On September 13, 1857, Milton Hershey was born -- to the future delight of chocolate lovers. Here are five sweet facts you probably didn't know about the man that popularized chocolate throughout much of the world…
Milton Hershey Got His Start Making Caramels, Not Chocolate After launching two unsuccessful confectionery businesses in Philadelphia and New York, which lasted six years and three years, respectively, Hershey returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and launched the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886 using a recipe he acquired on his travels. The company was a massive success. He sold it for $1 million in 1900 (the equivalent of more than $28 million today) and focused his attentions on chocolate, stating that “caramels are just a fad, but chocolate is a permanent thing.”
The Name Mr. Goodbar Was A Misunderstanding
Hershey’s initially didn’t want to sell chocolate bars with peanuts, but the company's sales had plummeted during the Depression, and Hershey wanted to protect his employees from layoffs. They added Mr. Goodbar as a source of protein because the candy bars contained peanuts. While considering what to call the new candy bar, an executive said that the new product was a “good bar.” Milton Hershey was hard of hearing and thought that the exec had said “Mr. Good Bar.” He liked the name, so it stuck.
Heat Resistant Hershey Chocolate Has Been To The Moon During World War II, Hershey developed ration bars for the military that could withstand battlefield conditions. These bars were purposely designed not to be too tasty so troops wouldn’t be tempted to eat them right away. Hershey’s secret was to decrease the sugar and increase the chocolate liquor to make them less appealing. The Field Ration D bars weren’t a hit with soldiers, but they met the government’s specifications. Between 1941 and 1945, Hershey produced over one billion of the bars. Hershey worked again with the military to create the heat-resistant “Hershey's Tropical Chocolate Bar.” The bar was designed to last up to an hour in 120 degree temperatures and was given to soldiers entering warm climates. In 1971, these bars accompanied the Apollo 15 astronauts to the moon.
Milton Hershey Was Supposed To Be On The Titanic
Milton and Kitty Hershey had paid a $300 deposit for a first-class cabin on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. Fortunately, either business or illness interfered with their plans, and they ended up taking a German liner called the Amerika, arriving back home before the Titanic met its gruesome end.
The Company Once Made Gum A rumor that Beech Nut Gum was going to make chocolate influenced Hershey to produce his own chewing gum in competition. The gum, named “Easy Chew,” came out in 1915, but it was a problem getting sugar and chicle because of import restrictions placed on non-essential products.. The chewing gum was discontinued in 1924.