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Currently browsing Hershey Chocolate Corporation

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.

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

Happiness is a Mouthful of HERSHEY-ETS

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Panning Hershey-Ets. ca.1960

Panning Hershey-Ets. ca.1960

 

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

 

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

 

Plain chocolate  Hershey-Ets were first introduced in 1954.

Plain chocolate Hershey-Ets were first introduced in 1954.

 

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

 

Brightly colored Hershey-Ets were introduced in 1956.

Brightly colored Hershey-Ets were introduced in 1956.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

All you need are a few good men. . .

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

In Milton Hershey’s memory: Cocoa Avenue Plaza

Cocoa Avenue Plaza swimming pool.  ca.1965

Cocoa Avenue Plaza swimming pool. ca.1965

 

Just prior to his death, Milton Hershey set aside 18.25 acres to create Memorial Field, a community park with a playground and sports fields in the heart of residential Hershey.  Plans for Memorial Field were extensive and not all could be developed at first.

 

Several years later, Sam Hinkle, president of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation, decided to expand the existing Memorial Field with several amenities, some of which had been envisioned in the original plans for Memorial Field. When plans for the new facility were announced, Sam Hinkle was quoted in a Hershey News article that the new recreational facility was “being built as a memorial to the late Milton S. Hershey, town founder.”    The article went on to explain that the Cocoa Avenue Plaza was being built and constructed with Chocolate Corporation funds.

 

Laurie & Green, a Harrisburg, PA architectural firm, designed the new facility.  Inspired by Milton Hershey’s love of innovation, plans for Cocoa Avenue Plaza incorporated modern and innovative design and engineering.  H.B. Alexander and Sons, Inc. of Harrisburg, PA was selected as the general contractor for the project.  The new pool, was built to then current NCAA standards, and could function as an indoor or outdoor facility, thanks to its retractable roof.  John Zerbe, then in charge of Hershey’s recreation program, described the unique features of the pool complex in his 1996 oral history:

It was probably the first swimming pool [of its kind] in the country like it, and we had people from all over the country come in to look at that building, but it was the first pool in the country to actually use almost a water company quality chlorination process.  It was the first pool in the country to use PVC piping all around, and, obviously, it was the first pool in the country to use the kind of opening-dome design that we used.  The real structural design of that was absolutely phenomenal, and it all basically rotated on a humongous pin at the top.�

I thought that design and the corporate resolve here to build that kind of a building was very visionary.  I can’t imagine too many corporations willing to go after that kind of design and see it through.

The pool's walls can fully retract to create a completly outdoor pool.  ca.1965

The pool's walls can fully retract to create a completly outdoor pool. ca.1965

 

Dedication of the Plaza was originally planned for September 13, 1963.  However, delays in finishing work and time needed to trouble shoot the new mechanical systems caused the dedication to be delayed.  All construction was finally completed on October 12 and the dedication ceremonies were held on October 20, 1963.

There’s more than one way to a consumer’s heart. . .

 

The Hershey Company did not incorporate media advertising for its products until the company was over 75 years old.  Even though Hershey Chocolate Company did not advertise in newspapers, magazines or on the radio, it made use of a variety of advertising techniques.  Milton Hershey made use of store windows, counters and posters in trains and trolleys.  His packaging also promoted his products.  Check out some of these examples of early Hershey slogans:

 

Beginning with the first Hershey Chocolate products, packaging carried advertising slogans such as “More Sustaining than Meat” and “A Sweet to Eat.”

 

  

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate.  1903-1905

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate. 1903-1905

  

 

   

 Later bar wrappers included advertisements for Hershey’s Cocoa.

 

  

 

 

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate, ca.1912-1926

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. ca. 1912-1926

 

 

 

  

 

 During the Hershey Chocolate Company’s early years, it inserted specially sized postcards in standard size Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars.  These postcards featured scenes from the chocolate factory , dairy farms that supplied much of the milk used to produce milk chocolate and also images of the community’s recreational facilities.  Other Hershey Chocolate “bar cards” can been seen on the Hershey Community Archives website.

 

  

 

 

 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar cards such as this were included with standard size milk chocolate bars between 1909-1918.

Postcards such as this were included with standard size Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars between 1909 and 1918.

 

 

 

   

 

Salesmen created massive displays of product to attract attention and advertise special promotions. 
 

 

 

 

 

Sidewalk candy display created by a Hershey Chocolate salesman for Leftoff's Retail Store, Bronx, New York.  1938

Sidewalk candy display created by a Hershey Chocolate salesman for Leftoff's Retail Store, Bronx, New York. 1938

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate Company made effective use of displays in store windows, counters and aisles:

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation store window display.  ca.1930-1932

Hershey Chocolate Corporation store window display, ca.1930-1932

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate in-store display.  ca.1945-1950

Hershey Chocolate in-store display. ca.1945-1950

 

 

 

  

In smaller stores, special counter displays were used to promote Hershey’s products.
 

