s and caused consumer confusion.  Milton Hershey was ordered to change his design and subsequently adopted the now iconic maroon and silver wrapper.  Although he lost the case, Peter’s legal action introduced Mr. Hershey to the value of intellectual property and brand protection.  When his next product, Hershey’s Kisses, was introduced in 1907, Hershey diligently surveyed the marketplace for products too similar to his own.


Hershey Chocolate Company sold Hershey's Kisses by weight.  The pail was a unique way of packing bulk Kisses. ca1920

Hershey Chocolate Company sold Hershey’s Kisses by weight. The pail was a unique way of packing bulk Kisses. ca1920


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses were initially available for purchase in bulk and later in 10 cent boxes.  From 1907 until 1921, Kisses that were sold in bulk (meaning sold either by a specified number of Kisses or by weight) were identified by their display container and with nearby point-of-purchase placards.  A square piece of tissue-paper, printed with the company trademark, placed underneath the chocolate and wrapped inside the foil wrapper was the only other means of identifying the product as Hershey’s.  Since the buyer could not see that identification until after the chocolate was unwrapped, it encouraged many imitations.


One of Hershey's many competitors, Klein Chocolate Company marketed their conical pieces of chocolate as "Silver Bells." ca1930

One of Hershey’s many competitors, Klein Chocolate Company marketed their conical pieces of chocolate as “Silver Bells.” ca1930


To counteract the many competitors, Hershey Chocolate Company developed wrapping machinery that could insert a visual product marker, the plume or tag, in 1921.  Hershey began advertising its new wrapping technology and asking consumers to look for the identification tag.



In-store poster promoting Hershey’s Kisses with its trademark plume. 1921



An Employee becomes a Competitor


In 1910, Milton Hershey hired James B. Leithiser, the husband of one of his cousins, to serve as general manager of all the non-chocolate businesses—what would later be consolidated as Hershey Estates.  Leithiser was responsible for overseeing the majority of the town’s building initiatives and the community’s development over the next ten years.


As Milton Hershey began to expand his operations in Cuba, he asked Leithiser to move to Cuba and oversee its operations.  Rather than move, in 1921 Leithiser resigned from his position and relocated to Berks County in Pennsylvania to open a confectionery business, Fleetwood Chocolate Company.


Rumors that former officials of the Hershey chocolate company who in the last few months have severed their connections with the chocolate king were about to organize a new company in Berks county have been confirmed… J.B. Leithiser….who grew up with the Hershey plant as one of the executive managers is named as president of the Fleetwood organization. [Lebanon Daily News, 01/06/1922]


A year later Fleetwood was in direct competition with Hershey’s.  One item in particular caught the attention of William F.R. Murrie, president of Hershey Chocolate Company.


Fleetwood Milk Chocolate Kisses box. 1923

Fleetwood Milk Chocolate Kisses box. 1923


Protecting the Brand


When Hershey Chocolate Company began including a plume with each wrapped Hershey’s Kiss, the company also filed a federal trademark registration, registering the mark “Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses” in 1923.  Fleetwood’s Milk Chocolate Kisses prompted Hershey to consider the value of the term “Kisses” in general.  Hershey Chocolate Company president William F.R. Murrie brought the Fleetwood product to the attention of Mr. Hershey’s attorney, John E. Snyder.  Murrie thought it was imperative to protect the Kisses brand.  “It seems to me that we should not surrender what rights we may have in the use of the words, ‘Kisses,’ or ‘Milk Chocolate Kisses.’”



Correspondence  from Hershey Chocolate Company President William F.R. Murrie to John E. Snyder, Mr. Hershey's attorney. 3/17/1923

Correspondence from Hershey Chocolate Company President William F.R. Murrie to John E. Snyder, Mr. Hershey’s attorney. 3/17/1923


Additional federal trademark registrations protecting the name, and unique conical shape of Kisses, both wrapped and unwrapped, were later obtained.  Today, The Hershey Company continues to proactively protect the Kisses brand.  One reason is to avoid a generic or “genericized” trademark.  Trademarks can become “genericized” when the associated product or service acquires substantial market dominance or “mind space” and the trademark becomes a term for the product or service itself instead of a brand.  Genericized trademarks include: aspirin; escalator; trampoline; and laundromat.  A company risks losing its trademark and associated rights if a trademark becomes genericized and it also enables competitors to use the trademark.


