Milton Hershey Accomplishments: from Chocolate Pioneer to Philanthropic Legacy

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Do you ever wonder what life would be without milk chocolate? Milton Hershey created the first milk chocolate recipe in America! He also created a lot of other amazing things like Hershey Park, a school, and a whole town! Milton Snavely Hershey was born on September 13, 1857, on a farm called Homestead, located in Hagersville, P.A. His parents were Henry and Veronica (Fanny) Hershey. He also had a sister named Serena. As a child, Milton’s family was poor and never had much money.

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Early Life and Major Accomplishments

In 1872, when he was 13, Milton’s mom applied him for a job with Joseph R. Royer. Royer owned an ice cream parlor in Lancaster called “Royer’s Ice Cream Parlor and Garden.” Royer’s shop also sold candy. Here, Milton was taught how to make hundreds of types of candy. Milton loved it!

The Rise, Fall, and Achievements of a Candy Maker

Once he was 18, Milton learned a lot and felt ready to start a business of his own. Only there was one problem. Milton didn’t have enough money. After borrowing $150 from his mother’s family, he started his own taffy shop in Philadelphia, P.A. He felt good running his own business. Milton was a hard worker but didn’t make much money. After a few years, Milton’s business failed. Milton felt ashamed, so in 1882 he set off to Denver. Once in Denver, he found another job as a candy maker. The candy maker taught Milton how to make caramels. These caramels contained a substance called paraffin (a waxy substance used in candies, medicine, and makeup). But, one day, Milton learned a secret recipe that used fresh milk instead of paraffin. It made them stay fresh longer. It also made his caramel delicious!

Now that he had so much knowledge, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, to start his own caramel business. But it didn’t last very long. In 1883 Hershey moved to NYC, New York. At day he worked for a candy maker, and at night he worked himself, making his own caramels. But the business was slow. In 1886, Milton moved back to Lancaster to start over one more time.

Once in Pennsylvania, he started a company called the Lancaster Caramel Company. In 1887 an Englishman visiting Lancaster came to Hershey’s shop and tried the caramels. He loved them! So he offered to introduce the caramels to people in London. Except, there was just one problem. This would mean he had to produce more caramels than ever! To be able to make more caramel, Hershey would need more factories.

In order to get more factories, he needed money, so he went to the bank and got a loan. He went back to work, but when his loan came due, he had not yet finished filling orders for London, so he went to the bank and told them his ideas for the business. They loved his idea and thought he would be very successful. So they lent him some more money. Once he was paid for his caramels, he paid off his debts. People loved his caramels; by the 1890s, Hershey had finally succeeded in being a candy maker!

Hershey knew that chocolate was kind of expensive. He enjoyed chocolate and wanted everyone to be able to. So he used his money to buy German chocolate machines, put them in his factory, and got to work trying to figure out a milk chocolate recipe. The recipe was a guarded secret in Europe, so there were no recipes to follow! He moved his equipment to Homestead so he could work in secret. He worked for years.

Creating a Legacy: Hershey, Pennsylvania and Philanthropy

Finally, after countless attempts, Milton Hershey was the first American to create a milk chocolate recipe! In 1900 the, Hershey’s milk chocolate bar was introduced. The chocolate bar only cost five cents. But, they spoiled quickly, so they were only sold in Lancaster. Eventually, his company perfected the recipe. Soon the chocolate bars were able to be sold all around the world. He realized that he was more interested in chocolates than caramels, so in August 1900, he sold the Lancaster Caramel company for $1 million. In those days, that was a lot of money!

He had so much money, so he decided to start a chocolate town, which is now known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. Here he had many things. One was a school for poor boys. At this school, they gave the boys everything they needed, toys, clothes, food, etc. He also had a hotel. But, this hotel was specially made. Milton put in the hotel because he wanted to give people jobs during the great depression. He hired as many people as he could and paid them more than usual to build the hotel. Another thing in this town was an amazing amusement park that he designed (Hershey Park). I think Milton Hershey was so generous because he knew how it felt to be poor because he was poor when he was younger.


  1. Mattern, Joanne. Milton Hershey: Hershey’s Chocolate Creator. Edina, Minnesota, US: ABDO, 2011. Print.
  2. Kracz, Chuck. (2002). Milton S. Hershey: Chocolate King, Town Builder. Morgan Reynolds Pub.
  3. D’Antonio, Michael. (2006). Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams. Simon & Schuster.
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Milton Hershey Accomplishments: From Chocolate Pioneer to Philanthropic Legacy. (2023, Aug 18). Retrieved from