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Hershey Chocolate Company: 1894-1900

Hershey Chocolate Company introduced its new trademark, the "Baby in a Cocoa Bean," in 1898
Hershey Chocolate Company introduced its new trademark, the “Baby in a Cocoa Bean,” in 1898

Inspired by chocolate-making machinery he saw at the 1893 World’s Exposition in Chicago, Milton Hershey returned to Lancaster and began experimenting with making chocolate. In 1894, he established the Hershey Chocolate Company and was soon producing over 100 varieties of “sweet chocolate” novelties, bite-size chocolates produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. The term “sweet chocolate” meant that the chocolate was an eating chocolate rather than an unsweetened chocolate meant for baking.

Pages from the Hershey Chocolate Company sales catalog. 1900
Pages from the Hershey Chocolate Company sales catalog. 1900

 

Hershey Chocolate Company sales catalogs listed over 100 products for sale. 1900
Hershey Chocolate Company sales catalogs listed over 100 products for sale. 1900

Hershey Chocolate Company’s first products were only in production a few years. Milton Hershey introduced Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in 1900. Its immediate success led Mr. Hershey to focus his energies on making milk chocolate. By 1909, the sweet chocolate novelties were discontinued.

Hershey Chocolates were made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including wafers, tablets, cigars, gems and cigarettes.

Hershey's Little Puck Cigars, ca1898-1905
Hershey’s Little Puck Cigars, ca.1898-1905

 

Hershey's Chocolate Batons, ca1896-1909
Hershey’s Chocolate Batons, ca.1896-1909

 

Hershey's Golf Wafers, ca1895-1905
Hershey’s Golf Wafers, ca.1895-1905

 

Hershey's Chrysanthemum Chocolate, ca1896-1904
Hershey’s Chrysanthemum Chocolate, ca.1896-1904

Occasionally, Hershey Chocolate Company produced a product to tie in with national events.

Hero of Manila Chocolate Segars, ca1898
Hero of Manila Chocolate Segars, ca.1898

In May 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the order to Captain Charles Gridley, “You may fire when ready, Gridley” as the American naval squadron prepared to attack the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, in the Philippines. Following the successful conclusion of the Spanish-American War, Hershey Chocolate capitalized on national pride arising from the war’s outcome.

Hershey's Petit Bouquets Chocolate Segars, 1896-1900
Hershey’s Petit Bouquets Chocolate Segars, 1896-1900

Hershey offered a wide variety of products priced at 5 and 10 cents. The colorful packaging and product names in French and others reflective of upper class pursuits, suggested that Hershey’s Chocolate was a special product for a special person.

Hershey’s top-of-the-line chocolates were packaged in elegant boxes printed with embossed gold ink lettering.

Hershey's Le Roi Chocolate Tablets, ca1896-1909
Hershey’s Le Roi Chocolate Tablets, ca.1896-1909

 

Hershey's La Grand Duchess Sweet Chocolate, ca1905-1909
Hershey’s La Grand Duchess Sweet Chocolate, ca.1905-1909

 

Hershey's Chocolate Fans, 1896-1904
Hershey’s Chocolate Fans, 1896-1904

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