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Archive for the ‘Hershey History’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-26: Why Did Hershey Sell Its Cuban Assets?

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

 

In 1921, Milton Hershey hired Percy Alexander (P.A.) Staples to manage his Cuban operations. For the next 23 years Staples resided in Cuba. As part of his work, he became very knowledgeable about Cuba: not only its sugar industry, but also with its people, culture, economy, and politics.

 

In 1944, Milton Hershey selected Staples to succeed him as president and chairman of all of the Hershey Entities. Staples relocated to Hershey and quickly settled into his new responsibilities. Though Hershey’s Cuban properties had been consistently profitable, Staples recommended to Mr. Hershey that the Cuban properties should be sold. Staples’ long residence in Cuba provided him with a unique understanding of the country and perhaps created some concerns about its future.

 

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

 

Trust001B44F23.1B

Staples to SEC, page 2. 4/6/1946

 

Selling such a sizeable asset required months of due diligence and documenting all aspects of the business. Naturally, there were questions about why Hershey might want to sell a business that had expanded and been profitable for years.

 

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey's Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

 

Mr. Staples outlined some of the reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties in an April 6, 1946 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

 

“The desire of the Trustee to change its position from that of 100 percent owner of the Hershey Cuban enterprises to that of an owner of only half of the Preferred Stock, and less than 100 percent of the Common Stock, of the Company arises from the fact that, except for the Hershey Cuban enterprises, the only operating properties controlled by the Trustee are located in or near Hershey, Pennsylvania. The individual members of the board of trustees of Hershey Trust Company are men living in and around Hershey, Pennsylvania. Of them the writer (P.A. Staples) is the only one experienced in the operation and supervision of properties in Cuba and the only one having the specialized knowledge required for such purpose.

 

In the light of these circumstances, the late Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Industrial School, explored the possibilities of a transaction of the general character which is about to be effected and the proposed transaction with the Company is one which was approved in principle by Mr. Hershey before his death last fall.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

 

 

 

 

HersheyArchives@30-25: Hear Mr. Hershey

 

Milton Hershey poses  with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

Milton Hershey poses with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

 

In the 1920s, American households had a new choice in home entertainment—the radio. The first commercial radio station was established in 1920 and by 1922 over 600 stations were on the air. Radio programs in a variety of formats and genres were broadcast including radio plays, variety shows, news, and interview programs. One such program was “It Can Be Done” hosted by Edgar A. Guest, an English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the twentieth century.

 

On June 8, 1938, “Milton S. Hershey, ‘The Builder,’” was featured on the radio show, “It Can Be Done.” At the time of the interview, Mr. Hershey was eighty years old. His voice had aged and his speech was slow as he was inexperienced with public speaking and was reading from a script. At the end of the interview, Guest read his poem, “Compensation,” in tribute to Mr. Hershey.

 

The audio below is the only known recording of Mr. Hershey’s voice. Click on the link to listen to Milton Hershey.

 

 

[Transcript of audio]

 

Announcer:      So Milton S. Hershey, the builder of an ideal town continues to build, to build happiness into the hearts of boys, happiness that is the foundation for sturdy, worthy, useful citizenship. The unconquerable, unselfish spirit of Milton S. Hershey has brought fulfillment of his most fantastic dreams. And proves once more, “It can be done.”  We present now, ladies and gentlemen, Milton S. Hershey,” the builder.”

 

Mr. Hershey:   Thank you, Eddie Guest. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

 

Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, how many years have you been in the candy business?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Sixty years.

 

Mr. Guest:       Are you still active in the business?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Indeed I am.

 

Mr. Guest:       You know, it seems to me that as long as I can remember I’ve seen your chocolate bar on candy counters.

 

Mr. Hershey:   Yes, the Hershey Bar has been on the market thirty odd years and we were the first to introduce the almond bar.

 

Mr. Guest:       Now, you must use an unbelievable amount of cocoa beans.

 

Mr. Hershey:   We use as much cocoa, raw cocoa beans, as France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain put together.

 

Mr. Guest:       Hmmm.

 

Mr. Guest:       How large is your town Hershey, Pennsylvania?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Hershey, Pennsylvania, has a population of 2500. In that total of 2500 we have 3200 students. The Hershey Township High School is the largest township high school in the United States.

