The Hershey Company originated with candy-manufacturer Milton Hershey’s decision in 1894 to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he called his new enterprise the Hershey Chocolate Company.
In 1900, the company began producing milk chocolate in bars, wafers and other shapes. With mass-production, Hershey was able to lower the per-unit cost and make milk chocolate, once a luxury item for the wealthy, affordable to all. One early advertising slogan described this new product as “a palatable confection and a most nourishing food.”
The immediate success of Hershey’s low-cost, high-quality milk chocolate soon caused the company’s owner to consider increasing his production facilities. He decided to build a new chocolate factory amid the gently rolling farmland of south-central Pennsylvania in Derry Township, where he had been born. Close to the ports of New York and Philadelphia which supplied the imported sugar and cocoa beans needed, surrounded by dairy farms that provided the milk required, and with a local labor supply of honest, hard-working people, the location was perfect. By the summer of 1905, the new factory was turning out delicious milk chocolate.