H. B. Reese

Harry Burnett "H. B." Reese (May 24, 1879 – May 16, 1956) was an American inventor and businessman known for creating the No. 1 selling candy brand in the United States, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups[1] and founding the H.B. Reese Candy Company.[2] In 2009, he was posthumously inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame.[3]

H. B. Reese
H. B. Reese
Photo of H.B. Reese
Harry Burnett Reese

May 24, 1879
DiedMay 16, 1956 (aged 76)
Resting placeHershey Cemetery, Hershey, PA
Other namesHB, Harry Reese, Poppy Reese, Mr. Reese's
Known forInventing Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Net worthapprox. $1.8 Billion USD
TitleFounder and Chairman of the Board, H.B. Reese Candy Company, Hershey, PA
Blanche Edna Hyson (m. 1900)

Early life

H.B. Reese was born on May 24, 1879 on the Frosty Hill Farm, an agricultural and dairy farm located near the Muddy Creek Forks Historic District in York County, Pennsylvania.[2] He was the only child of Annie Belinda Manifold (1854–1935) and Aquilla Asbury Reese Jr. (1845–1914). When it came to earning money as a young man, Reese was creative. He farmed the land, but also milked cows because doing so was a quick way to earn cash. He even built a pond where he raised frogs that he sold to restaurants in the Baltimore area. By 1898, Reese was an accomplished French horn player who performed with local area bands.[4]

Marriage and family

On August 1, 1900 Reese married Blanche Edna Hyson (1882–1968), the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Markey (1857–1952) and Robert Bortner Hyson (1853–1930). Together they had 16 children, 8 daughters and 8 sons (13 of whom survived to adulthood).[5]

A true family man, Reese's mother Annie Belinda Manifold (1854–1935) as well as her two sisters, Elizabeth Turner Manifold (1846-1910) and Mary Collins Manifold (1847-1933), lived with him for the rest of their lives. At least 20 family members were present during a typical Reese family supper and sometimes more than 40 people were present when friends and relatives were invited to join them.[4]

Early career

By 1903, Reese was managing the fishing operations of his father-in-law’s cannery business located in Ditchley, Virginia. In 1912 he managed a dairy farm in Woodbine, Pennsylvania, but took a factory job in New Freedom, Pennsylvania in 1915 to support his growing family.[6]

Dairy manager for Mr. Hershey

In 1916, Reese read an employment ad in the York Daily Record by Milton S. Hershey seeking to hire people to manage and operate his numerous dairy farms that were located in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area. In 1917, Hershey hired Reese to work as a dairyman at Farm 28-A. In 1918, Hershey asked Reese to manage a dairy farm called the Round Barn. Milton Hershey visited the Round Barn every two weeks because it was an experimental dairy farm that used new milking machines (more efficient than milking cows by hand) as he sought new approaches to animal treatment and milk production. However by 1919, Hershey found the Round Barn too expensive to operate and closed it down.[6]

Early candy ventures

R&R Candy Company

Jobless in 1919, Reese formed a new business called the R&R Candy Company that he operated from an old canning factory located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania where he manufactured milk chocolate covered almonds and raisins, selling them to local stores.[7]

Superior Chocolate and Confectionery Company

Reese knew he needed high-quality manufacturing equipment in order to boost the potential of his Hummelstown, Pennsylvania candy business. So in January, 1920 he reorganized the R&R Candy Company as the Superior Chocolate and Confectionery Company and proceeded to raise today's equivalent of $290,000 by issuing stock in the newly formed company. A State charter for the new company was issued on May 14, 1920 with the following company officers:[8]

  • President: Joseph Burkholder
  • Secretary: E. M. Hershey
  • Treasurer: J. Landis Strickler
  • Manager: Harry B. Reese

Nonetheless, the business ultimately failed.[9]

Under pressure to support his 10-children with yet another baby on the way, Reese took a paper mill job in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he worked a second job as a butcher and also a third job canning vegetables.[7]

Hershey factory employee

In 1921, Reese's father-in-law purchased a home at 18 E. Areba Avenue in Hershey, Pennsylvania for his son-in-law's growing family. With his return to Hershey, Reese began working at The Hershey Company factory in the shipping department and was soon promoted to foreman.[9]

On the side, working from the basement of his Areba Avenue home, he made a variety of confectionery products including hard candy, chocolate covered nuts and raisins, mint (candy) as well as two popular milk chocolate covered caramel-coconut candy bars that he invented:[10]

  1. The Lizzie Bar named for his oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth.
  2. And the Johnny Bar named for his son, John, who worked alongside his father in The Hershey Company shipping department.