 

Mr. Guest:       How long has the Hershey Industrial School been in operation?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Since 1909.

 

Mr. Guest:       Can you tell me what has happened to some of the boys you’ve trained there?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Well, one is treasurer of the Trust Company, two are in the bank, and there are others in responsible positions. You see, we follow the boys through until we see that they have jobs.

 

Mr. Guest:       Tell me, just how do the opportunities for the boys today compare with those of your day? That is, these boys coming out of your school?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Most of them have better chances for character building and education than ever before. Perhaps they don’t have the chance to make as much money as some individuals have made, but they will lead to happier lives.

 

Mr. Guest:        Milton S. Hershey, Household Finance and I humbly salute you and your courage which carried you through to success and we add our tribute to that of thousands of others for the great work you are doing with boys. Congratulations, Milton S. Hershey.

 

Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, I’d like to think, when life is done,

That I had filled some needed post,

That here and there I’d paid my fare

With something more than idle boast.

That I had taken gifts divine,

The breath of life and manhood fine,

And tried to use them now and then

In service for my fellowman.

 

I’d hate to think when life is through

That I had lived my round of years

A useless time that leaves behind

No record in its vale of tears;

That I had wasted all my days

By treading only selfish ways

And that this world would be the same

If it had never heard my name.

 

I’d like to think when life is done

That here and there, there shall remain

A happier spot which might have not

Existed had I toiled for gain,

That someone’s cheery voice and smile

Shall prove that I had been worthwhile

That I had paid with something fine,

My debt to God for life divine.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-24: Made in Hershey, So It Must Be Good: H.B. Reese Candy Company

While most confectionery companies regard other candy-making businesses as their competitor, Milton Hershey was different.  Hershey Chocolate limited its definition of a confectionery competitor to those businesses that produced solid chocolate bars. In fact, Hershey Chocolate sold chocolate to a wide range of companies manufacturing enrobed, or chocolate-coated, candy.

 

Harry Burnett “H.B.”Reese, a one-time employee of the Hershey Chocolate factory shipping department, was inspired by Milton Hershey’s success and decided to start his own candy business.

 

In 1921, H.B. Reese began making candies in the basement of his home at 18 E. Areba Avenue in Hershey. Reese produced a wide range of confectionery products. During the company’s first 20 years, the product line featured a variety of candies made and sold by weight. Most of the candies consisted of different centers that were hand-dipped in chocolate. H.B. Reese’s son, Ralph remembered:

 

We used Hershey’s chocolate.  I guess we were a nuisance for a while, buying fifty pounds at a time.  But I remember the little express wagon I used for hauling papers.  [I’d] go down to the [Hershey Chocolate] office and buy fifty pounds of chocolate, haul it back to the house.

 

Day Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company, ingredients purchased. 1929

Day Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company, ingredients purchased. 1929

 

The Archives holds a number of ledgers related to the early years of the H.B. Reese Candy Company. The index page of a 1929 ledger lists a variety of ingredients, including cocoanut (coconut), peanuts, butter, raisins, cherry pieces, dates and chocolate. An early employee, Rena Renshaw recalled in a 1993 oral history interview:

 

I think [until] ’41 they made the assortment, maybe about twenty different kinds, sixteen to twenty different kinds of candy.  And after the war came along, of course, they couldn’t get the coconuts and some of the sugar and butter…[all of]the products that he used in the different kinds of candy. 

 

Time Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company. 1932

Time Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company. 1932

 

For many years the number of employees remained small. Renshaw started working for the H.B. Reese Candy Company on September 1, 1926. She remembered:

 

I got paid twenty cents an hour for the first two weeks, and the next raise we got was twenty-five, about two weeks or so later. 

 

By 1932, she was making 30 cents an hour coating candy centers with chocolate.

 

H.B. Reese Candy Company; pounds of beans picked. July-August 1933.

H.B. Reese Candy Company; pounds of beans picked. July-August 1933

 

H.B. Reese’s path to success was not direct. The 1930s were filled with financial ups and downs. In summer months, when it was too hot to work with chocolate, Reese had his employees can beans and tomatoes that he had grown to generate income. Renshaw recalled her summer work at the factory:

I worked in the canning.  We snipped beans and we’d put labels on cans. That was when it was too warm and we didn’t work in the chocolate.  That they did down in the basement in the summertime.  Well, of course, when the beans came in, they had to can the beans.  We put the labels on the cans by hand. Well, then they canned tomatoes, too. Tomatoes and beans.  That was only in the summertime when it was hot. Didn’t have air-conditioning then, so it was too hot to make candy.

