Milton Snavely Hershey was the man who created Hershey’s chocolate. He was a manufacturer and a generally good person who used his wealth to help the people around him. He was the only surviving sibling of a rural family. He was born in 1857 in Pennsylvania and raised on a farm. He had an incomplete education and became an apprentice at the age of 15. He went on to the candy business, and eventually popularized milk chocolate candy.
Let’s nibble on some facts.
Milton S. Hershey Facts
1. He had companies before Hershey
Hershey had the itch to make candy, and the itch to own his own business. An interesting fact about Milton Hershey is that he borrowed 150 dollars from his aunt and opened up his very first candy shop in Philadelphia. Hershey worked patiently on his shop for five years, but the shop never gained much success. He finally closed the shop and moved to Denver, Colorado to reunite with his dad. There, Hershey discovered caramel, and he liked it so much he switched his focus to caramel production. He attempted to start two new companies, one in Chicago, and one in New York. Neither were successful. Then, he started the Lancaster Caramel Company, and that saw great success! Hershey’s caramels were shipped all over the country!
2. Hershey’s father was half of a good role model
As a kid, Hershey saw his father as a big role model, and would follow him around everywhere. Hershey’s father had big dreams, but he didn’t have the work ethic or perseverance needed to make any of those dreams a reality. By 1867, Hershey’s mother had effectively separated from his father. She was tired of his lack of follow through. But Hershey’s father left his son with a healthy taste for dreaming.
3. Hershey switched from Caramel to Chocolate
In 1893, Hershey went to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and got an up close and personal look at the art of making chocolate. He was fascinated by chocolate, so Hershey set out to create a chocolate company, all while his caramel company was still running. In 1900, he sold the caramel company in order to focus on perfecting the chocolate bar. Hershey focused his energy on milk chocolate, which was a rare treat from Switzerland at the time. An interesting fact about Milton Hershey is that he worked on a way to produce milk chocolate on a massive scale and distribute it to the world.
And so, Hershey opened his chocolate factory in 1905, and in 1907, he came up with the famous Hershey’s Kisses. It wouldn’t be until 1924, however, that the signature foil and little paper tag would be added to this iconic candy.
4. He was almost on the Titanic
Hershey was absolutely planning on going on the Titanic, there’s even a record of him paying a three hundred dollar deposit in order to board the ship. However, Hershey was saved from the Titanic tragedy by a business emergency. Last minute, Hershey decided not to follow his travel plans, and that may very well have saved his life.
5. Hershey used his wealth to better his community
Hershey sold his caramel company for one million dollars. With his newfound wealth, he could have done any number of things. He could have built a huge house, or lived in the lap of luxury, but Hershey decided he would use his wealth to give back to his community. He built schools, parks, churches, recreational facilities, housing, and a trolley system in the town surrounding his factory, which came to be known as Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Hershey and his wife could not have a child, so they made sure to help out kids in their community. In 1909, Hershey opened an orphanage and school for boys, which later opened for girls, as well.
During the Great Depression, Hershey had buildings built so that people could have jobs in construction. During World War II, Hershey sent the troops chocolate bars to boost their morale.
6. He was a very humble and thrifty businessman
An interesting fact about Milton Hershey is that he made so much money with his business, but he didn’t live as if he had a lot of money. Much of his money and company stock was put into a fund to provide money for the various schools that he founded. He did have a house built, but it was a humble home. It was built within sight of the Hershey Company headquarters, so that Hershey could keep an eye on the business in which he had so much pride.
7. Milton Hershey was very devoted to his wife
In 1915, Hershey’s wife, Catherine Sweeny, died suddenly of a mysterious disease. Milton Hershey never remarried. He always kept a picture of his wife in his pocket, so she would be with him, always.
8. He had a superb work ethic
When Hershey’s mother left his father, it was because he never followed through on his promises. Hershey’s mother wasn’t about to let her son go and do the same thing. She taught Hershey to appreciate hard work, and he obviously took that lesson to heart. He kept working well into his 80s, an interesting fact about Milton Hershey.
Milton Hershey is a business leader modern CEOs could look to as an example of great generosity. He spent nearly all of his money supporting his community, and his chocolate continues to bring smiles to the faces of many. He made sure to surround himself with educated people, even though his education was incomplete. He was always open to learning from different areas of the world. He found a way he could do something nobody else was doing, and he earned a lot of money because of it, which he passed to others.
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