You Probably Didn't Know This Connection Between Hershey's And The Titanic

Food and history are so interconnected, and we love that Hershey's candy bars have played such a prominent role since its creation as a subsidiary of the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1894 (via The Hershey Company). Its founder, Milton Hershey, really made what was once considered a luxury into a special treat that anyone could enjoy with the creation of his brand and we are so glad he did. Where would be without our Mr. Goodbars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Jolly Ranchers? If you are thinking, "Scary question," we agree. Little did the creator know the important role he and his company would play in World War II, creating a chocolate bar that was dubbed Ration D bar for the United States military. They even created the Hershey's Tropical Chocolate to survive in the heat so those who were stationed in tropical areas could enjoy this taste of home (via Hershey's Archives). 

Needless to say, Hershey and his brand played a pivotal role in WWII and received a total of 5 Army-Navy 'E' awards for their support — quite the honor and accomplishment. However, that may not have been the case if the founder of Hershey's had been a part of another historical event that ended in tragedy. But before you read any further, you may want to grab your favorite Hershey bar of choice.

Milton Hershey was almost a passenger on the Titanic

Per PennLive, the RMS Titanic — the unsinkable ship — sank near Newfoundland, Canada, just four days into its fateful journey on April 15, 1912. And guess who was supposed to have been a passenger? None other than Milton Hershey. As the story goes, Hershey and his wife, Catherine, were in Nice, France for the winter and this ship that had been talked about so much in the press was setting sail for the U.S. around the time that Hershey needed to be back in the States for business. Hershey apparently wrote a check to White Star Lines for $300 in December 1911 as a deposit for what would have been his state room.

But as fate would have it, Hershey's business needed him back sooner than originally expected, forcing him to forgo being a passenger on the RMS Titanic's maiden voyage. He instead caught a ride on the Amerika, a German liner. Pam Whitenack, the director of the Hershey Community Archives spoke to PennLive about the change of plans. "It wasn't anything life or death or catastrophic to the business, just something came up that required his attention," she shared. She also acknowledged that all things "essentially Hershey" would probably not have happened without his leadership.