Milton S. Hershey Biography

(Chocolatier & Businessman)
Milton S. Hershey

Birthday: September 13, 1857 (Virgo)

Born In: Derry Township, Pennsylvania, United States

Popularly known as the ‘candy man’, Milton Hershey was an American manufacturer and entrepreneur who started the chocolate candy revolution in the US. Born in a poor family, Milton was haunted by unfulfilled wishes throughout his life which prompted many of his philanthropic acts in later years, especially establishing a school for needy children. Milton could not complete his education and started apprenticeship at the age of 15. He failed twice in setting up a business till the time he started the Lancaster Caramel Company, where he wanted to create a perfect formula of caramel candies. Milton had his first encounter with chocolate making in World’s Columbian Exposition; with his caramel business doing well, he wanted to try his hand at chocolates and started the Hershey Chocolate Company. His aim was to find a way to mass-produce chocolate candies, which was henceforth considered the domain of the Swiss. His business thrived and there were many successful products like Hershey Kiss. Later he concentrated on the packaging of his chocolates. With his growth in business, Milton decided to build something for his community. He built schools, parks and churches in the town where the factory was located. In the later years, he helped the country during the time of Great Depression and helped the military during World War II, by supplying chocolate bars manufactured in his factory
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Milton Snavely Hershey

Died At Age: 88


father: Henry Hershey

mother: Fanny Snavely Hershey

Philanthropists Philanthropists

Died on: October 13, 1945

place of death: Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States

Ancestry: Swiss American

Cause of Death: Pneumonia

U.S. State: Pennsylvania

Founder/Co-Founder: The Hershey Company, Hershey Trust Company, Milton Hershey School, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company

Childhood & Early Life
Milton Hershey was born on September 13, 1857, in Pennsylvania, to Veronica "Fanny" Snavely Hershey and Henry Hershey. He was born in a tiny community farm where he spent most of his childhood days.
His father was kind of a dreamer who was interests more in quick-rich schemes, rather than hard work. His mother was tired of his schemes, and the couple gradually separated. His mother was quit stricte with young Milton and instilled an appreciation of hard work in him.
When Milton was 14, he dropped out of school and told his mother about the wish to start a business of his own. He started his apprenticeship with a candy maker in Lancaster. After four years, he borrowed some money from his aunt to start his own business in 1867.
He was a hard-working person, but his candy making business was not getting any success. He shifted to Denver for a short period of time and started to work with a confectioner. Here he learnt the trick of making caramel with fresh milk. Milton started a business in New York too, but it too was not quite successful.
As Milton returned to Lancaster, he again tried his hand at caramel business, and this time it was a hit. He established the Lancaster Caramel Company, which soon became a household name in caramel business. It was so successful that he started shipping products in Europe and US. He employed almost 14,000 people in his business.
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In 1893, Milton went to World’s Columbian Exposition. It was here that he had a close look at the art of chocolate making and he became fascinated with the entire process. With a thriving caramel business already in hand, he decided to start the Hershey Chocolate Company.
Milton concentrated more on milk chocolate, a delicacy considered as the forte of Swiss. But he wanted to mass-produce these candies so that it was available to everyone. He began experimenting to create a formula for his mass-produced chocolates.
In 1900, he sold his caramel company for a whopping 1 million dollars. After three years, he started a candy-making unit in Derry Church. The factory had modern machinery and was considered as a path-breaking unit in the history of Hershey and the candy industry. His experimentation with milk chocolates ultimately led to the discovery of Hershey bar which became popular with everyone.
The Hershey Chocolate Company was extremely successful and he created the Hershey Kiss in 1907. His long experiences in this industry had taught him the value of good workers. He was an industrialist and a forward-thinker, so he saw that his workers were treated properly and there was a pleasant atmosphere for them.
The year 1924 was a landmark year in his career as he found the perfect way to mass-distribute his chocolates with the introduction of foil wrappers.
With his growing business, Milton decided that it was the time to give something back to his society. He envisioned a model community in his home town. The town where the chocolate factory was present came to be known as Hershey. Schools, parks, churches, and houses were built there, mostly catering to the needs and welfare of his factory workers.
In 1930, when the Great Depression struck US, Milton contributed to the country’s economy by creating a mini-boom in his town. To keep the morale of his workers high, he decided to build a community building, a hotel and an office for Hershey.
During the time of World War II, Milton also helped the army by producing Tropical Chocolate Bar and Ration D Bar.
Major Works
Milton was the first entrepreneur who wanted to provide easily affordable chocolates. There are many products from Hershey which remain favorites, but the ‘Hershey Bar’ definitely tops the list.
Philanthropic Works
In 1909, Milton along with his wife Catherine started the Hershey Industrial School, which he thought was important for teaching young people the tricks of the trade. This school later came to be known as Milton Hershey School.
In 1918, three years after Catherine’s death, Milton transferred majority of his wealth to Hershey Trust. The money in the trust is still used to fund Hershey School.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1898, Milton got married to Catherine. The couple had no children, but they led a very happy life. Both of them were actively involved in philanthropic activities, and Catherine ardently helped her husband in his social work.
Milton Hershey died on October 13, 1945, at the age of 88, in Pennsylvania.
Milton believed that one should share his wealth with others, especially the less-fortunate ones; this was more of a moral obligation. The whole idea of starting the Hershey Industrial School for orphans stemmed from his deep urge to give back some of his wealth to his society. Today, the Milton Hershey School offers education and housing for more than 1000 girls and boys who have a problematic family life.

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