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Archive for the ‘World War II’ Category

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.

 

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The challenges to deliver this product were not over yet.

 

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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.

 

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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

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.

Hershey’s Community Gardens

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens.  ca.1979-1990

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens. ca.1979-1990

 

Evidence to the contrary, Spring is just around the corner.  As soon as the ground thaws, gardeners will be out, clearing away winter’s debris, preparing the garden beds and planting the first crops of the season: cabbage, beets. snow peas, kale and broccoli, to name a few.

 

Home gardens are a great way to grow fresh vegetables.  There is nothing better than a ripe tomato, just picked.  But what about people who don’t have a backyard or enough sunshine in their yards to grow vegetables? This spring, Hershey will launch its Community Garden, a partnership of Hershey’s corporate entities and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  Its purpose to to provide gardening space to employees and residents.

 

Hershey has a long tradition of helping residents without backyards to grow some of their own food.

 

During World War I, the United States government promoted community gardens to supplement and expand the domestic food supply. In 1917 Hershey responded by setting aside six acres of ground in East Hershey [east of Homestead Road, probably bounded on the south by Areba Avenue] for a community farm.  Rohrer Snavely was placed in charge.  In the March 22, 1917 issue of the Hershey Press, an article said the project planned to hire boys who wanted to learn garden farming while being paid.

 

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses.  ca.1910-1913

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses. ca.1910-1913

 

The program expanded to include gardens for girls the following month.

 

In 1918, Hershey, along with much of the nation, encouraged citizens to plant “War Gardens” to help with the war effort.  Hershey’s efforts in promoting public vegetable gardens ended with the conclusion of World War I.

 

It was not until the United States’ entry into World War II that Hershey again began to sponsor  community garden plots as part of the homefront’s efforts to support the war effort.

 

Want to know more?  Check out the Archives website’s latest essay addition about the history of community gardens in Hershey.

Serving Our Country: Hotel Hershey During World War II

 While many  are familiar with Hershey Chocolate Corporation’s contributions to the war effort manufacturing millions of Ration ‘D’ survival ration bars, Hershey also played an important, though little known, service to our country during the war. During the war years, Hotel Hershey served as an internment camp for the Vichy French diplomatic corps stationed in the United States.  

 

Germany invaded and defeated France in the spring of 1940.  A large portion of southwestern France was left unoccupied by the conquering army.  A new French government,  sympathetic to the Nazi regime, was established in the town of Vichy. As part of political protocol, the Vichy government sent Gaston Henri Haye to Washington, D.C. to serve as the French ambassador to the United States.

 

News of the Vichy French ambassador and his staff's arrest appeared in newspapers across the country. Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 11/?/1942

News of the Vichy French ambassador and his staff's arrest appeared in newspapers across the country. Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 11/?/1942

By late 1942, the United States had lost patience with the pro Hitler French government.  In September 1942 the State Department discovered that the French Embassy in Washington D.C. had sent a letter to the Vichy Government concerning United States war production.  On November 7 the United States launched its invasion of French North Africa, “Operation Torch.”  On November 11, the Germans, fearing they would be outflanked in the south and not trusting Vichy, occupied the remaining portion of France.  The United States still had relations with Vichy, and now American diplomatic personnel were behind German enemy lines.  The American diplomats were moved an internment camp at Lourdes.

 

Hotel Hershey and grounds.  ca.1935-1940

Hotel Hershey and grounds. ca.1935-1940

 

The State Department responded by deciding the Henry Haye and his staff would soon leave the French embassy in Washington.  They began looking for a place to put them.  Newspapers across the country published stories of the arrest of the pro-Nazi ambassador and his staff.  Page 17 of the November 14, 1942 New York Times featured a large aerial photograph of the Hotel Hershey.  “Where French Diplomats Will Be Housed” read the caption.
 

The NYTimes article continued, “Negotiations are under way here between the Federal Government and the Hershey Estates over the housing of 300 representatives of the Vichy government  at the hotel Hershey.  Discussions have been going on since Wednesday, but no arrangements had been completed,” the paper noted.  The State Department planned to place the Vichy Government staff in custody until arrangements could be made for their repatriation and subsequent exchange for the American diplomats being detained by France.

