Milton Hershey Lisa Do—Period 2

Early Life

Milton Hershey as a child.

Hershey was born on September 13th, 1857, in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, on a farm to Henry and Veronica "Fanny" Snavely Hershey. He had only one sibling, Serina, who sadly died from scarlet fever when Hershey was only nine years old. Hershey was raised in a very devout Mennonite family. He had a very limited and rural education due to his father constantly working new jobs to make quick cash, which caused the family to move around a lot. By the time Hershey was thirteen years old, he had attended six different schools. His parents eventually separated, leaving Hershey's upbringing to his mother. After completing the fourth grade, his mother decided he should leave school and enter into a trade.

Early Career

Milton Hershey working as an apprentice.

Hershey's mother was able to find him a job working as an apprentice at a printing press. He would help set up each letter for the printing press and then load the paper and ink for the printer to work. He thought the work was boring and didn't enjoy the job. After two years working for the printing press, Hershey was fired because he was very mischievous and dropped his hat into the printing press on purpose. Afterwards, his mother helped him find an apprenticeship job with a candy maker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For four years, Hershey learned the art of candy-making and developed and excelled this skill. After completing his apprenticeship, Hershey decided to take his passion to whole new level.

Started from the bottom

Milton Hershey as a young man.

At nineteen years old, Hershey borrowed $150 from his aunt and started his own confectionary shop in Philadelphia. For the next few years, he worked his hardest, but he wasn't able to make enough profit to keep his business open. He eventually closed his business and moved out West with his father. In Denver, Hershey worked with a candy maker and learned the technique of making the best caramel and learned that the best tasting candy is made from fresh milk. Hershey soon ventured out and started businesses in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City, which—like his first business—ended in failure. He then retreated back in to Lancaster and reinvented the way he was going about his business.

Now He's Here

Advertisement for the Lancaster Caramel Company

With the help of a former candy maker, Henry Lebkicher, his aunt, and his mother, Hershey started the Lancaster Caramel Company. He focused primarily on caramels using the techniques he learned in Denver. He redeveloped the caramel candy by adding fresh milk which gave the candy a more distinct flavor, chewiness, and shelf life. For the time being, he sold these caramels on a push cart and made a decent profit until the business was discovered by a English candy importer. The business expanded and his "Crystal A" caramels was a huge demand all over the world. Hershey then took a trip to England and discovered that the caramels were being cut up in bite-size pieces and then dipped in chocolate. After learning the process of chocolate-making, he took the chance and brought it back the US. He traveled to Chicago where chocolate really sparked his interests. He would then developed three signature chocolate products—Hershey's Cocoa, Hershey's Baking Chocolate, and chocolate-dipped caramels. Soon after, Hershey sold the company for a million dollars and focused solely on chocolate.

Bigger is Better

Milton Hershey during the prime years of his company.

At 37 years old, Hershey started the Hershey Chocolate Company. His business was able to quickly find success. This all came to be when Hershey needed a place for his factory. He founded and started a community or town in his birth town of Derry Township which he simply called Hershey. He was able to establish his factory, houses, churches, post offices, and schools. The people who flocked to this region contributed to the success of the company and made the community an attraction place.

1) Some products produced by Hershey's 2) The timeline of a Hershey's Chocolate Bar wrapper

During the early years of the company, it produced many of the products we see today such as the Hershey's Chocolate Bar and the Hershey's Kiss. With easy access to resources and the mass production of the various chocolate candies, he was able to lower the price which gave all people the ability to buy his products. For the first 50 years, the company was able to strike gold without the use of much advertisement. Advertisement wasn't a big thing until the company expanded overseas to over 90 countries. After 40 years with the company, Hershey stepped down and a year later, he died from pneumonia. Today, Hershey 's has become one of the most popular household names with more than 147 products.

Philanthropy and Legacy

1) Milton Hershey and Catherine Hershey 2) Milton Hershey and students at the Milton Hershey School

In the early years of his company, Hershey married a woman by the name of Catherine whom he met at a candy shop. They were unable to have children of their own, but they gave a lot of their endeavors to underprivileged children. He opened a school for orphaned boys and eventually orphaned girls which today, it is called Milton Hershey School. This school would provide these children with the necessary tools to be successful in certain trades and occupations. After his wife unexpected death about twenty years after they married each other, Hershey never remarried and was known to have always carried a photo of his wife with him. With much of his wealth he had to himself, he transferred much it to the Hershey Trust which funded his school. He created great relationships with many candy magnates such as Harry Reese who sold/gave the company to Hershey after his death. When the Great Depression hit, Hershey wouldn't let his employees go or be affected by it. He continued building his community, providing jobs to those who would build it. When WWII occurred, he supported the country's effort by supplying the troops with chocolate bars.

Hershey was able to turn himself from an uneducated poor boy to a well-known billionaire even after his death. His success as an entrepreneur is contributed by many factors. Every time Hershey failed, he worked harder and harder until he succeeded. He found success by taking risks and chances and drove them in a certain way that benefitted his companies. He took a simple product—milk—and revolutionized the chocolate and candy industry. He is seen not only as a great entrepreneur, but humanitarian. Even as uneducated as he was, he stressed the importance of a great education for those who followed him. He appreciated the people around him for making him what he had become—his mother, aunt, employees, and consumers. He didn't care about the wealth he gained but the quality of his products he would give to consumers. Hershey made a name for himself by using the same principles he learned and developed as a youth which continues to live on.

Fun facts

  1. As a boy, Hershey could hear cannons from the Battle of Gettysburg.
  2. Hershey and his wife were to board the Titanic, but they decided last minute to cancel their trip.
  3. Harry Reese was an employee of Hershey.
  4. Hershey's mansion is now the headquarters of the company.
  5. During the Great Depression, none of his employees lost their jobs.
  6. Hershey has his own sugar plantation in Cuba.

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