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15 Sweet Facts About Hershey’s

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Everyone knows what their favorite Hershey’s product is, but there are a few things that you might not know about Milton Hershey's company, the largest manufacturer of chocolate in North America.

1. THE HERSHEY EMPIRE IS BUILT ON A FOURTH-GRADE EDUCATION. 

The Hershey family moved around a lot when Milton was a kid, which meant that he frequently changed schools. After Hershey finished the fourth grade, his parents decided that it was time for the young man to learn a trade. He began an apprenticeship with a printer but hated it, and in 1872 he began working for a confectioner in Lancaster, Penn. 

2. MILTON HERSHEY'S FIRST LOVE WAS CARAMEL.

In 1876, Milton Hershey went to Philadelphia and used what he learned as a confectioner’s apprentice to start his first business, Crystal A. Caramels. When this venture failed, Hershey found another apprenticeship in Denver. After regrouping out West, he started a second company in New York City, which also failed. Hershey then returned home and turned his third venture, the Lancaster Caramel Company, into a global juggernaut with over 1400 employees.

3. HE BECAME INTERESTED IN CHOCOLATE AFTER THE 1893 WORLD'S FAIR.

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It wasn’t until 17 years after he opened his first failed caramel company that Hershey became interested in chocolate making. While attending the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Hershey was so taken with the display of German chocolate production that he bought the exhibit’s machinery after the exposition closed. The next year, he opened the Hershey Chocolate Company back in Lancaster. The new venture was such a success that in 1900 Hershey sold his caramel company for $1 million to devote himself to chocolate. 

4. THE COMPANY ONCE MADE GUM.

Milton Hershey wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with rival companies. When he believed that Beech Nut Gum was going to start making chocolate to put him out of business, he put his cousin Clayton Snavely in charge of buying the equipment and gathering the know-how to get his company’s gum off the ground. Hershey’s “Easy Chew” was introduced in 1915, but Hershey had trouble getting sugar and chicle (a natural gum) due to import restrictions placed on non-essential products. Easy Chew last appeared on store shelves in 1924.

5. NO ONE KNOWS HOW KISSES GOT THEIR NAME—NOT EVEN THE COMPANY.

The Hershey Food Corporation still holds the trademark for “KISSES,” which hit the market in 1907, but don’t ask it what the name means—Milton Hershey took that secret to his grave. “A popular theory is that the candy was named for the sound or motion of the chocolate being deposited during manufacturing,” reads the timeline on the official KISSES website

6. HERSHEY'S KISSES USED TO BE WRAPPED BY HAND.

The machines that wrap the individual bell-shaped chocolates in foil with their signature plumes weren't developed until 1921, 14 years after the sweets were introduced. 

7. THE TOWN OF HERSHEY WAS BUILT FOR THE EMPLOYEES OF THE FACTORY.

As a successful business owner with a lot of workers, Milton Hershey believed that in order for his company to thrive, his employees had to be happy. He designed and built the model town to be a community, with brick houses and lawns, and also established what is now Hersheypark so that the families would have a place for recreation.

8. THE COMPANY'S LOGO USED TO BE A BABY INSIDE A COCOA BEAN.

For seven decades, the image that chocolate lovers associated with Hershey’s was the “Cocoa Bean Baby.” Introduced in 1898, the tot would appear on packaging and in advertisements, until the company became the Hershey Food Corporation in 1968. 

9. THE TITANIC ALMOST SANK THE COMPANY.

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Hershey and his wife, Kitty, had tickets to board the Titanic on its maiden voyage, but something made them return home instead. There are two versions of the history floating around: Either Kitty was sick, or Milton had business that kept him at home. Either way, the ship left the docks without them, and we all know how that ended. 

10. THE NAME “MR. GOODBAR” WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING.

Rhiannon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

As plant chemist (and later President) Samuel Hinkle later recounted, the company was looking to add a peanut product to their line in the 1920s. While executives were thinking of a name, someone said that the new product was “a good bar.” Milton Hershey was hard of hearing and thought that the exec had said “Mr. Goodbar.” He liked the name, so it stuck.

11. HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE IS PART OF UNITED STATES MILITARY HISTORY.

mhiguera, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In 1937, the chocolate maker met with representatives from the U.S. Army and began experimenting with ration bars that could withstand combat conditions and would taste “a little better than a boiled potato” so troops wouldn’t be tempted to prematurely wolf them down. The Field Ration D bars weren’t a hit with soldiers, but they met the government’s specifications. Between 1941 and 1945, Hershey produced over one billion of the bars. 

12. HEAT-RESISTANT HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE HAS BEEN TO THE MOON.

Mike Barry, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

After the success of the Ration D bar, Hershey worked with the military again to create a heat-resistant “Hershey's Tropical Chocolate Bar.” The bars lasted up to an hour in 120 degree temperatures, and were given to hungry soldiers entering warmer climates. In 1971, the bars were given to astronauts aboard Apollo 15.

13. THERE IS A KISS HIDDEN IN THE HERSHEY'S KISSES LOGO.

If you saw our list of “11 More Hidden Messages in Company Logos,” then you know this already. There is absolutely a sideways KISS hiding between the “K” and “I” in KISSES. Now you’ll never be able to unsee it. 

14. THE COMPANY HOLDS THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR THE “WORLD'S LARGEST PIECE OF CHOCOLATE.”

As a part of their 100th anniversary celebration for the treat in 2007, Hershey’s made a giant KISS that weighed over 30,000 pounds. It took a team of 152 people nine days to construct the 12-foot-tall sculpture and wrap it in over 16,000 feet of foil. 

15. Hershey is the largest buyer of almonds in North America. 

Rhiannon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

With products like Almond Joy, Hershey’s Nuggets, Hershey’s Pieces with Almonds, and Hershey’s Kisses White Chocolate with almonds, the company keeps California’s almond planters plenty busy.

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8 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
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[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next year of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. While the show hasn't been officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix yet, new details have already begun to trickle out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Talking to Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

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Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?
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Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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