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Archive for the ‘Hershey Chocolate’ Category

Hershey’s Syrup: Chocolate goodness in a tin

It wasn’t until 1926 that Hershey Chocolate Company began manufacturing and marketing chocolate syrup. When Hershey’s Syrup was first introduced, it was marketed to commercial users (i.e. bakers, soda fountains, restaurants).  Commercial chocolate syrup was marketed in two strengths: single and double.  Single strength was promoted for use in soda fountain pumps for making carbonated beverages.  Double strength was used for use as a topping and in milk drinks.


Hershey's Syrup label, 18 oz. 1933

Hershey’s Syrup label, 18 oz. 1933


In late 1928, salesmen’s requests led the company to package and market Hershey’s single strength chocolate syrup for home use.  It was packaged in two sizes: 5 ½ oz. and 18 oz. metal tins.  In 1934 the 18 oz. size was reduced to 16 oz and marketed as a 1 pound tin.  Labels incorporated the iconic Hershey block letter design.


Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, 1936

Hershey’s Syrup recipe pamphlet, 1936


To help introduce the new product to consumers, Hershey Chocolate hired a public relations/marketing firm, N.W. Ayer & Son, to help with the launch.  Hershey also hired a noted home economist, Caroline King, to develop 12 recipes using syrup.  The recipes and syrup samples were distributed to “home institutes” and magazines, including Good Housekeeping Delineator, People’s Home Journal, McCall’s Magazine, Women’s Home Companion, Liberty and Conde Nast Publications.  Initial results were positive and publications printed recipes and articles about Hershey’s new product.

Here’s a page of recipes from one of those early recipe pamphlets:

Recipes using Hershey's Syrup, ca.1928-1933

Recipes using Hershey’s Syrup, ca.1928-1933

Looking Back: Hershey’s First Chocolate Products


Early Hershey Chocolate Company invoice.  February 9, 1899

Early Hershey Chocolate Company invoice. February 9, 1899


In February 1894, Hershey Chocolate Company was established after Milton Hershey purchased some chocolate making machinery he had seen exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  Mr. Hershey was excited by the challenge of learning to make a different confectionery product:  chocolate.  Before long, he was making semi-sweet chocolate for use with his caramel products.  He also began marketing a line of chocolate products known as “sweet chocolate novelties.”


Hershey was years away from developing his formula and process for making milk chocolate, the confectionery treat that would make his future fortune.  Unlike the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, that are a part of our American psyche, Hershey’s chocolate products had imaginative names and  were wrapped in colorful, fanciful packaging.  They were moulded into cigars, cigarettes, sticks, batons, wafers and other fanciful shapes.


Hershey Chocolate Chrysanthemums. ca.1895-1909

Hershey Chocolate Chrysanthemums. ca.1895-1909




Even after Hershey’s milk chocolate was introduced and became America’s chocolate bar, Hershey continued to produce and market these products until February 1917.


I think I would buy these products just for the packaging.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse at Hershey’s earliest products.


Things old are new again: Hershey’s Modern Office Building

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935


People who regularly drive through Hershey on Rt. 422 (Chocolate Avenue) have noticed all the construction and reconstruction taking place at the original chocolate factory.  Included in this project is construction work being done to the building at 19 East Chocolate Avenue, a structure also known as the Windowless or Modern Office Building.  Completed in 1935, this building served as the corporate headquarters for Hershey Chocolate for over forty years.  Today, this building is the heart of The Hershey Company’s operational offices.


When the building was constructed, much of the world was struggling under the financial stress of the Great Depression. Jobs were lost as businesses retrenched.  In Hershey, there was a different experience.  Milton Hershey responded to the economic upheaval with a construction program.  During the 1930s, many of Hershey’s monumental structures were built, including Hotel Hershey, Milton Hershey School’s Catherine Hall (then the Junior-Senior High School), the Community Building (14E), Hershey Sports Arena and the Modern Office Building for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.


Milton Hershey’s great interest in innovation and experimentation shaped the design of this new office building.


Original plans for the building called for a conventional design with windows and awnings.  As the foundation was being dug, Milton Hershey became intrigued with the idea of a windowless facility.  Such a design would dramatically increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.  At Mr. Hershey’s direction, architect/builder D. Paul Witmer, quickly drew up new plans and construction continued without any delay.