 

By the end of the 1930s, the H.B. Reese Candy Company was emerging as a successful candy company. One of the most popular items in its product line was the peanut butter cup. When sugar rationing was imposed during World War II, H.B. Reese made the decision to eliminate every item in the product line except for the peanut butter cup. The peanut butter filling took less sugar than most of the other Reese candy items and peanuts were readily available from southern states.

 

Customer Sales Brochure, H.B. Reese Candy Company. ca1950

Customer Sales Brochure, H.B. Reese Candy Company. ca1950

 

After the war, Reese continued to build his company based on the success of a single product: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Instead of selling the product by weight, peanut butter cups were packaged for retail sale. And every package carried the slogan: “Made in Chocolate Town, So They Must Be Good.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

 

HersheyArchives@30-23 – Hershey Figure Skating Club

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

 

The Archives’ collections are a rich resource for understanding not just Milton Hershey and his legacy but also for the growth and development of the Hershey community. The Archives actively collections the records of local businesses and organizations to preserve the history of the community and its residents.

 

Milton Hershey took an active interest in everything that happened in his town. As  noted in last week’s blog post, when community business leaders established the Hershey Rotary Club, Mr. Hershey was made an honorary member.  Many other community groups, wishing to recognize Milton Hershey’s generosity and vision for his community, also recognized him as an honorary member.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

 

Hershey’s Ice Palace opened in 1931. Ice skating and hockey quickly became very popular. By 1932, Hershey was sponsoring its own ice hockey team. Artificial ice rinks were unusual in central Pennsylvania and soon figure skaters began coming to Hershey from Lancaster, Harrisburg and Reading.

 

The idea for an established club grew out of the group’s desire to be able to rent the rink for sessions devoted to figure skating.  In November 1934, a small group of figure skaters held an organizational meeting for the Hershey Figure Skating Club . Milton Hershey was very supportive of the Hershey Figure Skating Club, providing facilities and the management support of Hershey Estates.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

 

The following year the club formally recognized Milton Hershey’s support, making him an honorary member of the club.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30:22 Service Above Self – Hershey Rotary Club

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

 

Community organizations are the lifeblood of a town. They provide residents with opportunities to meet and socialize with each other while working to enhance community life.  These groups enrich their communities while giving their members a sense of purpose and contributing to the community. The Archives actively collects the records of Hershey’s community businesses and organizations and is fortunate to hold the records of several community groups.

 

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

 

Community groups began to form shortly after the Hershey Chocolate factory began operations in 1905.  The organizations varied from the critically needed Hershey Volunteer Fire Company to the purely social Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow Club (?!).

 

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

 

Hershey’s community groups enhanced Hershey’s social life by creating community gatherings such as the annual Christmas tree lighting, presenting annual concerts, and organizing food and clothing collections for the less fortunate.

 

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team.  This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team. This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

 

Civic clubs in particular play an important role, working to improve neighborhoods through volunteer work by its members. During the 1930s, Hershey had a local Civic Club, which sponsored community clean-up days, organized various community celebrations, and raised money to help support other local organizations.

 

Since there was already a civic club in Hershey, initially there was little interest in starting a Rotary club, despite urging from Rotary clubs in Elizabethtown and Harrisburg. All that changed in 1943 when D. Paul Witmer, the head of Hershey Industrial School [Milton Hershey School], attended a Rotary meeting in Elizabethtown.  “Pop” Britton, manager of the Hershey Community Center and member of the Palmyra Rotary, also encouraged John B. Sollenberger, president of Hershey Estates, to consider starting a new Rotary club.  With interest from two of Hershey’s business leaders, a new Rotary club was soon in the works.  It was decided that the members of Hershey’s Civic Club would be invited to join the new Rotary club.

 

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

 

The first meeting was held June 2, 1943 in the Hershey Community Building dining room.  John B. Sollenberger was elected president, and the charter was presented to the club on June 14, 1943.