The ingredients for both bars included fresh grated coconut, caramel, molasses, cocoa butter and honey. The main difference between the two bars was that the Johnny Bar had nuts as an ingredient. From the very beginning, Reese used chocolate manufactured by The Hershey Company for his chocolate coatings.[11]

Reese enjoyed enough success to finally quit his factory job at The Hershey Company and set out on his own to "make a living" manufacturing candy.[6]

H.B. Reese Candy Company

Reese incorporated the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1923. Selling a large assortment of candies on consignment, his employees coated by hand each piece of candy on marble slabs, some coated with milk chocolate and others with dark chocolate that were placed in two-pound and five-pound boxes that were sold in department store candy displays. To promote sales, Reese set up special coating tables in the front display windows of large, downtown department stores and had his employees coat candies in full view of shoppers passing by while other employees handed out freshly made samples.[12]

Here's a brief list of the candy initially manufactured by the H.B. Reese Candy Company. They were made with ingredients such as real cocoa butter, fresh cream, fresh grated coconut and freshly roasted peanuts:[4]

Butter cream Marshmallow
Butterscotch Marshmallow-Nut*
Chocolate Jets* Nougat*
Coated Dates* Nuttees*
Coconut Caramel* Peanut Butter Cups*
Coconut Cream* Peanut Clusters*
Cream Caramel Peppermint Cream*
Honey Dew Coconut* Raisin Clusters*

Note: *These 12-candies were sold in five-pound boxes during the holiday season.[4]

Borrowing money from a York County, Pennsylvania bank in 1926, Reese built a large home and a new factory that were located next to each other at 203-205 W Caracas Ave in Hershey, Pennsylvania. By 1935, he had 62 employees as well as his 6 sons working for him and was so successful that he was able to pay off all his mortgages.[13]

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

By 1928, H.B. (Poppy Reese) and Blanche (Mommy Reese) had sixteen children. That same year, H.B. Reese invented Reese's Peanut Butter Cups which became part of his assorted chocolate line.[9]

How H.B. Reese Invented Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

"In late 1927, H.B. was delivering some of his candy to a store in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Bluebird Candy Shop. The owner of the shop was having problems with another supplier who could not keep him supplied with a candy made of peanut butter covered with chocolate. He asked H.B. if he could supply him with something like that. H.B. saw an opportunity and with considerable persistence, seized it. H.B. originally rolled the peanut butter into a small ball and dipped it into chocolate; the peanut butter manufacturing process was easy to automate, and the cup was used to help that process, since it provided a small compartment for each item. The candy was quickly added to the assortment box in 1928."[4]

The Success of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Soon the company was packaging 120 individually wrapped pieces per box that sold for a penny per cup. The penny peanut butter cup was the candy that helped Reese pay off the mortgages on both his house and factory by 1935. This was especially noteworthy since the United States was still in the grip of the Great Depression and chocolate was considered a luxury.[4]

During World War II, economic constraints and scarcity of materials led him to discontinue his other candies and concentrate solely on his Peanut butter cup, his most popular offering.

Throughout the war, Reese built his company based on the success of a single product, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And instead of selling the product by weight, peanut butter cups were packaged for retail sale with each candy wrapper prominently displaying the slogan: "Made in Chocolate Town, So They Must Be Good". Additionally in 1943, the five-cent cup was introduced and as packaging machine and plant automation were placed into production, the sales of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups doubled every four years.[14]

Before H.B. Reese died in 1956, he began construction of a second plant located at 925 Reese Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Completed on November 30, 1957, this new modern plant contained 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art manufacturing technology built at a cost equivalent of $6.9 million at a time when the sales of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were equivalent to $125 million.[15]


After a short illness, H.B. Reese died of a Myocardial infarction[16] on May 16, 1956 at the St. Mary's Medical Center located in West Palm Beach, Florida (where Reese had been vacationing). His residence at the time of his death was located at 630 Linden Road, Hershey, PA.


