After completing an apprenticeship to a confectioner in 1876, Milton Snavely Hershey founded a candy shop in Philadelphia, which failed six years later. After trying unsuccessfully to manufacture candy in New York, Hershey returned to Pennsylvania, where he founded the Lancaster Caramel Company, whose use of fresh milk in caramels proved successful.
In 1900, Hershey sold his caramel company for $1,000,000 and began to concentrate on chocolate manufacturing.
In 1903, Hershey began construction of a chocolate plant in his hometown, Derry Church, Pennsylvania, which later came to be known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. The milk chocolate bars manufactured at this plant proved successful, and the company grew rapidly thereafter.
In 1907, Hershey introduced a new candy, small flat-bottomed conical-shaped pieces of chocolate that he named “Hershey’s Kisses”. Initially they were individually wrapped by hand in squares of foil, and the introduction of machine wrapping in 1921 simplified the process while adding the small paper ribbon to the top of the package to indicate that it was a genuine Hershey product. The product was trademarked three years later and went on to become one of the most successful and well-known products ever produced by the company. In 2007, the one-hundredth anniversary of Hershey’s Kisses, the United States Postal Services honored Hershey’s Kisses by placing one on its Love Stamp. It is almost unheard of that USPS place a commercial product on a first-class stamp, but then again, that’s the power of the Hershey’s Kiss. Other products introduced include MR. Goodbar in 1925, Hersheys Syrup in 1926, chocolate chips in 1928, and the Krackel bar in 1938.