The Design Company.

You can change this area in header.php

Special Sidebar

You can add any content in this area by go to
Admin->Design->Widgets->Sidebar4

Archive for the ‘products’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-30: Hershey Chocolate-the Great American Chocolate Bar

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980

 

It is an advertising industry legend that Hershey Chocolate did not advertise. The advertising industry marveled at Hershey’s success without the use of advertising. During the company’s first fifty years, Hershey Chocolate succeeded without media advertising because it had few competitors in the solid chocolate confectionery market.

 

Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936

Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936

 

 

Window display, 1930-1932

Window display, 1930-1932

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image of Hershey as a company that succeeded without advertising stretches the truth.  It is true that Hershey did not use media advertising (newspaper ads, radio, television) until 1970. However, Hershey did make extensive use of trade and point of purchasing advertisements throughout its history.  Unlike most companies that directed advertising dollars to consumers as well as customers, Hershey concentrated all its advertising budget towards the trade, placing ads in trade publications, offering cut sheets to customers to use in their own newspaper ads and promoting its products with shelf talkers and window displays.

 

In the 1960s, market changes and the growth of the Mars Candy Company under Forrest Mars challenged Hershey’s control of the market. During the 1960s, Mars steadily gained market share and Hershey realized that it would have to change how it conducted business.

 

It was not a simple matter to begin media and print advertising. Hershey first needed to build the infrastructure that would enable them to develop a modern marketing program and support an advertising campaign.  That took several years.

 

Jack Dowd, hired in 1965 to help Hershey establish its first marketing department, recalled in his 1991 oral history interview, the chocolate company’s reluctance to move towards implementing a media advertising campaign, in spite of the company’s trend toward losing market share.

 

Incidentally, my interview, the first day I met a number of people, including Harold Mohler [Hershey Chocolate Corporation president].  He said, “They seem to like you here, but a couple of things you should know about Hershey.  One is, we don’t advertise.”

I said, “I’m vividly aware of that.  Everybody in marketing is aware of that.  But I have a couple of hypotheses about your company because I’ve done a lot of reading about it, and if they’re true, you’re going to be advertising.”

He said, “What are they?”

I said, “I think your share of market has been declining.”

And he said, “Yes, it has.”

I said, “I think your new products are not as successful as your old products.”

He said, “That’s true.  They’re not.” 

And I said, “I don’t think that your products are as popular with children as they are with adults.”

And he said, “That’s true.” 

And I said, “Given those three, you’re going to start to advertise.” 

He said, “Well, we haven’t decided yet.”

 

It was not until 1969 that the company was ready to launch a national media advertising campaign.

 

When Hershey Foods Corporation began the process of searching for an advertising agency, it was particularly interested in the agency’s skills in producing television ads. After interviewing six firms, Hershey hired Ogilvy and Mather, who were based in New York City.

 

In sharing the news of hiring Ogilvy & Mather with their employees, Hershey noted the growing competition for shelf space in the grocery store, the changing demographics of the country’s population with the emergence of the baby boom generation and the need to connect with a more youthful audience. The July 21, 1969 memo stated:

 

With the competition getting keener for the consumers sweet tooth – and the fact that almost half of the people in the United States today are under 25 years of age, we felt it prudent to introduce this marketing tool to acquaint this younger generation with our items and to maintain our position with the over 25 group.

 

Hershey selected three brands with which to test the advertising waters: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Instant, a milk chocolate powder. At first tests were done in seven cities for several months before launching a national campaign in September, 1970.

 

Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980

Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980

 

Ogilvy & Mather’s creative director for the Hershey Milk Chocolate team was Billings Fuess.  He developed the “Hershey. The Great American Chocolate Bar” ad campaign.

 

Billings Fuess was inspired by his love of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, believing that it was superior to European milk chocolate. He explained his reasoning and inspiration in a 2010 oral history interview.:

 

I had the idea for “The Great American Chocolate Bar” because I knew there was a lot of wonderful history behind Hershey.  I also liked Hershey bars and they were a heck of a lot better than their competition from Switzerland.  And I wanted to give them a dig and say the great AMERICAN chocolate bar.

 

Storyboard for Hershey's Milk Chocolate commercial, "Montage." 5/1970

Storyboard for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate commercial, “Montage.” 5/1970

 

Along with the slogan, Fuess also developed the concept for the first television commercials.  He wanted the commercials to express the personal relationships nurtured by the shared enjoyment of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.  His strategy was to “build upon the marvelous reminisces of people and what the Hershey bar means to most people and the fact that it’s American and it tastes so good and there’s something wondrous about a little child eating it and sharing it with his parents . . . The idea of a father with his son on his shoulders and the son tears open the Hershey bar, eats some and give some to his father as he’s walking down the street.”

 

The Great American Chocolate Bar campaign served the company well. It continued to serve as the basis of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate marketing from 1970 until 1994.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-29: What’s New?

Occasionally, someone asks: “What is the oldest item in the archival collection?” But no one has asked, “What is the most contemporary item in the collection?” Researchers often equate archives with pre-twentieth century materials such as handwritten deeds or manuscripts written on parchment. However, Hershey Community Archives’ holdings are largely comprised of twentieth century records and, increasingly, twenty-first century records.

