Milton’s formal education ceased after the fourth grade, but he was a life-long student. When he was fifteen years old he went to work for Joseph C. Royer’s Ice Cream Parlor and Garden. Not only did the obvious benefits come with the job where you get to ingest your mistakes, but the shop was a half block from City Hall and close to the main market where farmers sold their produce and meat. He met pretty girls, ambitious men, and prominent visitors.
In addition to scooping ice cream, Milton was also responsible for making the various candies sold by the shop, the most common of which were all made of boiled sugar such as lemon drop, lollipops, and the very popular marshmallows. At this time, chocolate was only just being produced in solid form. It was also expensive and not readily available to the “masses.”
Milton would change that after his visit to the 1893 Columbian World Exposition in
Chicago. By then he had started, succeeded, failed, then succeeded again with four candy companies. The latest, The Lancaster Caramel Company, employed 1,300 employees in two factories. After seeing Germany’s J.M. Lehmann’s machine that turned raw cocoa beans into chocolate bars, Milton was convinced that there was great commercial potential for European-style chocolate in America.
At the end of the fair, he purchased the Lehmann equipment, saying, “Caramels are a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.” He came home and sold his caramel company for one million dollars and set up the Hershey Chocolate Company. By New Year’s Day 1894, Milton was making cocoa powder for drinking, baking chocolate, and sweet chocolate coatings that could be poured over caramels. It would be another two years before he could devise a solid bar that would be sold to the public.
By the time he was forty years old, friends and family were convinced Milton was a confirmed bachelor. And perhaps he would have remained so if he hadn’t met the twenty-five-year-old daughter of Irish immigrants, Catherine “Kitty” Sweeney. Slim with long auburn hair that she wore pinned up, she caught Milton’s eye immediately. Within a year, they were married. He hadn’t even told his mother, he was courting anyone.
Construction on the facility began March 2, 1903, and when completed in 1905, the factory was the largest chocolate manufacturing plant in the world. Milton used the latest mass production techniques, and his candy became the first nationally marketed product of its kind.
What’s your favorite Hershey’s candy?
On the Rails: A Harvey Girl Story
Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their breakup, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?
Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3puuxHX