Hershey Chocolate Company executives recognized the value of the Kisses brand early in the product’s history.  Early and continued brand protection ensures that Kisses chocolates and confections are still only associated with Hershey.



HersheyArchives@30-11 “The Gift”

On November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey transferred his ownership of Hershey Chocolate Company to the Hershey Industrial School.

On November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey transferred his ownership of Hershey Chocolate Company to the Hershey Industrial School.


On November 15, 1909, Milton and Catherine Hershey signed a deed of trust establishing Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School).  Approximately 486 acres of land were transferred to the School together with all assets contained on the property.  All income, revenue, and rents derived from the property were to be used to support and maintain the School.


The previous day, November 14, 1909, Milton Hershey had signed a last will and testament directing the settlement of his estate.  The will provided for his wife Catherine, various friends and relatives, and also the School.   Under the terms of the will, the School would have acquired 3,000 shares of Hershey Chocolate Company stock and derived income from that investment.


Companies issue stock to raise money by selling a small part of the company to an investor, who is then referred to as a shareholder.  Hershey Chocolate Company and a few other Hershey area businesses acquired or established by Milton Hershey, such as Hershey Transit Company, were all privately held companies wherein a small number of private shareholders could trade or exchange stock privately. Other Hershey businesses, such as the Hershey Laundry, Hershey Park, and Hershey Store Company were funded by personal investments made by Milton Hershey.


Although Milton was the primary owner of the Hershey Chocolate Company and the other businesses created to manage the town, these businesses operated as separate entities. That all changed in 1918. On January 5, 1918, but retroactively effective as of January 1, 1918, Milton Hershey assigned his ownership in all of the disparate businesses to Hershey Chocolate Company.  Real estate, totaling approximately 7,695 acres, was also transferred to the chocolate company at the same time.


A list of the companies included in the transfer of Milton Hershey's assets to Hershey Chocolate Company.

A list of the companies included in the transfer of Milton Hershey’s assets to Hershey Chocolate Company.


With his investments and property consolidated under one organization, a company in which he was the primary shareholder, how Milton Hershey chose to divest his shares could impact not only the Hershey Chocolate Company, but the entire community.


Following the death of his beloved wife, Kitty, Milton decided to “execute” his will during his lifetime.  As it was Milton and Kitty’s desire that Hershey Industrial School operate in perpetuity, on November 13, 1918, Milton Hershey “executed” his will and quietly gifted the School his stock in Hershey Chocolate Company.  “I have no heirs—that is, no children.  So I decided to make the orphan boys of the United States my heirs.”  Hershey Industrial School became the majority shareholder in all the enterprises established by Milton Hershey and the majority landowner in Derry Township.


Milton Hershey with Hershey Industrial School students, seated on the steps of The Homestead.  1923

Milton Hershey with Hershey Industrial School students, seated on the steps of The Homestead. 1923



HersheyArchives@30-5 Maroon and Silver

The  familiar Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper.


The maroon and silver package, sometimes described as brown and silver, is identifiable at a glance. You can imagine the many versions and proofs Milton Hershey must have considered before settling on the now iconic wrapper design; the “face” of his new brand and his new product. Yet the process of designing the wrapper was not so straightforward. Within the Archives’ collections, documentation reveals a particular set of circumstances that transpired as to why maroon and silver came to symbolize the Hershey brand.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1900

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1900


Milton Hershey, after years of experimentation, began marketing Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in 1900. The bar retailed for $0.05 and was wrapped in a white wrapper with gold lettering.


The wrapper featured Hershey’s two trademarks, a cow’s head enclosed in a wreath of wheat and the cocoa bean baby.  The gold lettering was similar to that used on Hershey’s earlier semi-sweet or dark chocolate products.  Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars were immediately successful and distributed nationally, but there was one problem.  The white wrapper had a tendency to become soiled and stained during the summer months as heat influenced the product.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, gold and maroon. Hershey marketed bars in a variety of sizes, including a 8 ounce bar, retailing for 40 cents. 1902

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, gold and maroon. Hershey marketed bars in a variety of sizes, including a 8 ounce bar, retailing for 40 cents. 1902


In 1902, Hershey instructed that a brown wrapper, printed with the same trademarks and lettering, should replace the problematic white wrapper.  According to Milton Hershey, “The brown color of paper was selected by me for its wearing qualities, durability, cleanliness, and not being liable to soil.”[i]


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, designed by Ketterlinus Lithographic Manufacturing Company. 1903



In 1903, Hershey visited Ketterlinus Lithographic Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and had an additional wrapper designed.