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate store counter display.  ca.1920-1925

Hershey Chocolate store counter display. ca.1920-1925

 

 

 

 

 

  
For several decades these methods were effective ways to market the United States “great American chocolate bar.”  However, beginning in the 1960s, these methods were no longer enough and Hershey Chocolate began losing market share.   In response to growing competition, Hershey Foods Corporation launched its first media advertising campaign in 1970. 

Touring the Hershey chocolate factory

Hershey Chocolate Factory visitors department; Tour Director Lloyd Shoap and hostesses.  ca.1936-1940

Hershey Chocolate Factory visitors department; Tour Director Lloyd Shoap and hostesses. ca.1936-1940

 

Almost as soon as the Hershey Chocolate Factory began operating in 1905, visitors wanted to tour the facility to see how Hershey’s milk chocolate was made.  The Company began offering formal tours as early as 1910.  In 1915 the Hershey Visitors Bureau opened in the Cocoa House as an information center for Hershey’s rapidly growing tourist market.  The Visitors Bureau provided information about Hershey’s attractions and provided Admission cards to visitors wishing to tour the factory.  Opening in July 1915, the Bureau distributed over 10,000 factory tour admission cards during its first three months.

 

In 1928 the factory began keeping formal statistics about factory tours.  A Factory tour was a popular part of a visit to Hershey.  Whether you were coming to Hershey to visit the Park, swim at the pool, enjoy the flowers at the Hershey Gardens or to shop at the Department Store, many people made a factory tour part of their visit to Hershey.

 

Visitors receive free cup of cocoa at the end of the chocolate factory tour.  ca.1950-1960

Visitors receive free cup of cocoa at the end of the chocolate factory tour. ca.1950-1960

 

 

Factory tours were not just for visitors.  Many people have fond memories of growing up in Hershey and taking the tour just to get the chocolate provided to visitors at the end of the tour.  Frank Simione shared these fond memories in his 1993 oral history interview:

 

We used to go through the chocolate plant, through the main entrance on Chocolate Avenue.  As we entered the main entrance there, they would give you a small cup of chocolate drink, and when you came back [from the tour], they would give you a pack with five bars, which says “Five Famous Hershey Bars.”  We used to go over there to get the chocolate drink and get those five little famous bars.  They were very little, in a small pack, and sometimes we used to go two and three times in a day, just to receive the chocolate drinks and the chocolate bars.  Now, this was done practically every day.

 

By 1970 almost one million people were touring the factory each year.  The factory had never been designed to handle so many people.  So many visitors were causing traffic jams downtown, overwhelming the building capacity and creating risks for product safety.  Hershey Foods Corporation’s solution was to build Hershey’s Chocolate World, a corporate visitor center that could welcome the millions of people visiting Hershey each year and would teach how Hershey’s milk chocolate is made in a fun and informative way.  The last public Chocolate factory tour was held June 29, 1973 and Hershey’s Chocolate World opened the next day.

Advertising Hershey Chocolate

One of the great myths in the advertising industry is that Hershey Chocolate did not begin  advertising until 1970.  Although the Corporation generally did not use consumer media advertising such as newspaper and magazine ads, or radio and television commercials, it did employ a variety of techniques to publicize itself. 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation offered store window displays to its customers to help them promote Hershey products.  ca. 1936

Hershey Chocolate Corporation offered store window displays to its customers to help them promote Hershey products. ca. 1936

Hershey Chocolate used its advertising dollars to promote its products to the stores and outlets that would sell Hershey’s products.  Hershey also believed in advertising its products where consumers could purchase them and created elaborate and often whimsical store window sets and in-store product displays that featured product in bountiful arrangements.  

Hershey Chocolate Corporation distributed charts such as this to schools to help them teach students about making chocolate.  1944

Hershey Chocolate Corporation distributed charts such as this to schools to help them teach students about making chocolate. 1944

In addition to store and window displays, it published a variety of educational pamphlets  and other materials that described the process of making milk chocolate and promoted the company.  The very first pamphlets appeared a few years after the factory began operations.  These pamphlets promoted the town and linked the success of the company with the model industrial town. 

 

Recipe pamphlets offered cooks new recipes using Hershey products.  Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, ca.1936-1945

Recipe pamphlets offered cooks new recipes using Hershey products. Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, ca.1936-1945

Hershey Chocolate Company published cooking pamphlets beginning about 1915 as a way to promote the use of its products and introduced its first cookbook about 1922.  One of the most far reaching advertising techniques Hershey employed was creating and inserting specially sized postcards, in standard-sized milk chocolate bars to promote the company and the town.  The postcards showed scenes of factory operations, diary farms that illustrated milk chocolate wholesome ingredients, and attractive view of Milton Hershey’s model town. These postcards were distributed nationally and found their way around the world.  In the Archives collections you can find postcards with postmarks from China, Alaska, Mexico and France. 

