Milton S. Hershey was a candy prodigy. Hershey opened his first candy shop in Pennsylvania at age 19, after working in a confectionary shop for several years. He went on to master caramel, hard candies, and chocolate, and he opened his chocolate factory in central Pennsylvania in 1894. Hershey was one of the first candy-makers to utilize machinery in the chocolate process in the US. His first exploits include baking chocolate, breakfast cocoa, chocolate covered caramels, and chocolate candy bars.

The Kiss

In 1907, Hershey developed Kisses, a small teardrop-shaped piece of milk chocolate. The little candies were individually hand-wrapped in silver foil and sold in square, windowed boxes. The Kisses were extremely popular, even more so than their predecessor, the Sweetheart, which had a similar shape. Kisses were mass-produced on machinery which would pump a specific amount of viscous chocolate onto a conveyer belt, and then cool it so the Kisses would retain their shape. Allegedly, these candies were named for the “kiss-like” sound that the machinery made when the Kisses were in production.

The Plume

Kisses were sold in five and ten-cent boxes, and inspired many cheap imitations. Originally, the Hershey logo was printed on a piece of tissue paper which was wrapped underneath the silver foil. This aided knock-off producers because there was nothing visible to consumers that differentiated the Hershey’s Kisses from imitation candies. To combat this, Hershey changed the wrapping slightly in 1921. He bought a new mass-wrapping machine which inserted a “plume” or banner into the foil wrapping so Kisses Brand Chocolates could be distinguished from other conical, silver-wrapped candies. Two years later, the Kisses’ shape, size, and wrapping were trademarked officially.

Ninety-eight Years Later

The Kiss has been in production for almost a century, and since its introduction in 1907 it has become a part of American history and pop-culture. Due to rations imposed during World War II, production of Hershey’s Kisses was halted in an effort to conserve silver foil for military purposes. The Kiss machinery was converted into a military ration plant, creating chocolate paste that was used to make emergency D-rations for American soldiers. Today, the Hershey factories in Pennsylvania and California churn out millions of Kisses each day. Kisses are now available in a variety of forms, including Kisses with Almonds, Hugs (mini-Kisses enrobed in white chocolate), Dark Chocolate Kisses, and Caramel Kisses, and kisses released seasonally wrapped in colored foil. Over 12 billion Kisses are sold annually.

Hershey’s Kisses Virtual Slideshow Kisses’ History Wikipedia: Hershey Foods Corporation
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