 

 

Joseph Gassler, General Manager of the Hotel Hershey, 1933-1959

Joseph Gassler, General Manager of the Hotel Hershey, 1933-1959

 

 

While the New York Times believed that arrangements were still being made, in reality, Joseph Gassler, General Manager for the Hotel, had already sent a letter to Cordell Hull, Secretary of State on November 12, 1942, offering the Hotel’s services.

I have the honor to advise you that Hotel Hershey has placed its facilities at your service…I shall be very happy to have these people as our guests and assure you, my dear Secretary, that we will do our utmost, in every respect, to give the high standard of service which the famous Hotel Hershey knows how to give.

Mr. Gassler’s letter also included details about the specific conditions of the arrangements.  Tariff for adults was set at $7.50/day per person, children (0-12 years old) $4.00 per person, and guards, $4.00 per person.  Incidental expenses incurred were to be billed to the State Department at cost, and gratuities were also to be paid by State Department funding.

 

The Hotel was chosen to sequester the Vichy French government representatives for several reasons.  Hershey Estates was cooperative, the quality of accommodations was quite high and the possibly most importantly, the Hotel was in a secluded and defensible location.

 

Want to learn more?  Visit the Archives website to learn more about Hershey’s contributions to the United States war effort.

Working in Hershey, part 3

Hershey altered its hiring policies when needed.  Employment guidelines were often overlooked and ignored when the need for employees was great.  During World War II Hershey experienced a significant shortage of male employees as most men enlisted or were drafted into service.  Women and teenagers who were often underage were hired to fill those vacancies.  Even though he was underage Bill Cagnoli  found work as a bellhop at the Hotel Hershey.

Well, I remember I took a job during World War II. There was such a shortage of workers during World War II in Hershey, that at the age of 13 and a half or 14, I went to the Hotel Hershey to be a busboy and a bellhop. Even though you had to be 16 and have a working permit, Hotel Hershey hired me because they were so desperate for help. As tall as I am now, that’s how tall I was when I was 14 and 15. I didn’t grow from that age on, you know, but I was very tall. So anyway, they saw how tall I was and big I was. They assumed I would pass for 16. They falsified my age, or I falsified it, or however. We didn’t even put down the age.

 

Hotel Hershey's first bellman, Al McKinney, stands ready to greet guests.  1933

Hotel Hershey's first bellman, Al McKinney, stands ready to greet guests. 1933

 

Sometimes Hershey employers ignored age restrictions when they knew that the family need was great.  Hershey was a small town and the public school and Hershey Chocolate Corporation often cooperated with each other helping students find work.  Sam Tancredi, whose father was an invalid, began working part-time to help support his family when he was only 8 years old.  With the help of the School District  he left school at age 15 to take a full time job at the chocolate factory.

 

It was mostly through the efforts of Mrs. Murrie, the wife of the then President of the Chocolate Company, that I obtained a job. Apparently, she had become aware of the family need and stepped in to help. . . .On April 16, 1929, my 15th birthday, [Mr. A. M. Hinkle], the Principal of our school, called me into his office and told me that he was happy that I was 16 years of age and could get a working permit so I could go to work to help the family. I said several times that I was 15 years old, not 16, but he paid no attention to me.

Derry Township School District, Granada Avenue school complex.  Hershey Junior-Senior High School in foreground.  1925

Derry Township School District, Granada Avenue school complex. Hershey Junior-Senior High School in foreground. 1925

Serving the Country: Hershey Chocolate’s contributions to WWII

Army-Navy 'E' Award Ceremony; l-r: Sam Hinkle, Major-General EDmnd B. Gregory, Milton Hershey, J.J. Gallagher, William Murrie and Ezra Hershey.  8/27/1942

Army-Navy 'E' Award Ceremony; l-r: Sam Hinkle, Major-General EDmnd B. Gregory, Milton Hershey, J.J. Gallagher, William Murrie and Ezra Hershey. 8/27/1942

Hershey Chocolate products played a critical role supplying the military during World War II. Before the war Hershey Chocolate Corporation had worked with the United States Army Quartermaster Corps to develop the formula for a survival ration bar, labeled the Ration ‘D’ bar. After the United States entered the war, Hershey Chocolate Corporation produced millions of the ration bars for the military.