Under construction:  Hershey's Modern Office Building.  1935

Under construction: Hershey’s Modern Office Building. 1935


The building was constructed of locally quarried limestone.  Construction began in the fall of 1934 and was completed in December 1935.


The building was a real testament to Hershey skills and ingenuity.  The building was designed and built by the Hershey Lumber Company (Paul Witmer serving as its manager).  Certain interior building products were installed by the Hershey Department Store.


There was quite a bit of excitement regarding the opening of the new office building.  Hershey Chocolate Corporation hosted a public open house on December 28, 1935.  Almost 14,000 people attended during the day long event.  The Hotel Hershey Highlights noted that the open house commenced at 9:00 a.m. and doors didn’t close until 9:00 p.m.


Printed for the building's open house, the booklet described many of the bulding's unique features.  1935

Printed for the building’s open house, the booklet described many of the bulding’s unique features. 1935


Visitors received a booklet, printed by the chocolate factory print shop, describing the building’s special features.  In particular, the booklet described the building’s interior plan, its atmosphere:

“Conditioned air, dust free,”

lighting, flooring, ceilings, walls:

“The room devoted to calculating machines and other noisy equipment has its walls of the same special acoustic plaster as is used on the lobby ceiling,”


Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department.  ca.1935-1940

Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department. ca.1935-1940


furniture, and telephone system:


“communicating facilities are provided between all office and the plant by dial telephones” and messenger service: “special small box type elevators connect the Receiving Department with the Mailing Desk.  A pneumatic tube system connects the Traffic Department with the Shipping and Stock Rooms of the plant for the rapid, safe delivery of all orders.”


Today the building is in the midst of major renovations to make it a functional and modern (once again) office space for The Hershey Company.



Celebrating Christmas


Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season.  ca.1963

Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season. ca.1963


Later this week, Hershey will gather in front of the Community Building on (14E) Chocolate Avenue to mark the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the community Christmas tree.


This is tradition stretches back to 1915. That year the Hershey’s Mother’s Club was inspired to put up the community’s first Christmas tree.  The idea for having a community Christmas tree may have been inspired by a community tree first erected in New York City’s Madison Square in 1913.


The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.

The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.


 The article noted that the lighting ceremony would be held that evening at 7 p.m. and would include carols sung by the school children and a time for singing by the attendees. 


Hershey Press, 12/30/1915

Hershey Press, 12/30/1915


As the next week’s issue of the Hershey Press noted, the event was highly successful.  Over 200 attended, a significant number when you remember that the entire town’s population was only 1500 people.


With that simple, last minute plan to erect a community Christmas tree, a long-lived tradition was born.  While at times the tradition was interrupted or altered because of world wars, each Christmas holiday season Hershey gathers together to celebrate the season.  To learn more, visit the Hershey Community Archives.



 Text of the 12/23/1915 Hershey Press article:

Will Be Located at Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues and Will Be Beautifully Illuminated—-

Exercises Thursday Evening: at 7 O’clock—Committee

Hershey is to have a community Christmas tree! 
At the meeting last week the Mothers’ Club took up the suggestion of Miss Margaret Langworthy and appointed the president, Mrs. Ezra F. Hershey, to put the idea into execution. There was not much time for the work, but Mrs. Hershey secured the co-operation of James B. Leithiser, and he promptly enlisted the facilities of the Hershey Improvement Company. James Millard was asked to secure the tree, and as this issue of the Press is being printed the tree is being carried to the chief comer, of the town and installed for the great holiday. It is a superb cedar, and it will be wonderfully illuminated by many electric lights placed under the direction of Mr. Hull.

Everybody is invited to join in the affair. The exercises will be held Thursday evening at 7 o’clock, and the whole town, with invited guests from the surrounding country will be present. No long program will be attempted. There will be a short speech and then Christmas carols by the school
children and choruses by the assembled men, women and children. It will be a genuine old-fashioned time and it is expected to be the main event of the Christmastide.
The Mothers’ Club is doing great work for the children.

Happiness is a Mouthful of HERSHEY-ETS

Hershey-Ets' shape changed to circular "lentils" in 1960.

Hershey-Ets’ shape changed to circular “lentils” in 1960.


During Milton Hershey’s life, he encouraged new product development, often leading the way with a wide variety of experiments. Many of these ideas did not result in new products, but Mr. Hershey created an environment supportive of new ideas and products.


After Milton Hershey died in 1945  all of Hershey struggled a bit to find its way in the following years.


