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Milton Hershey - Career & Financial Facts


When Milton Hershey was three (1860) his father's farm business failed. He sold all the family's possessions to pay off their debts; he netted $1,100 and moved the family to Oil City, PA. Source

Milton Hershey remembered that when he was 5 he hid the few coins he owned in a jar and buried it when news came that Confederate soldiers would be arriving in his hometown soon on their way to Gettysburg in 1863. He never found the jar again. Page 18 Source

Milton Hershey left school when he was 12. He then took a job at as an apprentice at a printing shop (later getting himself purposely fired). When he was 15 he took a job making candy for Royer's Ice Cream Parlor and Garden in Lancaster, PA. One of Milton's jobs at the ice cream parlor was to tend to the horses of a popular customer, John Coyle. Coyle would tip Milton a dime (more than $2 in today's money) for watching his horses. Source

In 1876 Milton Hershey opened his first candy shop, located in Philadelphia. Hershey sold each piece of candy for one penny.

Milton Hershey's first attempt at business was at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He was 19. After the exposition he opened his first candy store. How did Hershey entice customers into his shop? He installed a pipe into the building's coal chute so the smell of the sweets he was baking would carry into the streets. Milton Hershey's had to close his first candy store after six years in business when he ran out of money.

Milton Hershey's first attempt at manufacturing candy lasted nearly 6 years, however, when he was 24 he was out of cash and resources and had to close his business. Source

After his first business failed he went to Denver where his father was living and once again took a job working for a candy maker. There he further enhanced his skills in making caramels. Source

Milton's Aunt Mattie gave him $150 to start his own caramel candy company. (In 2012 the Hershey company had $6.6 billion in revenue.) Source

While visiting Lancaster an English importer asked Hershey to ship large quantities of his caramels to England. Hershey needed a loan in order to expand the business and fill this order. Only one bank was willing to take a risk on Milton's caramel company. They lent him $700 for 90 days with his Aunt Mattie's house used as collateral. 90 days later he was unable to pay back the $700; however, Hershey asked for even MORE money. $1,000 more. Because he admired Hershey's honesty, the bank manager gave it to him. Source

Just as this second loan came due Hershey received a payment of $2,500 for the English order. He ran to the bank to pay his loans that day. (He also paid $1.50 extra to send a cable to England to verify the check was good!) Source

With his company now rapidly growing his next loan request was for $100,000, however, the bank offered him $250,000 due to his excellent reputation and strong sales. Source

Hershey was the first person in Lancaster to buy an automobile. $2,000 was the price. Source

In 1894 Hershey's Lancaster Caramel Company did over $1 million worth of business. Source

In 1900 Hershey sold his Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million and refocused on only chocolate. Source

Hershey discovered people's real love for chocolate when he watched children take his chocolate dipped caramels, lick the chocolate off, and throw away the caramels! Source

Hershey spent three years creating and refining his own unique recipe for milk chocolate candy.

In 1903 Hershey paid his employee John Schmalbach a $100 cash bonus (but no royalties or promotion) for creating a milk mixture that became Hershey's secret recipe and allowed a higher quality of milk chocolate to be mass produced. Source

In 1911 Hershey was paying his cocoa bean roasters 15 cents an hour.

Predecessor of the Hershey Miniatures? In 1937 the Army asked Hershey to create a chocolate bar for soldiers. His company created the Field Ration D Bar. (D = Daily.) By 1941 Hershey was making 500,000 chocolate bars a day for the military. Source

In March 1937 Milton Hershey raised wages in his factories to a minimum of 60 cents per hour for men and 45 cents per hour for women.

Hershey met his future wife "Kitty" (Catherine Sweeney) in a candy store. She was an employee there and he was trying to get the store to sell his candy. While they were dating he may not have been the most romantic guy around. He gave his candy store girlfriend a box of candy for her birthday. Source

Milton Hershey had a parrot that cursed a lot and would play dead when disciplined with a swat.

While Milton was a penny pincher at work he certainly liked to spend it when traveling. Particularly in Europe, he enjoyed luxury hotels, racetracks, and gambling. He also had his wife wear a diamond tiara and necklaces. In his 70's Hershey loved to gamble, spending nearly $50,000 a month in casinos.

Hershey kisses were first produced in 1907. Today over 33 million Hershey Kisses are produced each day. Source

Hershey died in December 1945 with relatively little wealth. His personal possessions were auctioned off and the proceeds were added to an additional $900,000 he left for his local public school system.

Harry Burnett Reese was once an employee of Milton Hershey. He decided he could make a living by making his own candy. Reese died in 1956 and his company was bought by Hershey Chocolate Company. Today, the Hershey Company continues to produce Reese’s peanut butter cups, which have become its most popular candy. Source

More Facts and Sources
Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 1   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 2   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 3
Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 4   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 5   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 6
Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 7   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 8   Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 9
Milton Hershey Career & Financial Facts 10

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