Hershey was not the only manufacturer of milk chocolate in the United States.  He was however, the only manufacturer to use fresh milk; other manufacturers used milk powder or condensed milk.  In 1905, the Societe Generale Suisse De Chocolats, manufacturers of Peter’s Chocolate, took notice of Hershey’s activities.


Peter's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. ca1903-1905

Peter’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. ca1903-1905



Peter’s argued that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar wrapper was too similar to Peter’s Chocolate and caused consumer confusion and brought suit against Hershey.  A judge agreed with Peter’s and ordered Hershey to discontinue use of the wrapper.


Hershey complied with the judge’s order and to differentiate his wrapper from that of Peter’s began using silver lettering in place of the gold.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1906-1911

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1906-1911


Peter’s continued to protest Hershey’s use of the maroon, or brown, color citing that other manufacturers began to utilize the color as well causing market saturation.[ii]  Milton Hershey was satisfied with the new wrapper design of maroon and silver and was not swayed by Peter’s arguments.


In one way, the familiar maroon and silver wrapper is the product of legal action.  Perhaps though, Milton Hershey saw the change as an unexpected improvement. Had he not been satisfied with the new design he would have returned to the Ketterlinus offices.  The experience had an additional positive impact on Milton Hershey.  It introduced him to the value of intellectual property and trademarks in the development and protection of a brand.  Hershey would recall this experience and use the lessons he learned in the future to protect his next product: Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates.


[i] Milton Hershey affidavit, 1905.  Accession 200945 Box 1 Folder 42.

[ii] Correspondence, Frederick Duncan to John Snyder, 01/21/1908.  Accession 200945 Box 1 Folder 41.


HersheyArchives@30-3 “I am going to make chocolate.”


Milton Hershey ordered four pieces of equipment from the J.M. Lehmann Company's New York office. January 11, 1894

Milton Hershey ordered four pieces of equipment from the J.M. Lehmann Company’s New York office. January 11, 1894


Milton Hershey made his fortune with caramels but he made history with chocolate. In 1893, while attending the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Hershey told Frank Snavely, “Caramels are a fad but chocolate is permanent. I am going to make chocolate.”


Milton Hershey was a reader of newspapers and an astute businessman. The increasing demand for chocolate in the United States would not have escaped his notice. In 1883, the United States imported 9,000,000 pounds of cocoa beans; in 1893, 24,000,000 pounds.


After examining the J. M. Lehmann exhibit of chocolate making machinery at Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition, Hershey made up his mind to invest in chocolate. After the exposition closed, two pieces of Lehmann machinery from the exhibit were shipped to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This document, an order for additional chocolate making machinery, details Hershey’s subsequent purchases and signifies the beginning of Hershey manufacturing chocolate in 1894.


The principal machines required to manufacture chocolate are roasters, hullers, mills to crush the beans, melangeurs (chocolate grinding machine) to mix the chocolate paste and sugar, cocoa butter presses to separate cocoa butter from cocoa solids, and steel rollers to refine the chocolate. Having acquired the melangeur and steel roller from the exhibit at the exposition, this purchase of equipment fulfilled Hershey’s needs. By 1895, the Hershey Chocolate Company was producing cocoa and semi-sweet or dark chocolate for retail sale.


Catalog; page 4. Image of a J.M. Lehmann Roasting Machine; Roaster; Catalog; J.M. Lehmann Dresden-Loebtau, 1902 edition

Catalog; page 4. Image of a J.M. Lehmann Roasting Machine; Roaster; Catalog; J.M. Lehmann Dresden-Loebtau, 1902 edition


When Hershey decided to make chocolate, he committed to the idea fully. Comparing the invoice found at the top of this story to a slightly newer (1902) J. M. Lehmann catalog indicates Hershey purchased machinery capable of producing large quantities of chocolate. The purchased roaster had a capacity of 9oo pounds. The local newspaper reported that Hershey’s melangeur was the second-largest in the United States, second only to one used by Walter Baker & Company. From the start, Hershey intended to transform and dominate the chocolate market in the United States.

If at first you don’t succeed, try a new name

Hershey Chocolate used point of purchase placards to market its products in stores. 1933-1936

Hershey Chocolate used point of purchase placards to market its products in stores. 1933-1936


While Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is the United States most iconic confectionery product, not all Hershey products have been so successful.  Sometimes when Hershey introduced a new product, the company was not satisfied with its sales and quickly removed the product from production.  Other times, Hershey continued to market the product, tweaking the recipe, the packaging and even the name.