After World War II ended, the factory began the process of re-establishing its normal, peace-time production. The  laboratory resumed working on new product development.


Panning Hershey-Ets. ca.1960

Panning Hershey-Ets. ca.1960


For several years the lab had been experimenting with panning chocolate to create a product that could successfully compete with “M&Ms.”  Panning is the process of coatingg a piece of chocolate with a candy shell.


To distinguish Hershey Chocolate’s products, the lab worked with panning chocolate chips.  When the chips were put into the panner, the flat ends of the chips bonded together to create football shaped pieces of chocolate surrounded by a thin candy shell.  At first Hershey-Ets were coated with a clear sugar shell.


Plain chocolate  Hershey-Ets were first introduced in 1954.

Plain chocolate Hershey-Ets were first introduced in 1954.


Hershey-Ets were first introduced June 24, 1954 to a limited regional market.  National distribution began September 10, 1954.


Brightly colored Hershey-Ets were introduced in 1956.

Brightly colored Hershey-Ets were introduced in 1956.


Beginning in April 1956 Hershey Chocolate began producing Hershey-Ets in various colors and still in the football shape. Packaging was also changed.  The box was discontinued and Hershey-Ets were packaged in heat-sealed bags of light blue with an image of the product as part of the label design.


While the football shaped Hershey-Ets helped to distinguish the product from its main competitor, the product had one drawback.  The shell that was formed around the  football-shaped chocolates hardened into a hard-to-bite shell after a few months.



Hershey-Ets shelf talkers such as this piece promoted the products from the grocery shelf. ca.1973

Hershey-Ets shelf talkers such as this piece promoted the products from the grocery shelf. ca.1973


In September 1960 the shape was changed to a round lentil, similar to M&M’s.


Hershey-Ets were removed from the standard product line in the mid-1970s.  Since then the  product has been produced seasonally (primarily Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter) and sold in specialty packaging.  Hershey-Ets are also sold in company outlets such as Hershey’s Chocolate World, and the Hershey stores in Times Square, New York City and Chicago.






You scream, I scream, We all scream for ice cream!

Hershey Creamery was a popular stop for ice cream during a visit to Hershey.  ca.1940

Hershey Creamery was a popular stop for ice cream during a visit to Hershey. ca.1940


When the outdoor temperature rises, ice cream comes immediately to mind.  Thankfully, Hershey has always been a place to get great homemade ice cream.  Milton Hershey believed in finding a use for everything.  The Hershey Chocolate factory needed skimmed milk for making milk chocolate.  The Lebanon Creamery, which opened in  1905 processed the milk for shipping to the factory and bottled milk and cream for retail sales.  It also made cottage cheese and ice cream.  When a creamery or “model dairy” was built in Hershey in 1929, it also began processing milk for retail sale.  Located next to Hershey Park it was a popular destination for Park visitors, Ballroom dancers and swimmers at Hershey Park Pool.


Fred Mazzoli, interviewed in 1990 for the Archives’ oral history program, had many memories of making ice cream at the Hershey Creamery.  He started out at the creamery in 1932 as a 14 year old working a summer job.  He had a knack for fixing machines and for making ice cream.


Listen to his story:




Audio transcript:

Well, first of all, I was pretty handy with machinery up in the factory [sic] [creamery].  They had an Eskimo pie machine, and they could never get it to work.  So there was a fellow that we knew, a fellow by the name of Capreni.  He worked in the creamery, because he had worked in the creamery in the factory.  So they sent him down to the Hershey creamery department to work because he knew something about the machinery.  So he got me a job and I went to work there.  In no time at all, they needed somebody to make ice cream, so I took up the ice cream.  They made it in some departments there.  From there we started making Eskimo pies, and I was handy with the mechanic part of the Eskimo pie machine.  That’s how I started making ice cream. 


I went to Penn State for a couple of weeks, for instruction, something like that, in creamery work, but when I went up there, I had started decorating ice cream with whipped cream.  When I went up there, I was doing this decorating, and that gave them another idea to teach up there.  So I really was hired down there to operate the Eskimo pie machine, and from then on I took over that whole ice cream department, and I was in charge of the ice cream department until I quit and come up here and work here [Mazzoli Ice Cream].

Looking for the Truth: Hershey’s Chewing Gum

You know how it goes.  An event occurs and time passes.  The people involved are no longer around.  The details of the event become hazy and faulty memories create new, false details about the how and why of the event. 