 

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

 

The Archives receives regular transfers of records from the corporations and organizations whose historical records we manage, such as The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hershey Area AARP, and the Derry Township Senior Citizen’s Council. Contemporary records, yes even those that date from 2015, are currently held by the Archives.

 

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

 

These selected contemporary records have what is called “archival value,” meaning the records have enduring value based on their historical usefulness or significance, that justifies their continued preservation. The records are collected quickly after they are produced so that they are less likely to be lost, causing a break in the documentary record.

 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

 

By collecting contemporary records, the Archives can provide a comprehensive institutional history or document the development of a particular event.

 

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

 

Archivists have an obligation to future researchers and the organizations they serve to collect and preserve contemporary records so they are available when a need arises. The records produced in 2015 and transferred to the Archives are already “archival” and have historical value. The records will help tell or illustrate an institution’s history 50 years from now or perhaps just a few years from now.

 

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.

 

85006B26F24.3

 

The challenges to deliver this product were not over yet.

 

200645B6F12.1

 

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.

 

200645B6F12.2

 

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

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Great things sometimes start small: H.B. Reese and the Reese Candy Company

Advertisement; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 1963

Advertisement; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 1963

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the United States best loved candies.  First introduced around 1928, the PB cups were not a stand-alone treat, but were marketed as part of an assortment of candies that you could buy by the weight.

They were named for their creator, Harry Burnett Reese.  Unlike Milton Hershey, it was not obvious that Harry Reese was destined to become a confectioner.  His background included stints as a farmer, dairy farmer, fish hatchery manager and factory worker.  All these varied jobs resulted from Reese’s efforts to support his rapidly growing family.  The jobs took him from York County to Ditchley, Virginia back to York County and then to New Freedom, Pennsylvania and finally to Hershey to work as a dairy farmer for Milton Hershey.  None of these jobs prepared him for his future success.

But Harry Reese was impressed with Milton Hershey and the success Mr. Hershey had achieved with the Hershey Chocolate Company.  Needing to support his family, Reese started making candy in his kitchen at night and marketing it around town and wherever he thought there might be customers.  The first years were challenging and offered little promise of his future success.

The Archives’ oral history collections contains interviews with a number of H.B. Reese’s children as well as workers.  His oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Reese Pearson, shared her memories of her father’s first efforts at candy making.  Born in 1901, Mary was old enough to vividly remember those early years.

Interviewer:  Right.  Tell me about the time frame when he started to make the hard candy.

Pearson:

Oh.  Well, that was in 1919, the very first thing.  He met an old man by the name of Mr. Bender up in Harrisburg at a market, where, you know, people bring in candies and things.  And Mr. Bender gave him the recipe for these hard candies and he started making them, shipping them out by the barrel.  It wasn’t long that he found his business wasn’t succeeding because the candy was sticking.  It wasn’t holding up, see.  That failed.

Interviewer: What did he try next?

Pearson:

I think maybe he tried different things, but the main–the one big thing he was doing when I was at Temple University in 1920 to ’22 was a bar called–he called a Lizzy Bar.  It was a chocolate bar, and I don’t know who gave him the recipe for the chocolate, but it started to sugar, see.  So that bar went off the market.

Interviewer: It was named after you?

Pearson:

Uh-huh.  It was named after me.  Because my roommate in those days called me Lizzy Bar.  [Laughter]  And he’d send me boxes of this candy.  It was wrapped in a very beige-looking background with brown printing.

Then I think after that, most of his–oh.  He was making another coconut caramel bar that was very popular for a while.  Some man had given him the recipe for this coconut caramel, and the coconut was fresh coconuts–grated!  He didn’t have a factory then; he just had a kitchen.  So Poppy would go around three o’clock in the morning and start opening coconuts, fresh coconuts, and had them all peeled and ground, ready to make this coconut caramel candy.  In the summertime, he would shape it in bars, see, and roll it in coconut, and take a whole carload [read “automobile”] of it over to Mount Gretna, where the government had a lot of soldiers over there, spending the summer over there at Mount Gretna.  So then in the wintertime, he would cover it with chocolate, see, and sell it.  So that was his third thing that was keeping him that he wasn’t completely out of business, see.  He was still doing something.

So then I don’t know what year he started making all the different sort of candies and absolutely every center of that candy was delicious.  He had dates that he–  It was like a sausage grinder thing.  The dates would go in there and they’d come out, and something would cut them off in little pieces.  I was coating candies in those days, and if we were coating dates, they’d all be little cut-up pieces, and [we would] lay it in the Hershey’s chocolate, see.  He always used Mr. Hershey’s coating, see.

And then that candy was put into these little tiny round cups and went out as assorted.  So one day we’d make coated dates, the next day we’d make–he learned how to make a wonderful fondant, see.  Delicious fondant.  That’s how he made all these different assorted candies, see.    I can’t tell you how many were in the box, but the box–it all went out wholesale, five-pound box for $1.29, to mostly big stores like Bon Tons and stores in Lancaster, and they would sell it out by the quarter and half-pound.

The business had a lot of ups and downs until H.B. Reese decided to concentrate on making peanut butter cups starting about 1941.  You can read the whole story here on the Archive’s website.  Just make sure you have some Reese’s peanut butter cups handy.  You’re going to want some!

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.