The Candy Bar: A History

As far back as the year 250 A.D. chocolate was a popular drink among the Mayan  was said to have been the favorite drink of many.  The cacao bean from which chocolate is derived, became such an important part of life in America that the Aztecs used the beans as currency as well as drinking chocolate drinks.

Hernan Cortez, the famous Spanish conquistador, introduced the chocolate drink to Europe.

The art of chocolate making was patented in 1729 by Walter Churchman.  The patent was issued by George II.  A few short years later, a revolution in chocolate was made when Joseph Fry and Son created a paste that could be pressed into a mold.  The candy concoction was an instant hit.  People began to eat chocolate as much as they drank it.  Many historians credit this event as the creation of the first candy bar.

Others saw the popularity of the chocolate bar and began their own attempts at creating a delicious candy delight.  Two years later, John Cadbury introduced a chocolate candy bar.  In 1875, Henry Nestle and Daniel Peter created milk chocolate which is today.

At the 1893 Columbian Exposition, a World’s Fair held in Chicago, chocolate-making machinery made in Dresden, Germany, was displayed. It caught the eye of Milton S. Hershey, who had made his fortune in caramels, saw the potential for chocolate. He installed chocolate machinery in his factory in Lancaster, and produced his first chocolate bars in 1900.  By 1900, milk chocolate candy bars were being sold by the Hershey Candy Company.

A new twist was added to the chocolate bar industry when Rodolphe Lindt created new kind of chocolate, one that “snaps” when broken or will melt if left on the tongue.

Enterprising people began to play around with adding ingredients to their bars.  In 1916, the Clark Bar burst onto the market.  in 1923, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented in 1923, and the Butterfinger and Milky Way were invented that same year.

One of the most famous candy bars to ever be marketed burst on the scene in 1925, as Kandy Kate.  In a few years, the company renamed the bar after the President’s daughter, Ruth.  Many people have speculated over the years about the Baby Ruth being named after George Herman Ruth, Jr., the famous baseball player.  But the truth is that Baby Ruth candy bar was named after the daughter of President Cleveland, Ruth Cleveland.  The Baby Ruth quickly became a success.

The Mr. Goodbar was cranked out that same year.

The 1930’s was another decade of chocolate bar change!  The Snicker Bar, Three Musketeers, the Kit Kat and Nestle Crunch were all invented.  Today Americans eat 22 lbs. of candy per year.  More than 40,000 varieties of candy bars have been created throughout history.

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