An archives is a wonderful resource for confirming the facts of an event and correcting the stories and myths that often grow up around a historic event.


Box label; Hershey's Chewing Gum.  ca.1916-1924

Box label; Hershey’s Chewing Gum. ca.1916-1924


Here is a fact:  Milton Hershey manufactured and marketed chewing gum from 1915 to 1924.  We know this because of records found in the Hershey Community Archives.  These records include financial statements, packaging samples, sales materials and oral histories with people directly involved with the manufacture of chewing gum.


There are lots of questions about Hershey’s chewing gum.  What was its name?  What flavors of chewing gum did Hershey produce?  Why did Milton Hershey want to manufacture chewing gum? Why did Hershey stop manufacturing chewing gum?


Hershey's "Easy Chew" chewing gum.  ca.1915-1917

Hershey’s “Easy Chew” chewing gum. ca.1915-1917


Some of these questions are easily answered, with the help of the Archives’ collections.  Manufacturing and sales files provide answers to the when and what of Hershey producing chewing gum. 


The ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions are more difficult.  For example, one popular story told regarding why Milton Hershey decided to manufacture chewing gum includes a cross-Atlantic crossing where Milton Hershey met William Wrigley, Jr.  According to the story, the two men took an instant dislike to each other and Milton Hershey returned with a burning desire to best Wrigley.  He first tried to do it by purchasing Philadelphia’s baseball team.  When that plan didn’t work out, he decided to compete with Wrigley by manufacturing chewing gum.


While this is a great story, a close examination of the story reveals some holes.  Hershey’s chewing gum was introduced in 1915.  Wrigley didn’t begin his ownership of the Chicago Cubs until 1916.  Plus there is no documentation placing Wrigley and Hershey on the same cross-Atlantic ship.


A more reliable source can be found in the Archives.  In 1954 Clayton Snavely was interviewed for a planned biography of Milton Hershey.  Clayton Snavely* began working for the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1911 as a salesman.   In January 1915, he was called to a meeting with Milton Hershey.   His oral history interview describes those initial meetings with Mr. Hershey and includes his memory of why Milton Hershey wanted to make chewing gum.


According to Snavely, Milton Hershey’s venture into chewing gum was inspired by a number of factors.  At the turn of the 20th century, chewing gum was growing in popularity following several developments in manufacturing equipment.


Rather than wanting to best William Wrigley, Jr.  Clayton Snavely related in his interview that Milton Hershey wanted to respond to the Beech Nut Company’s efforts to market chocolate and cocoa. 


            This was in January [1915].  As I previously mention, I spent a week-end with Mr. and Mrs. Hershey at the Dennis Hotel, Atlantic City [New Jersey].  And after breakfast Sunday morning, Mr. Hershey and I were walking down the boardwalk, and Wrigley, the chewing-gum people, had a large advertisement on the boardwalk of their product.

             He said, “Clayton, Beech Nut Gum has been a phenomenal success.  It has gone to their heads, and they think they’re goingto put the name Beech Nut on chocolate and put Hershey out of business.  Well, there’s only one way to meet fire.  It’s to fight it with fire.  I’m thinking about doing something in the chewing gum line.”


From this interview, it’s easy to understand how Wrigley got mixed up in the story, particularly, since Wrigley may be a better known brand.


To learn more about Hershey’s venture into chewing gum, click here.


*Clayton Snavely was a son of Frank Snavely (12/28/1854- (who was Milton Hershey’s mother’s nephew and Milton Hershey’s 1st cousin))

New exhibit: Hershey in 1963

Did you know that the Archives has a space for small exhibits in the lobby of The Hershey Story?  Located right next to the entrance to the Zooka Cafe, the exhibit case provides the Archives the opportunity to highlight its collections and use them to tell some of Hershey’s amazing stories. 


This morning I installed the latest exhibit about Hershey in 1963.  While people probably didn’t realize it at the time, 1963 was a pivotal year for Hershey.  Just consider this.  During 1963:


  • Hershey Chocolate Corporation acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company
  • Hershey Trust Company, Trustee for Milton Hershey School Trust Fund, received permission to donate $50 million to Penn State University for the purpose of establishing/building a medical college and teaching hospital.
  • Hershey Estates opened Highmeadow Campground.
  • Cocoa Avenue Plaza, a new recreational center that featured a swimming pool with a retractable roof, was given to the community by Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
  • New streetlights in the shaped of wrapped and unwrapped Kisses chocolates were installed along Chocolate Avenue.


