Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

candy bar, an iconic confectionery form consisting of chocolate and other ingredients, is the sweet by-product of two intertwined and indomitable forces: the Industrial Revolution and capitalism. For most of its history, chocolate was prohibitively expensive, mostly consumed in a liquid form and almost exclusively by the aristocracy. But several European innovations of the mid-nineteenth century changed all that. In 1847 the English confectioner Joseph Fry came up with the idea of creating a moldable paste of cocoa powder, sugar, and cacao butter. His discovery was followed by Henri Nestlé’s creation of the first bar of milk chocolate and Rodolphe Lindt’s invention of conching, a process that makes chocolate creamier. See cocoa; lindt, rodolphe; and nestlé. In 1893 American confectioner Milton Hershey saw a conching machine on display and immediately purchased it. Following in the footsteps of Cadbury and other European pioneers, Hershey—considered by Americans the godfather of the candy bar—began to mass-produce and distribute milk chocolate bars in 1905. See cadbury; hershey, milton s.; and hershey’s.