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation promotional films featured the town of Hershey as well as the chocolate factory and Hershey products.  1932

Hershey Chocolate Corporation promotional films featured the town of Hershey as well as the chocolate factory and Hershey products. 1932

The desire to promote the company and the town eventually led to Hershey Chocolate Corporation to underwrite the production of a series of movies that promoted the products and the town.  In 1932 the company produced a 48-minute educational film that described chocolate production and the model town made possible by the success of Hershey’s milk chocolate. This film was shown primarily in schools.  The following year two films were produced: “Seeing Wonders,” a movie short promoted Hershey as a travel destination and the “Chocolatetown Review,” another short film that featured Hershey Chocolate products as marionettes in a vaudeville style show.  Both of these films would have been seen as “shorts” shown in movie theaters before the feature film.  World War II and the death of Milton Hershey in 1945 ended the company’s exploration of new advertising techniques.

What’s the weather?

 

Having a office in a windowless location often leaves me disconnected from the weather.  All sorts of weather happens without my knowledge and I’m often surprised by it when I leave work at the end of the day.  Wanting to know the weather is a desire shared by all who work in windowless environments. 

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Windowless Office Building, 1957

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Windowless Office Building, 1957

 

 

In 1934 Hershey Chocolate Corporation announced plans to build a new office building.  While original designs for the building included lots of windows to provide natural light, soon after ground was broken Milton Hershey was inspired by an innovative design and asked his builder/architect D. Paul Witmer to change the plans and build a windowless office building.  Amazingly, Mr. Witmer was able to draft a new set of plans before the foundation was completed and construction proceeded without interruption. 

 

 

Hershey's new windowless office building featured large, open offices lit with indirect lighting.

Hershey's new windowless office building featured large, open offices lit with indirect lighting.

 

 

The building incorporated several innovations designed to enhance worker comfort.  Some of those enhancements included central air-conditioning and even, indirect lighting to minimize shadows.  In every office a weather indicator was installed so that workers could know at all times the status of the weather.

 

 

A weather indicator was installed underneath each clock in Hershey Chocolate Corporation's windowless office building.

A weather indicator was installed underneath each clock in Hershey Chocolate Corporation's windowless office building.

 

 

The weather indicator featured three colored glass bullseyes lit by miniature electric bulbs.  Different types of weather were represented by different combinations of the three colored lights being lit.

 

 

 

 

Weather conditions were communicated by lighting different combinations of the colored lights.

Weather conditions were communicated by lighting different combinations of the colored lights. (Memo from Accession 87006, B12 F27.2)

 

 

 

 The basic combinations to communicate weather were:

 

White                       Clear weather

Red                           Rain

White and Red     Cloudy

Green                       Snow

Green and White  Electrical Storm underway

 

Today, employees working in the Windowless Office Building still rely on the weather indicator panels.  The need to know the weather is still an important part of daily life.

Celebrating Milton Hershey’s Birthday

 

1937 was a tumultuous year in Hershey.

 

Hershey Chocolate factory strikers are beaten as they exit the factory ending Hershey's first sit-down strike. 4/7/1937

Hershey Chocolate strikers are beaten as they exit the factory, ending Hershey's first sit-down strike. 4/7/1937

In January the CIO, a national trade union, organized Hershey Chocolate factory workers, establishing the plant’s first labor union. In April, the Hershey factory workers held Pennsylvania’s first sit-down strike following a breakdown in labor contract negotiations. Though short lived, the strike bitterly divided the town.

 

Employees honor Milton Hershey at his 80th birthday.  9/13/1937

Employees and residents honor Milton Hershey at his 80th birthday. 9/13/1937

 

As a means of healing some of the pain resulting from the strike, workers organized a 80th birthday celebration for Milton Hershey. Over 8000 people attended the party held at the Hershey Sports Arena on Monday evening, September 13. All the community’s bands performed, including both high schools, the American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps and the Community Theatre Orchestra. The speakers’ platform was surrounded by flowers, most of which were gifts from community churches and organizations.

 

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Milton Hershey wearing his 80th birthday ring. 1941

 

The employees presented Milton Hershey with a yellow-gold ring with 18 diamonds encircling a design featuring the Chocolate Corporation’s trademark, the baby in a cocoa pod, and a maroon silk lounging robe. The evening festivities included a vaudeville show of top-line entertainment from New York City, refreshments and dancing in the Hershey Park Ballroom.