Chocolate History Timeline

January 26, 2012

1527
Conquistadors bring chocolate home to Spain.

1580
Beverages made with cocoa become popular in Spain.

1615
Italians are introduced to drinking chocolate, thanks to chocolate paste brought from the Spanish New World.

1657
London’s first chocolate shop opens for business. Until now, only the noble class has been able to experience chocolate drinks.

1659
Cocoa finds its way to France via the Spanish ship “Maria Theresa”. Local physicians applaud its properties, and rumors of it’s aphrodisiac qualities begin.

1765
Chocolate is first manufactured in the United States.

1819
Francois-Louis Cailler introduces the world’s first commercially-made eating chocolate. It is sold in blocks.

1824
John Cadbury opens a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham, England. With funding from his father for his business ventures, he begins experimenting with grinding cocoa beans with mortar and pestle.

1828
Conrad J. Van Houten obtains a patent for his method of removing the fat from roasted cacao beans. He adds this fat (not yet called cocoa butter) to a mixture of cocoa powder and sugar, creating the first chocolate candy.

1842
Stephen F. Whitman opens a small retail “confectionery and fruiterer shop” at Third and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He hopes to compete with the finer French candy makers of the time.

1847
The Cadbury Brothers (John and Benjamin) form a partnership. John Cadbury’s earlier experiments with roasting and grinding cocoa beans have resulted in sweetened chocolate powder, cocoa powder, and eating chocolate which he has been selling in France.

1849
Domingo Ghirardelli moved from Latin America to San Francisco, and initially made his living selling supplies to miners with gold rush fever. But he had seen cacao growing in Guatemala, and was soon inspired to start a chocolate factory.

1866
Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence becomes the first pure cocoa to be sold in Britain. Richard and George Cadbury perfect a method of completely removing all traces of cocoa butter for the first time.

1875
Milk chocolate is invented in Vevey, Switzerland when sweetened condensed milk and chocolate are mixed together by the Nestle Company.

1893
36 year-old Milton Snavely Hershey goes to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. There he sees chocolate manufacturing machinery demonstrated. He purchases his own equipment, and begins experimenting with it in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

1894
The Hershey Chocolate Company is founded by Milton Hershey. He already has a caramel business, and considers this new venture only a sideline.

1900
Milton Hershey sells his caramel company in favor of focusing on his chocolate manufacturing plant. This year the first milk chocolate “Hershey Bars” were produced.

1903
13 miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in a small town called Derry Church, Milton Hershey builds a chocolate factory. He also builds homes to house his workers, as well as a street railway to make the connections needed to get his product out to the consumers. “Chocolate Avenue” and “Cocoa Avenue” are two new streets in the little town, which will soon be re-named Hershey, Pennsylvania.

1912
Whitman’s Sampler® is introduced to the public. The Sampler box includes a collection of the most popular pieces of candy sold in the confectionery shop. Whitman’s becomes the first in its industry to use cellophane to wrap its packaged products. Cellophane is imported from France until 1924, when Dupont® started the United States production. For many years, Whitman’s is the largest single user of cellophane in America.

1920
The Good Humor bar is created by Harry Burt in Youngstown, Ohio.

The Baby Ruth is created by the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago. It was named after President Cleveland’s daughter.

1921
Peter Paul Company makes the Mounds bar from a formula created by a chemist, George Shamlian.

1923
The Butterfinger is introduced, the creation of the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago. As a publicity stunt, Otto Schnering, the creator of the candy bar, drops Butterfingers and Baby Ruths from airplanes over 40 cities, pushing the popularity of both treats to new heights.

Frank C. Mars develops the Milky Way candy bar in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In one year, sales of the new candy go from $72,800 to $792,000.

1925
The New York Cocoa Exchange is created by merchants, importers and brokers.

1930
Mars, Inc. creates the Snickers bar.

1932
Mars, Inc. introduces the 3 Musketeers bar. It sells for a nickel.

1940
A candy-coated chocolate is created especially for the United States military forces by Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie at Mars, Inc. Their initials lead to the name “M & M”.

1947
Peter Paul introduces the Almond Joy bar as a companion to the Mounds bar.

(Note: Whitman’s information comes from this Whitman’s timeline. )

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