Monday, June 7, 2010


Franklin Clarence Mars (September 24, 1883 – April 8, 1934), was the founder of the American company Mars, Incorporated, which makes mostly chocolate candy.  Mars, Inc is best known for its confectionary brands like SNICKERS®, M&M’s®, MILKY WAY® and MALTESERS®.

Franklin C. Mars was a victim of polio as a child and couldn't run around like most kids. Instead, he helped his mother in the kitchen. Fortunately for the world, his mother loved to make different types of candy.Frank’s mother kept him entertained by allowing him to hand-dip chocolates Frank learned candy making very young and by the time he was a young man, Frank Mars knew what he wanted for his future. . At age 19 Frank started a candy business and married Ethel G. Kissack. Soon the couple had a son, Forrest Edward Mars. Unfortunately the marriage would ultimately fail.

In 1910 Frank remarried to Ethel V. Healy. The next year the Mars family began to make butter cream candy from their home and would soon rent their first candy factory. The Mars Candy Factory, Inc. employed 125 workers in Tacoma, Washington and sold candy to 5 and 10 cent stores along the Pacific coast. Since there was no refrigeration, candy has to be made and delivered in the same day.

The company moved to a larger factory in Minneapolis, named the "Nougat House," in 1920. Soon after the move, Mars Candy changed its name to MAR-O-BAR. The actual MAR-O-BAR, the company’s latest creation, proved to be too fragile to withstand transportation. This failure led to the great success of the first MILKY WAY® candy bar in 1923. With the help of the new chocolate malted milk bar, annual sales increased from less than $100,000 to $793,000. The company hired a full-time sales staff.

Dropping the name MAR-O-BAR to Mars, Inc., moved a second time to Chicago. Chicago’s railway system allowed candy, including the new SNICKERS® bar, to be distributed to locations across the country.

He created the Snickers bar on February 4, 1930. He and his wife Ethel, settled on naming the candy bar Snickers after one of the family's favorite race horses that had died only a month before. Thus, the Snickers candy bar was named after a race horse.

Frank and Ethel's oldest son Forrest did not approve of his father's business sense. He wanted to mass market the Mars candy bars all over the world. Frank refused saying he wanted to stay an American Candy Company.In the 1930s, Frank gave Forrest the formula for MILKY WAY® and $50,000 to start his own candy business as issues between the two could not be reconciled. Forrest started the first international branch of Mars, called Mars Limited, in Slough, UK. With so little money he bought used equipment, acquired a small factory and was assisted by four employees. The MILKY WAY® recipe was adapted to suit European taste and the first MARS® Bar was born. When Frank Mars died in 1934, his son merged the American and UK Mars companies together to form an international enterprise.


The 1940s also saw the creation of M&M's®. Joining an 80/20 partnership with the Hershey Corporation, Forrest established M&M Limited, which would later become M&M Candies, while back in the United States. M&M® was named for the last names of Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie. Bruce, the son of Hershey executive William Murray, agreed to provide chocolate, sugar, technology and some capital. The first M&M’s® were produced in 1914, packaged in a paper tube to prevent melting in warm weather. The candy was originally made with brown, yellow, orange, red, green and violet (later replaced by tan) shells.
M&M's® became very popular with soldiers because of their ability to withstand warm temperatures. During World War II, M&M's® were added to soldiers’ C-Rations. After the war Mars bought out Murrie to become the sole owner of the M&M® brand. In 1945 the new slogan, "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand," was introduced. To set M&M’s® apart from imposter candies, Mars began to print a small "m" on each piece in the 1954. The world famous M&M® characters made their debut in the same year. To celebrate the launch of the blue M&M® in 1995, the Empire State Building featured blue lighting. In the year 2000 M&M’s® were named “The Official Candy of the New Millennium” since the numerical value of MM is 2000.
Today the Mars company has become a billion dollar success that now sells Pedigree dog food and Uncle Ben's rice, as well as other fantastic goodies. The Mars family is one of the oldest manufacturing families in this country, they still own 100% of Frank and Ethel's confectionery dream.

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