On July 2, 1963 (seven years after the death of H.B. Reese), when the sales of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were equivalent to $243 million, his sons Robert, John, Ed, Ralph, Harry and Charles Richard Reese, merged the H.B. Reese Candy Company with The Hershey Company in a tax free stock-for-stock merger. In 2018 after 55 years of stock splits, the Reese brothers' original 666,316 shares of Hershey common stock represent 16 million Hershey shares valued at over $1.8 billion that pay annual cash dividends of $46 million.[17][18] At the time of its 1963 merger, the H.B. Reese Candy Company was celebrating its 40th Anniversary and had just added 200,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity to its 925 Reese Avenue, Hershey, PA plant.[8] In 1969, only 6 years after the Reese/Hershey merger, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups became the best-selling product of The Hershey Company.[9]

As of September 20, 2012, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were the No. 1 selling candy brand in the United States with sales of $2.603 billion.[1] Furthermore back in 1973, the non-union H.B. Reese Candy Company plant added yet another 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space in order to begin production of the Kit Kat for sale in the United States[8] which had 2012 U.S. sales of $948 million, making Kit Kat the No. 4 selling candy brand in the United States.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Snickers Surging to Top of Global Candy Race". Ad Age. September 20, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups". Brad Reese Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Harry Burnett "H.B." Reese Inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 2009". NCSA National Confectionary Sales Association: Candy Hall of Fame Inductees. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: the Untold Story: Inventor, H.B. Reese. iUniverse. November 19, 2008. p. 108. ISBN 9780595608041. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Fascinating Rise Of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups". Business Insider. June 30, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Reese Candy Company". Hershey Community Archives. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "H.B. Reese Made A Sweet Business Out Of Quality Candy". Investor's Business Daily. January 21, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "H.B. Reese Chronology". Hershey Community Archives. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "Was it Hershey or Reese That Made Peanut Butter Cups Great?". Atlas Obscura. October 27, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "11 Delicious Facts About Reese's". Mental Floss Magazine. March 22, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "10 Things You Never Knew and Should Know About Reese's". Spoon University Food Resource. March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "7 Things You Never Knew About Reese's, Straight From an Employee". POPSUGAR. August 20, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "The History of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups". Today I Found Out. June 5, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "Made in Hershey, So It Must Be Good: H.B. Reese Candy Company". Hershey Community Archives. September 15, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  15. ^ "The H.B. Reese Candy Company Story". Lebanon Daily News. June 9, 1956. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "H. B. Reese". NNDB. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "The 1963 Reese/Hershey Merger Closing Agenda" (PDF). BradReeseCom. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "Hershey Declares Quarterly Dividends". Market Watch. July 26, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.

External links

Derry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

Derry Township is a township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 24,679 at the 2010 census, up from 21,273 at the 2000 census. Hershey, the site of the well-known Hershey's chocolate factory and its affiliated amusement park, are located within the township. Pennsylvania State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital are also located on a large tract of land in the township.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Derry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States. Hershey's chocolates are made in Hershey, which was founded by candy magnate Milton S. Hershey.

The community is located 14 miles (23 km) east of Harrisburg and is part of the Harrisburg−Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area. Hershey has no legal status as an incorporated municipality, and all its municipal services are provided by Derry Township. The population was 14,257 at the 2010 census.It is popularly called "Chocolatetown, USA". Hershey is also referred to as "The Sweetest Place on Earth".

Hershey Trust Company

The Hershey Trust Company is a United States corporation incorporated on April 28, 1905, by Milton S. Hershey, Harry Lebkicher and John E. Snyder. The company is majority owner of The Hershey Company and sole private owner of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company and administrator of the 2,000 student Milton Hershey School. It manages the $13.751 Billion USD (2015) endowment of the Milton Hershey School and School Trust.

Kit Kat

Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer bar confection created by Rowntree's of York, United Kingdom, and is now produced globally by Nestlé, which acquired Rowntree in 1988, and closed it in 2006, with the exception of the United States where it is made under license by H.B. Reese Candy Company, a division of The Hershey Company. The standard bars consist of two or four pieces composed of three layers of wafer, separated and covered by an outer layer of chocolate. Each finger can be snapped from the bar separately. There are many different flavours of Kit Kat, including milk, white, and dark chocolate.