All these events foretold significant future changes in Hershey: both  for the businesses and the community.

If you live in the area, come check out the new exhibit.  It’s free!

All you need are a few good men. . .

Milton Hershey and colleagues.  1905.  Left to Right: Front Seat: Chauffeur, Milton Hershey; Second Seat: George Shearer (brother-in-law of Murrie), William Murrie; Third Seat: Ezra Hershey, C.V. Glynn, George Eppley

Milton Hershey and colleagues. 1905. Left to Right: Front Seat: Chauffeur, Milton Hershey; Second Seat: George Shearer (brother-in-law of Murrie), William Murrie; Third Seat: Ezra Hershey, C.V. Glynn, George Eppley


Milton Hershey had a genius for selecting talented, energetic people to help him manage his business ventures. The leadership and skills of these men freed Milton Hershey to pursue new passions and ventures, including Milton Hershey School, Cuba, and experiments with new products.


Foremost among Mr. Hershey’s key managers was William F.R. Murrie.  Bill Murrie began work for the Hershey Chocolate Company soon after the company was established.  In 1896 Milton Hershey hired him as a salesman for the new chocolate business.  His talents were quickly realized and he came off the road to manage the chocolate business.  Through his career, you can chart the growth and success of chocolate sales. When he retired in 1947, his career spanned over 50 years.


He was promoted to President, Hershey Chocolate Company in 1908.  Murrie was only 35 years old.  He served as company president until he retired in 1947.


Milton Hershey did not enjoy the day-to-day tasks associated with building and managing a successful business.  Murrie’s skills and leadership managing the chocolate business freed Milton Hershey to pursue new passions.


Hershey Baseball Team, 1905.  William Murrie is pictured  fourth from left, back row.

Hershey Baseball Team, 1905. William Murrie is pictured fourth from left, back row.


As one of the Hershey community’s earliest residents, Murrie also took an active role in recreational activities, particularly sports.  For many years he managed one of Hershey’s baseball teams.


Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) Board of Managers, 1944.  front row, l-r: P.A. Staples, Milton S. Hershey, William Murrie.

Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) Board of Managers, 1944. front row, l-r: P.A. Staples, Milton S. Hershey, William Murrie.


Murrie’s career came to a close shortly after Milton Hershey’s death.  By the time Milton Hershey was choosing the person to succeed him in managing all of his businesses, Murrie’s health was beginning to fail.  His eye sight was fading and he was over 70 years old.  Milton Hershey recognized that Murrie was at the end of his career and selected P.A. Staples to take charge of the Hershey businesses and Milton Hershey School.  Murrie retired in 1947 and moved to New Jersey.  He died a few years later in 1950.

Hershey Chocolate Company: On the Road

Hershey Chocolate Company introduced the motor car to Lancaster, Pennsylvania with this Riker delivery car. 1900


In February, 1900, some months before the sale of the Lancaster Caramel Company, Milton Hershey brought the first automobile to Lancaster, and used it to advertise his product.  The arrival of the machine was announced in the Lancaster New Era, February, 13, 1900:


“The Hershey Chocolate Company will have the distinction of having introduced the automobile into Lancaster, and for business purposes, too.  One was received here this morning from the Riker Electric Vehicle Company, and it will be put in shape for operating tomorrow, and be used in the delivery service.  It will haul a load of about 2,000 pounds and has a storage battery with sufficient power to carry the machine 30 miles.”


            After running around Lancaster for a few days – and nights, because the young clerks liked to drive it after hours – it set off on a tour of the cities of Pennsylvania, visiting Allentown, Bethlehem, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pottsville, and other centers.  With it was a crew of salesmen under F.W. Delori.  The “operator” was R.C. Orndorff of Baltimore.

            Reporters in the various cities through which it passed noted that it had won a $1,500 prize at New York’s recent Madison Square Gardens Automobile Show, that it cost $2000 (some said $2500), weighed 3,500 pounds, had four storage batteries (each weighing 300 pounds), and was equipped with electric lights, an electric bell, a brass “steering apparatus,” and brakes.

            Its top speed was nine miles an hour.  


Even though the car was such an attraction, the only image of the Riker electric motor car in the Archives’s collection is this print of a wood engraving, executed by J. J. Hensel, a Lancaster, PA engraver.  It would be wonderful to find an actual photograph of the vehicle somewhere, some day.