In 1927, Hershey Chocolate introduced Hershey’s Honey bar.  The bulletin distributed to the sales force announced the product this way:

 Bulletin No. 9 February 22, 1927

Within the current week Hershey Chocolate Company will go into big production of Hershey’s 5-cent HONEY BAR.  We use those descriptive words in alluding to this new bar because the principal ingredients beig sweet milk chocolate, borken almonds, and broken honey nugget, the prinitng on the labels emphasizes the words “HERSHEY’S” and “HONEY” in this manner:

“HERSHEY’S Sweet Milk Chocolate with Almonds and HONEY”


Hershey's HONEY bar. 1927-1930

Hershey’s HONEY bar. 1927-1930


In spite of what I am sure were the company’s best efforts to distribute and market the new candy bar, the product faltered.  Instead of giving up, however, Hershey sought to improve its marketing efforts tweaking the name, so that it would be clear that this was a candy bar.


Hershey's HONEYBAR, 1930-1935

Hershey’s HONEYBAR, 1930-1935


And yet the sales remained sluggish.  Though the “Hershey’s” name was prominent on the package, perhaps the yellow wrapper did not encourage consumers to recognize that this was a Hershey product. So in 1935, Hershey again renamed the product “Hershey’s Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate” and redesigned the wrapper to make it more obviously a Hershey product.


Hershey's Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1935-8/1939

Hershey’s Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1935-8/1939


And still product sales lagged.  Maybe no one knew what honey-almond milk chocolate tasted like?


So Hershey tried one more time, reintroducing the product in 1939 as Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bar.


Point of purchase advertising placard for Hershey's Nougat-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1939-1941

Point of purchase advertising placard for Hershey’s Nougat-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1939-1941


With this new name, Hershey replaced the familiar maroon and silver packaging with blue and white. To promote the product, Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bars were one of the five products included in Hershey’s Miniatures (the other products were milk chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel, and Bitter-Sweet) when it was introduced in 1939.


Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bars were discontinued in 1942, as part of Hershey’s product line consolidation in response to wartime restrictions.

Looking back: Hershey Chocolate products

In-store advertising placard for Hershey's Chocolate.  1955

In-store advertising placard for Hershey’s Chocolate. 1955


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is one of the great iconic American products.  Introduced in 1900, it has delighted generations of candy lovers.


Not all products are so successful. This week’s blog post takes a look at some of Hershey’s less successful products that were introduced with high hopes, only to be discontinued a few years (or months!) later because the public didn’t embrace the new confection, or manufacturing costs were too high or the product turned out to have some other challenge.


During the 1930s, Hershey Chocolate introduced a number of new products, including Krackel, Not-So-Sweet (a forerunner of Hershey’s Special Dark) and Hershey’s Miniatures.  Other products were not so successful.


Hershey's Mild and Mellow milk chocolate bar was introduced in January 1934.

Hershey’s Mild and Mellow milk chocolate bar was introduced in January 1934.


Hershey’s Mild and Mellow milk chocolate was introduced in early 1934. Developed to appeal to people who enjoyed a more milky, European style chocolate, it remained in production until the end of 1941. The United States’ entry in to World War II and Hershey’s need to reduce its product line because of sugar rationing forced the elimination of the Mild and Mellow bar. It was not reintroduced after the end of the war. However, in 1989 Hershey Chocolate introduced Hershey’s Symphony. The new product featured a milder, more milky style of milk chocolate. Twenty-five years later,  Hershey’s Symphony milk chocolate is an important part of the company’s product line.


During the 1930s, Hershey Chocolate Corporation experimented with a partnership with the British confectionery firm, Rowntree.  In 1934 Hershey acquired the right to manufacture and market a new Rowntree products:  the Aero bar.


Hershey Chocolate acquired the rights to manufacture and market the Aero bar in the United States from the Rowntree Company.

Hershey Chocolate acquired the rights to manufacture and market the Aero bar in the United States from the Rowntree Company.


Unfortunately, manufacturing the Aero bar was not easy. It involved placing the still liquid chocolate bars into a chamber where the air could be vacuumed out. The process caused the chocolate to form tiny air bubbles that gave the bar its characteristic wafer appearance. Too many problems with manufacturing and not enough sales resulted in the bar being discontinued in May 1939.


