Milton Hershey

chocolatier, philanthropist
Born: 9/13/1857
Birthplace: Derry Township, Pa.

His aspirations for a formal education quashed by grade four, Hershey apprenticed to a confectioner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania then opened his own shop in Philadelphia. After a brief foray into caramels, he sold the Lancaster-based caramel business to focus on chocolate in 1900, building a factory in 1903. He produced five-cent chocolate bars that became quite popular, nearly synonymous with American chocolate. Years later, the firm would use that distinction in its tag line, “the great American chocolate bar.” But Hershey was more than a chocolatier; his efforts to attract and maintain talented workers led him to create an eponymous “company town,” complete with stores, schools, and its own amusement park. He built a trade school for orphan boys in 1909, and continued building even through the Depression. He left his fortune to charities.

Died: 10/13/1945