Hershey the Great American Chocolate Bar

When Jean deCrevecoeur said of the new America, “Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world,” he knew what he was talking about. Americans have changed the world in many ways with their own contributions. One contribution that many Americans and people all over the world can’t live with out is chocolate and a candy bar called Hershey.
Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. The history of chocolate spans from 200 B.C. to present day. The fruits scientific name is “Theobroma Cacao” which means “Food of the gods.” Over 2000 years ago the Mayan Indians worshipped the cacao bean as an idol. Hernando Cortez tasted “Cacahuatt,” in 1519, a chocolate drink enjoyed by the last Aztec emperor Montezuma II. Cortez brought the beans back with him to Spain and there the drink was made, then heated with sweeteners added. The new drink was kept a secret to be enjoyed by nobility, but the secret was revealed and the drink’s fame was spread to other lands. By the mid-1600s it had gained much popularity and one Frenchman opened the first hot chocolate shop in London. Chocolate houses were every where in England by the 1700s(“Food of the Gods” 1).
Chocolate has come a long way from the days of Cortez. It has been used in many countries in foods and drinks however, it was in America that the world’s most famous bar of chocolate would change the way so many of us enjoy the sweet treat. In 1894 Milton Hershey established the Hershey Chocolate Company where Hershey’s cocoa, Hershey’s baking chocolate, and Hershey’s sweet chocolate were manufactured.

“Hershey was called the “Henry Ford” of chocolate because he mass produced a quality chocolate bar at a price everyone could afford(1).” It is said that he was modest and unassuming in appearance, not the type you would pick out in the

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crowd, but Mr. Hershey was a shrewd and determined businessman (“Milton S. Hershey” 1).
Hershey was born on September 13th, 1857 near the Central Pennsylvania village of Derry Church (“Milton S. Hershey and the Town Built On Chocolate” 1). He only attended school to fourth grade before he was put to work as a printer’s apprentice in Gap,PA. Soon he soon got himself fired by dropping his straw hat into the printing press (“Milton S. Hershey” 2). Hershey then went on and became an apprentice to a candy maker in Lancaster, PA. He opened a candy shop of his own in Philadelphia. After six years the business failed along with the two that followed. In 1883 Hershey established the business that would make him known to the candy world, the Lancaster Caramel Factory, which led to many other accomplishments (“Milton S. Hershey and the Town Built On Chocolate” 1).
He became fascinated with the German chocolate-making machinery at the World’s Columbian Exposition. He purchased the new equipment for his caramel plant to produce his own chocolate coating. In order to concentrate on his chocolate business, he sold the Lancaster Caramel Co. for one million dollars in 1900.

Later on he decided that caramels were
just a fad and started producing novelties such
as chocolate cigarettes and dominoes on the
side. He decided to concentrate on chocolate
because it would retain the impress of his
name in hot weather, which caramel would
not (History of Hershey Chocolate 1).

After selling his caramel factory Hershey had to think of a proper place for a new factory. He settled on his home town, Derry Church, where there would be plenty of fresh milk to make his own milk chocolate. Though many said that building a factory in the middle of nowhere was unheard, of Hershey went through with it.

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In 1903 he began construction on what was to become the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant and by 1905 the new factory was completed. (“Milton S. Hershey and the Town Built On Chocolate” 2)

Inspired by the Swiss milk chocolate bars in 1893, he
hit on the idea of mass-producing a five-cent bar from
his own recipe using fresh milk. The Hershey Bar was
an instant success, as was his 1907 creation, the
Hershey Kiss (“History of Hershey Chocolate” 1).