In 1938 Hershey again entered an agreeement with Rowntree to produce and market another bar: the Biscrisp bar.


Hershey's Biscrisp bars were introduced in 1938.

Hershey’s Biscrisp bars were introduced in 1938.


The Biscrisp bar also presented several manufacturing challenges for Hershey. It was difficult to make the wafers that were enrobed by chocolate. American wheat flour is different than British flour and that affected the quality of the wafers. Even though Americans loved the product, it was discontinued the following year.


If the image of the Biscrisp bar looks familiar, that is because, in England, the bar was called Kit Kat.  In 1969, Hershey again entered into a licensing agreement with Rowntree (now Rowntree Macintosh, Ltd.) to manufacture and market the candy bar. This time, Rowntree supplied technical support to help Hershey learn the intricacies of wafer baking and bar production. Today Hershey’s Kit Kat bar continue to be a popular confection in the company’s product line.

Building Hershey: C.Emlen Urban



C. Emlen Urban, 1863-1939. (Image courtesy of


This Sunday (October 5, 2014) The Hershey Story and the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society are hosting a special walking tour of our downtown.  The tour will highlight some of the many buildings designed by noted architect, Cassius Emlem Urban, better known as Emlen to his friends. Mr. Urban was responsible for the design of some of Hershey’s most iconic buildings, including the Convention Hall, High Point and the Hershey Press Building.  It is remarkable to think that when you walk down Chocolate Avenue, much of what stands was designed by one architect.


Chocolate Avenue, 2007

Chocolate Avenue, 2007


So how did a Lancaster born and bred architect come to play such an important role in shaping the physical look of Hershey?


Cassius Emlen Urban (1863-1939) was born in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  After graduating from Lancaster’s Boys High School, he apprenticed as a draftsman at a Scranton architectural firm before returning to Lancaster in 1886.  That was the same year Milton Hershey also returned to establish the Lancaster Caramel Company.


Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban

Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban


Like Milton Hershey, Urban’s career quickly took off as he received commissions to design what became many of Lancaster’s signature buildings: Southern Market on Queen Street (1886), Watt and Shand Department Store (1898), and St. James Lutheran Church parish House on Duke Street (1903).


While Urban and Hershey must have at least  been aware of each other due to their close ages and similar status as members of Lancaster’s most notable young business owners, they also met socially through the Hamilton Club, a private men’s club, established in 1889 by some of Lancaster’s most prominent business and political leaders.  Milton Hershey was invited to join in 1893, a sure sign of his growing prominence in the Lancaster business and social circles.  Through the Hamilton Club, Milton Hershey established and nurtured relationships that became invaluable when he began making plans for his new chocolate factory and the model community that would surround it.


C. Emlen Urban played a significant role shaping the look of the community.  Urban was responsible for the design of all the new town’s major buildings constructed between 1903 and 1926:


Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909

Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909


List of C. Emlen Urban designed buildings in Hershey:

1903    Original Hershey Chocolate Company Offices and Factory    (demolished 1931)

1905    Cocoa House (1 Chocolate Avenue) (demolished 1963)

1908    High Point

1910    McKinley Building 1910 expansion (demolished 1928)

1914    M.S. Hershey Consolidated Building

1914    Hershey Trust Company (1 W. Chocolate Avenue)

1915*  Community Building and Hershey Theatre (14 E. Chocolate Avenue)

1915    Convention Hall

1916    Hershey Press Building

1909-1916       Mansions along Chocolate Avenue


*Urban was also responsible for the design of the Community Building and Theatre, even though the structure was not constructed until 1932.  The designs and the intent to construct it was announced in the Hershey Press newspaper in 1915.  The United States’ entry into World War I delayed the start of construction.  A variety of financial and business related obstacles delayed the start of construction until 1928.

Reese’s Pieces: E.T’s Favorite Candy

Reese's Pieces were introduced in 1978.

Reese’s Pieces were introduced in 1978.


How a great candy was saved from oblivion by a small alien visitor from outer space OR the story of Reese’s Pieces, E.T.’s favorite candy.


In the 1950s, Hershey Chocolate developed the capability for panning; that is, sugar-coating a product.  M&Ms are probably the best known example of a panned candy product.  Hershey’s first panned product was Hershey-Ets, candy-coated chocolate discs or lentils.  One marketing challenge for this new product was that when the company introduced Hershey-Ets, people would say, “What is it?”  And to define it, you had to use the competitor’s name.  That’s a pretty difficult situation.  The product was eventually discontinued, except for holiday and seasonal applications.