 

Leadership:

President                            John B. Sollenberger

Vice President                   Carl T. Britton

Secretary                             W. Allen Hammond

Treasurer                            D. Paul Witmer

Sargent at Arms                 Raymond H. Koch

Directors:                            Harry Erdman, Harry N. Herr, Edwin S. Wagner

 

There were 29 charter members and Milton S. Hershey was made an honorary member.  The first regular meeting was on June 21, 1943 also in the dining room of the Community Building.

 

In the beginning, the Hershey Rotary Club partnered with the Hershey Civic Club on a number of projects. The first joint project was the Cocoa Bean game, a football game pitting Milton Hershey School against Hershey’s public high school.  The competition was first held in 1943 to raise money for Memorial Field, Hershey’s local outdoor recreation center.

 

Children have always been a focus of Rotary support and beginning in 1958, the Hershey Rotary Club began an enduring program of sponsoring international student exchanges.

 

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

 

Hershey Rotary Club often took the lead in organizing community celebrations. In 1950, the club organized Founders Day, a day to remember Mr.Hershey.

 

The club’s biggest fund raiser, its annual auction, began in 1968. At first the entire proceeds of the auction were donated to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company. Today, auction proceeds are shared with a wide variety of community and regional non-profit groups.

 

Today Hershey Rotary Club continues to serve the community of Hershey through its commitment to “Service Above Self.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-21: Insight into Mr. Hershey: The Wallace Research Collection

Milton Hershey, unlike his contemporary Henry Ford, never wrote a memoir and did not court attention from the public or the press.  Hershey was rarely interviewed and as he preferred to communicate via telephone and telegraph rather than through letters or memorandums he leaves little of a paper-trail.  So without an extensive written record to document Mr. Hershey’s decisions and motivations what evidence do we, as researchers, use to understand him and his decision-making process?

 

Fortunately, oral history interviews assist archivists and researchers in filling documentary gaps.  Hershey Community Archives has an active oral history program, however for information about Milton Hershey’s personal life and character we often refer to the papers of Paul A.W. Wallace.  Wallace was a professor at Lebanon Valley College who was hired to research and write a biography of Mr. Hershey in the 1950s.  Although Wallace’s manuscript was never published it and his research files are a rich historical archive.

 

Paul Wallace, ca1954

Paul A. Wallace, ca1954

 

Wallace, working in the 1950s, was able to interview Mr. Hershey’s contemporaries; his business associates, those he employed, and those who interacted with him in the community.  Oral history interviews with Mr. Hershey’s employees reveal he was interested in big picture ideas and did not concern himself with the details of a project.

 

Hershey’s horticulturist, Harry Erdman, provided a typical example of Mr. Hershey’s decision-making process in his interview with Wallace.  In 1935 and 1936, J. Horace McFarland, a nationally known leader in the city beautiful movement who was active in the American Rose Society invited Mr. Hershey to meet with him.  McFarland wanted to persuade Mr. Hershey to assist in funding a public rose garden in Washington D.C.  The two men made plans to meet when the Pennsylvania State Federation of Garden Clubs would meet in Hershey in April of 1936.

 

After McFarland and Milton Hershey’s initial meeting, Mr. Hershey attended the Garden Federation dinner meeting as a guest of McFarland who was the keynote speaker.  McFarland took the opportunity to publicly ask Milton Hershey for financial support of a National Rose Garden.  According to Erdman, he and Mr. Hershey had previously discussed establishing a garden on a piece of land just south of The Hotel Hershey.  Milton Hershey’s reply to McFarland’s request was:

 

Well, we have been planning a Garden of our own; and, before we give that amount of money for the politicians to play with, we better spend some of it at our own place and see what interest people take in it.

 

Erdman learned all of this the next day when Milton Hershey called him to a meeting at his apartment in High Point.  In his interview, Erdman related how quickly Mr. Hershey made the decision to establish the Hershey Rose Garden.

 

[Please note the audio has not been restored.  A transcript of the audio is below.]

 

 

The decision was then before 9 o’clock the following morning, after this dinner, I’d stake it out and let him know when I had it staked out and then look it over with him to see if it was too large or wasn’t large enough.  Several days later, I had started to plot with stakes what I thought should be the proper size to start with and asked Mr. Hershey to go up and look it over and he immediately agreed it was alright to go ahead with it. 

