Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Milton S. Hershey


Today we honor Milton Hershey (1857-1945) for his contribution to chocolate lovers world-wide.

Milton Hershey was born in rural central Pennsylvania. He received little formal education, but as a teenager Milton served as an apprentice to a local confectioner. Unfortunately, Hershey's attempts at the candy business following his apprenticeship, each ended in failure. It was not until he moved to Denver, Co, where he met another confectioner who taught him the secrets of caramels, that Hershey was able to gain ground in the business.

After failed attempts in both Philadelphia and New York, Hershey returned to Lancaster, Pa., better educated in candy making, ready to start the Lancaster Carmel Co. In a short time, Hershey held clients world-wide.

While the Lancaster Carmel Co. proved extremely successful, Hershey's most famous product had not yet hit the market and wouldn't for over a decade - Hershey's chocolate. In 1893, while visiting the World's Fair in Chicago, Hershey purchased equipment to produce chocolate. His initial intentions were to produce enough simply to cover his caramels, but after finding a much larger demand for chocolate, he decided to concentrate solely on chocolate recipes.

In 1900, Hershey sold the Lancaster Carmel Co. - for $1 million (1900 money) - and began his new venture, the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1903, Hershey began construction on his now world-famous chocolate factory in his birthplace, Dewey Township - now Hershey, Pa. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Hershey's quest is an excellent example of social benefit as a result of self-interest. Prior to Hershey, European producers maintained the market for chocolates with heavily guarded recipes and luxurious prices. With a lot of effort and mass production, Hershey changed all of that. He created a recipe that consumers could easily enjoy and afford.

Sources:

Hersheys.com
Wikipedia
Hersheypa.com (picture)

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