Chocoholics, It's Time to Celebrate Milton Hershey

September 13 marks the birthday of Milton Hershey, the man behind the wildly successful Hershey's line of chocolate products.  See if you can answer these trivia questions about the man that founded the Hershey Chocolate Corporation and popularized chocolate candy throughout much of the world...


Does Hershey's Really Own the Trademark for the Word "Kiss"? # A survey showed people usually associate these candies with Hershey. Photo credit: Smabs Sputzer/Flickr. Yes and no. Hershey did successfully trademark the word "kiss" in the context of candy. However, the trademark and the journey to get it weren't easy because "kiss" is a common word that everyone used, including in the context of candy. It's generally difficult to trademark generic words, though that hasn't stopped many companies from trying. What made Hershey's case stand out is that they were able to prove that, by the time the application was made, people mainly associated the word "kiss" with Hershey's when talking about chocolate. Before Hershey's introduced their famous chocolate in 1907, "kiss" could mean any small piece of candy. When Hershey's tried to trademark the word in the 1990s, the application was initially rejected because of this prior use. However, Hershey's conducted a survey that asked people to associate various words and names with brands or generic use. For "Kiss," the majority of people said they associated it with a brand, rather than a generic name for candy. After seeing that result, Hershey won the trademark.

What Does the Titanic Have to Do With Milton Hershey? # Don't complain when your plans change -- an unexpectedly early return to the U.S. saved the Hersheys from disaster. Photo credit: Leslie Shaw/Flickr. Hershey and his wife had become so successful that they decided to travel to Europe. Their return trip was going to be in a luxury suite on the Titanic. Hershey put a $300 deposit down on a stateroom on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. About a week before the Titanic was to sail, something happened -- Hershey's won't say what -- to make the couple return to the United States early. Instead of stepping foot on the fated ship, the chocolate magnate and his wife sailed out on a German luxury liner called Amerika instead. They arrived home several days before the Titanic met its iceberg doom.  The couple avoided one of the worst disasters of the 20th century.


Which Two Products Were Hand-Molded or Packaged? The term "chocolate factory" brings to mind rows of machines automatically molding and packing products, but twice in Hershey's history, this was not the case. The first was when the Kiss was introduced; these candies were actually hand-wrapped because no machine to automatically wrap them existed. It wasn't until 1921 that a machine to wrap the morsels was created. The other product was the military Ration D bar. The U.S. government was acutely aware that soldiers needed an energy-packed bar to take with them when fighting, but they were also aware that anything that tasted too good wouldn't last long. The result was the Ration D bar, a nutrient-filled chocolate bar that didn't taste spectacularly good, though again, that was part of the plan. The batter for the bar was so thick that factory workers had to hand-mold the bars.

Which Two Well-Loved "Non" Hershey's Products Were Made With Hershey's Chocolate? The s'more, that graham cracker-marshmallow-chocolate campfire snack, was not a Hershey's product. It was created by the Girl Scouts. However, the Scouts noted in recipe ingredient lists that the chocolate bar used could be Hershey's or a similar brand. You can be sure Hershey's didn't mind. The other product was the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, which started as a weird mash-up of rival product and Hershey's-based candy. Basically, the guy who started the company, Harry Burnett Reese, used to work at a dairy for Hershey but was laid off. Reese decided to try starting his own candy company, which you think Hershey wouldn't like. Yet when Reese quietly tested a peanut butter chocolate cup that became a big hit, he used Hershey's chocolate as part of the ingredients -- and Hershey cooperated. Hershey's bought Reese's when Reese died. 

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