List of chocolatiers

This is a list of notable chocolatiers. A chocolatier is a person who makes confectionery from chocolate. Chocolatiers are distinct from chocolate makers, who create chocolate from cacao beans and other ingredients.

List of people from Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, the fifth most populous state in the United States, is the birthplace or childhood home of many famous Americans. People from Pennsylvania are called "Pennsylvanians".

The following is a list of notable Americans who were born and/or lived a significant portion of their lives, in Pennsylvania, along with their primary Pennsylvania city or town of residence.

List of top-selling candy brands

The table below summarizes some of the top-selling candy brands in different countries. Candy is a confection that features sugar as a principal listing life line for an example of an ingredient. The category, called sugar confectionery, encompasses any sweet confection, including chocolate, chewing gum, and sugar candy. Vegetables, fruit, or nuts which have been glazed and coated with sugar are said to be candied.

May 16

May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 229 days remaining until the end of the year.

May 24

May 24 is the 144th day of the year (145th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 221 days remaining until the end of the year.

Peanut butter cup

A peanut butter cup is a molded chocolate candy with a peanut butter filling inside. Peanut butter cups are one of the most popular kinds of candy confection in America. They can be made at home, but like most candies, they are commonly mass-produced. They may also be available in candy shops, produced by local or regional candymakers.

The diameter, thickness, and the relative proportion of its two major components vary according to the desires of the maker. Any type of chocolate may be used for the shell, but milk chocolate is most common. Fillings are usually smooth, creamy peanut butter, but crunchy peanut butter, or peanut butter mixed with other flavors, is also used.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are an American candy consisting of a milk, white, or dark chocolate cup filled with peanut butter, marketed by The Hershey Company. They were created by H. B. Reese, a former dairy farmer and shipping foreman for Milton S. Hershey. Reese left his job as a shipping foreman for The Hershey Company to start his own candy business.

Reese's Sticks

Reese's Sticks, formerly called "ReeseSticks," are wafers filled with peanut butter and covered in milk chocolate. First introduced in 1998, they are manufactured by The Hershey Company and are currently still available. They are sold in pairs, similar to Twix and two finger Kit Kat bars.

The fact that ReeseSticks digressed from the normal Reese's naming pattern was pointed out by Paul Lukas in his zine Beer Frame. As Lukas noted, even though the official name was Reese Sticks, most people he casually surveyed pronounced it unknowingly as Reese's Sticks. In 2009, Hershey's changed the name officially to Reese's Sticks.

They highly resemble Nutty Bars by McKee Foods.

They are banned in Norway because of the use of genetically modified additives.

Reese (name)

Reese is an anglicised spelling of the Welsh name Rhys.

Skylon Tower

The Skylon Tower, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is an observation tower that overlooks both the American Falls, New York, and the larger Horseshoe Falls, Ontario, from the Canadian side of the Niagara River.

The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, (known until April 2005 as the Hershey Foods Corporation) commonly called Hershey's, is an American company and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. It also manufactures baked products, such as cookies, cakes, milk shake, drinks and many more,

which increase its variety of range. Its headquarters are in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is also home to Hersheypark and Hershey's Chocolate World. It was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as the Hershey Chocolate Company, a subsidiary of his Lancaster Caramel Company. The Hershey Trust Company owns a minority stake, but retains a majority of the voting power within the company.Hershey's chocolate is available across the United States, and in over 60 countries worldwide. They have three mega distribution centers, with modern technology and labor management systems. In addition, Hershey is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation. It is also associated with the Hersheypark Stadium and the Giant Center.

York County, Pennsylvania

York County is a county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 434,972. Its county seat is York. The county was created on August 19, 1749, from part of Lancaster County and named either after the Duke of York, an early patron of the Penn family, or for the city and shire of York in England.

York County comprises the York-Hanover, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, Pennsylvania Combined Statistical Area. It is in the Susquehanna Valley, a large fertile agricultural region in South Central Pennsylvania.

Based on the Articles of Confederation having been adopted in York by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, the local government and business community began referring to York in the 1960s as the first capital of the United States of America. The designation has been debated by historians ever since. Congress considered York, and the borough of Wrightsville, on the eastern side of York County along the Susquehanna River, as a permanent capital of the United States before Washington, D.C., was selected.

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