Hershey-ets single serving bag, 1 3/4 oz., 1961-1968

Hershey-ets single serving bag, 1 3/4 oz., 1961-1968


This was Hershey’s first attempt at a marketing a panned product.


Flash forward a couple decades.


In the 1970s, Hershey Chocolate developed a formula for sweetened peanut meal with the consistency of chocolate.  It became the basis for Reese’s Pieces, which were made using the same procedures and equipment as Hershey-Ets.


The new product was originally named PBs.  But PBs wasn’t a proper name and the product was soon rechristened Reese’s Pieces.


At that time, Hershey was building a new manufacturing plant in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia, and Hershey planned to manufacture Reese’s Pieces there, in addition to the manufacturing in Hershey.


Hershey Chocolate supported the introduction of Reese's Pieces with advertising and promotional coupons.  1980

Hershey Chocolate supported the introduction of Reese’s Pieces with advertising and promotional coupons. 1980


The product launch was successful.  Reese’s Pieces sales went up significantly, held a little bit and then started coming down, not at an alarming rate, but it was certainly a bit disturbing, particularly since the company was in the process of building additional manufacturing capability.


About that time, Hershey Chocolate  received a call from Universal Studios, and they said that Steven Spielberg was producing a movie called “E.T.,” and they had decided to use Reese’s Pieces and the candy would play a featured part in the picture.  Over the phone, Universal invited Hershey to cooperate by promoting the picture.


Jack Dowd, then Director, New Products Development, traveled to California to meet officials from Universal Studios.  The plot was sketched out, and Universal explained that this creature was lured into the house by Reese’s Pieces.  The vice president said to Jack that they had decided not to use M&Ms.  Trying to come up with an alternative candy, he had asked his son, “What would you use?”  And his son said, “Reese’s Pieces.”  The vice president said he had never heard of Reese’s Pieces until that moment.


Dowd thought the project looked like something worthwhile.  Dowd knew Reese’s Pieces needed some special promotion to save it.  He agreed that Hershey Chocolate would support the movie with about a million dollars’ worth of marketing.  Hershey would create consumer promotions, trade promotions, and displays, featuring “E.T.”  In return, Hershey Chocolate would have an exclusive in the confectionery field for promotion and advertising.


This was the first time Hershey Chocolate had agreed to partner with Hollywood in the promotion of a movie and its use of a Hershey product.


Jack Dowd, in his 1991 oral history interview, remembered:


So I came home and informed Earl Spangler (Hershey Chocolate president) and the staff that we were going to spend a million dollars on a movie that I couldn’t show them the script for, that was going to employ a little green creature from outer space, and I couldn’t show them–at that point it was still confidential–I couldn’t show them a picture of that either.  I hadn’t seen it either.  I didn’t know what it would look like.


Earl said, “Are you sure this is going to work?”


And I said, “Oh, sure.”  Because what else could I say?  If I said, “Oh, no,” then we’d have to cancel it and I’d already signed up for it. 


Reese's Pieces was E.T.'s favorite candy.  Promotional poster, 1982

Reese’s Pieces was E.T.’s favorite candy. Promotional poster, 1982


We were going to offer a tee-shirt that had a picture of E.T.  We wanted a picture, and they sent us a picture of E.T. and the little boy.  I proudly showed the picture at the staff meeting, and Earl [Spangler] said, “That is the ugliest creature I have ever seen in my whole life.”  There’s no answer to that.  You just sit quietly and let the eruption die down. 


There was a special screening of the movie in the Hershey Lodge theater shortly after it premiered in New York City. The theater was filled with employees and their families.


At the end, the screen went black and there was total silence.  Nobody seemed to want to get off the mountain; they wanted to stay up there.  And then there was enormous applause. 


So I ran out in the lobby to watch the faces of the people that came by.  Many of them were tear-stained.  And Earl, who is a very emotional man, came out and his eyes were quite moist, and I said, “Is he still ugly, Earl?”


And Earl said, “Ah, he’s beautiful.”  And that was one of the high spots of the whole performance.


The movie was an enormous hit.  The publicity was incredible.  And the demand was tremendous, and fortunately just at that time the Stuart’s Draft plant came on stream and we were able to meet the demand, and the sales were more, far more than we expected.


Read Jack Dowd’s complete story on the Archives’ website.