In recognition of its outstanding efforts, Hershey Chocolate Corporation received the Army-Navy ‘E’ Production Award at a special ceremony held August 22, 1942. Quartermaster General, Major General Gregory, came to Hershey to present the corporation and Milton Hershey with the award of achievement. At the Award ceremony, Major General Edmond B.Gregory noted the company’s achievements stating, “The men and women of Hershey Chocolate Corporation have every reason to be proud of their great work in backing up our soldiers on the fighting fronts.”

Samuel Hinkle, then Hershey Chocolate chief chemist, remembered that Mr. Hershey was overjoyed at the accomplishment itself and at the fine relationship it betokened between management and employees. In the pictures of that event which have been preserved, it is easy to see the pleasure which he carries on his face.

The Corporation received a flag to fly above the chocolate plant and a lapel pin for every employee.By the end of the war in 1945 Hershey Chocolate Corporation would receive a total of five Army-Navy ‘E’ awards.

In addition to the Ration ‘D’ bar, Hershey products were part of seven ration packs. Hershey Chocolate also developed a confectionery product, the Tropical bar, that didn’t melt in high temperatures and therefore could be sent to tropical areas of the world. In 1944 Hershey produced a pamphlet outlining the many ways and many products in use by the military.

Hershey Chocolate Corporation pamphlet, ""Hershey's Products at War;"  inside fold.  1944

Hershey Chocolate Corporation pamphlet, ""Hershey's Products at War;" inside fold. 1944

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation pamphlet, ""Hershey's Products at War;"  inside view.  1944

Hershey Chocolate Corporation pamphlet, ""Hershey's Products at War;" inside view. 1944

The following text comes from that pamphlet:

Hershey’s Products at War

U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION D-is a highly concentrated food intended for emergency use only. One ration consists of three chocolate bars for carrying in the soldiers’ pockets. Hershey was the first to product this ration. A similar product is supplied to the Marine Corps.U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION K-provides balanced meals in individual packaged and contains a chocolate bar as the dessert component.
10 IN 1 RATION-supplied sufficient food for ten soldiers and withstands all climatic conditions. Chocolate bars of the Ration D type are included.
HERSHEY’S TROPICAL CHOCOLATE-is a new creation in bar form, designed to withstand the effects of extreme heat. High in food energy value, this item is being produced in response to the requests of our boys for the kind of chocolate they knew at home. Our entire output is scheduled for shipment overseas through the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Red Cross.
U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION C-is packed in a tin can. One item of the contents is Cocoa Beverage Powder, a great favorite with out fighting forces.
AIRCRAFT SNACK RATION-provides extra energy on long flying missions. Chocolate was an obvious choice among the items under consideration.

U.S. NAVY LIFE RAFT EMERGENCY RATION-was developed to sustain life in case of shipwreck. The Ration D type of chocolate, with its high powered food energy value, is well adapted for this vital use.

EMERGENCY ACCESSORY KIT-is prepared for front line use. Among other items, chocolate bars are packed in each kit.

PRISONER OF WAR PACKAGE-a gift of the American Red Cross, is regularly supplied to those of our fighting forces who have fallen into enemy hands. Special chocolate bars are included in this package.

HERSHEY’S BREAKFAST COCOA-is widely used by all branches of the service. Its popularity as a beverage is constantly increasing.

HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE FLAVORED SYRUP-long a favorite in the Ships Service Stores of the Navy, is also supplied for Army and Navy messes and Post Exchanges.

HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE, ALMOND MILK CHOCOLATE AND BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BARS-familiar to everyone in time of peace, are in even greater demand in wartime.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Welcoming Spring in Hershey: Easter Flower Shows

 
Hershey's first conservatory, ca. 1910
Hershey’s first conservatory, ca. 1910
Greenhouse at High Point Mansion, ca. 1909-1918
Greenhouse at High Point Mansion, ca. 1909-1918

 

 

One of the highlights of Hershey’s Easter season were the flower displays presented each spring in conjunction with Easter. First presented in Milton Hershey’s private greenhouse in 1909, the displays grew more elaborate each year and expanded as new conservatories were built.

The conservatories were open year round and were a popular destination in the winter months. The Hershey Press provided detailed reports of the flora displayed in the greenhouses. During the colder months the greenhouses were filled with the many palms, rubber trees, ferns and that were placed throughout Hershey during the warm months. In addition the greenhouses were used to propagate bedding plants such as coleus, geraniums, and begonias that would be planted throughout the community in its many flower beds.

The Easter displays quickly became an annual tradition in Hershey. The event, initially held on Easter afternoon and later expanding the the entire week before Easter, drew thousands of people to see elaborate displays of blooming Spring blooms and other flowers.

The fifth annual Easter Flower Show was held in 1913, the town’s 10th anniversary. Both conservatories were opened for visitors on Easter Day from noon to 6 p.m. The flower variety was impressive, including Chinese baby primroses, California poppies, red aftrican daisies, lilies and cyclamens as well as hundreds of tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils. In addition the the elaborate floral exhibits, guests were treated to the fun of seeing tropical birds, fish and even the zoo’s alligators who were housed in one of the conservatories.

 

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Hershey Zoo conservatory (now part of ZooAmerica Desert animal exhibit), ca. 1916

The show was enlarged in 1914 with the addition of a new conservatory located in the Hershey Zoo. The lower level of this conservatory served as winter quarters for several zoo animals.

In 1917 the show was further expanded when the old laundry (future Zoo entrance building) was repurposed as a Horticultural Hall.

 

Hershey Greenhouse, ca1931-1940

Hershey Greenhouse, ca.1931-1940

 

The show was discontinued in 1918 and it was not reestablished for several years. In 1930 Hershey constructed a new expansive greenhouse. With the new structure, Hershey was inspired to reestablish the Easter Show tradition. It is uncertain when it was restarted. The first reference to the revived Easter Flower show appears in a 1935 issue of the Hotel Hershey Highlights. The article also mentioned the success of the 1934 show. The Flower Shows continued throughout the 1930s. The last show was held in 1942 and was discontinued the following year because of wartime restrictions.

 

Easter Flower Show, Hershey Greenhouse, ca.1931-1942

Easter Flower Show, Hershey Greenhouse, ca.1931-1942

 

Army-Navy ‘E’ Award

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Hershey played a significant role on the home front supporting the war effort during World War II. In recognition of its outstanding efforts, Hershey Chocolate Corporation received the Army-Navy ‘E’ Production Award at a special ceremony held August 22, 1942. At the Award ceremony, Major General Edmond B.Gregory noted the company’s achievements stating, “The men and women of Hershey Chocolate Corporation have every reason to be proud of their great work in backing up our soldiers on the fighting fronts.” The Corporation received a flag to fly above the chocolate plant and a lapel pin for every employee. By the end of the war in 1945 Hershey Chocolate Corporation would receive a total of five Army-Navy ‘E’ awards.

 

The award was presented for exceeding all production expectations in the manufacturing of an Emergency Field Ration, better known as the Ration ‘D’ bar. It was an honor not easily won nor lightly bestowed. The wartime honor recognized businesses that consistently met high standards of quality and quantity in light of available resources.

 

In addition to providing large quantities of Hershey’s familiar products for the military, the Corporation produced additional items for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, including products for the Emergency Accessory Packet, 10-in-1 Ration, Field Ration ‘K,’ Field Ration ‘C,’ Life Boat Ration, Air Craft Ration and Prisoner of War package, as well as the Field Ration ‘D’ and Hershey’s Tropical Bar, a confectionery product designed to not melt.