 

The Rose Garden was expanded gradually over the next few years and in early 1941 Milton Hershey was considering how to develop the adjacent land east of the garden.  After 20 minutes of heated onsite consultation between Erdman, engineers, real estate developers, and farmers the land was deemed inappropriate for farming or a housing development.  Mr. Hershey then turned to Harry Erdman and said “All right, Erdman, Go ahead, make a garden out of it. We’ll make an awful lot of other people happy.”

 

Erdman asked if Mr. Hershey wanted to see a plan or cost estimates.

 

[Please note the audio has not been restored.  A transcript of the audio is below.]

 

 

I asked him at that time if he wanted an estimate of what the cost was going to be – if he was giving me the entire plot?

    ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it’s no good for farming so take it all.’

    ‘Do you want an estimate of what the cost is going to be?’

    ‘No, go ahead,’ he said, ‘if it gets too big I’ll stop you, but I haven’t stopped you yet have I?’

     I said, ‘no you haven’t.’

 

This anecdote illustrates how Mr. Hershey developed the goals and relied on others to execute his vision.  He was a leader who relied on capable, talented individuals who operated independently of his influence.  While he oversaw all of the operations and had ultimate authority, he placed a great deal of faith in others to execute the day-to-day operations.  As Erdman explained to Wallace with regard to the initial landscaping of the community:

 

 

Question: What about Mr. Hershey’s influence? Did [landscape architect Oglesby] Paul draw up the plans according to Hershey’s specifications or did he just say he wanted everything landscaped, go to it?

Erdman: From my experiences with Mr. Hershey of course this is 25 years later, I doubt very much if Mr. Hershey made any specific plans or gave any specific details. It looked very much as if he told them he wanted nice planting and something of that sort and what he wanted done and it wasn’t specifying any particular names of plants or any particular location. He left that up to the architect to do so.

 

The oral history interviews in the Paul Wallace Research Collection contain details about Mr. Hershey that would otherwise be unknowable; providing insights into Mr. Hershey’s personality and character.  Mr. Hershey chose not to tell his own story, but fortunately others told stories about him.

#HersheyArchives@30

 

Audio clips courtesy of Milton Hershey School Department of School History.

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

 

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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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HersheyArchives@30-17 Meet you at the movies: Seeing Wonders

 

Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920

Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920

 

While he did not make use of print or radio media advertising, Milton Hershey was interested in promoting his model town and its amenities and attractions. He believed that the town and the chocolate business were intertwined and promoting one benefited the other.

 

Milton Hershey was an innovator and was inspired by new ideas and methods.

 

The immense popularity of movies in the 1930s encouraged Milton Hershey to experiment with them to promote his model community, and his chocolate business.

 

Hershey hired Don Malkames, a successful filmmaker from Hazelton, Pennsylvania, to create a film about Hershey.

 

In 1932, “The Gift of Montezuma” was released.  Distributed to public schools and community groups across the United States, this film told the story of Milton Hershey’s model town, the process of making milk chocolate and the beneficiary of Hershey’s success, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School).

 

The following year, buoyed by the success of his first film, Milton Hershey decided to make a second film.  Once again directed by Malkames.

 

 

Unlike “Gift of Montezuma,” this short (less than 11 minutes) film, “Seeing Wonders,” was more like a travelogue. The film promoted Hershey as a model town and a destination. Significantly, Lowell Thomas, a nationally known broadcaster, was tapped to narrate the film.

 

“Seeing Wonders” celebrated Hershey’s continued growth and success during a period of national economic collapse. The film was designed to inform, inspire and encourage viewers to visit Milton Hershey’s model town.

 

 

The movie takes viewers on a tour of the model town’s comfortable homes and happy children.  The newly built Hershey Community Building, with its extensive recreational facilities is highlighted.

 

 

Hershey Park’s extensive recreational facilities were also featured including the zoo, amusement rides, entertainment, and recently built swimming pool.

 

 

The movie was filmed just after The Hotel Hershey opened.  In his narration, Lowell Thomas referred to The Hotel Hershey as “a palace, a palace that out-palaces the palaces of the maharajas of India.”

 

 

Throughout the movie, there are continual references to the Hershey Industrial School and the boys that are being cared for there.  As Lowell Thomas notes, the school “is the real meaning of the city that is a dream come true.”

 

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