Hershey's Chocolate Kisses Have Been Around Longer Than You Might Expect

Hershey's kisses today are the quintessential Valentine's Day chocolate, but February isn't the only time these little desserts shine. According to Hersheyland, the chocolate company makes 70 million kisses every single day, and demand for these treats is perhaps one of the reasons Hershey's finances were stronger than anticipated in 2020. According to YouGovAmerica, Hershey's kisses are the 10th most popular food and snack brand in the country, with 77% of people surveyed enjoying the chocolates.

Perhaps one of the most impressive things about Hershey's kisses, however, is not their popularity today, but their longevity as a staple American snack. In 1989, three years after red and silver wrappers were introduced for Valentine's Day, the chocolates were the fifth most popular candy in the U.S., according to Everybody Craves. Of course, today's kisses offer an array of patterned wrappers to celebrate Halloween, Easter, and fall, Time shares, but those are relatively recent releases.

But if you think that's old-school, you may be surprised to learn just how far back Hershey's kisses go.

Hershey's kisses were invented in 1907

While Hershey's kisses are still a popular sweet treat today, they go back as far as the beginning of the 20th century. Back in 1907, the Hershey Chocolate Company produced its first-ever kisses in Derry, Pennsylvania, according to Hersheyland. The company wasn't the first to ever create a drop-shaped chocolate candy, however — in 1894, the Wilbur Bud was made by pouring melted chocolate into a mold, which then cooled and solidified (via Penn State). Hershey's made a similar chocolate, but really enhanced the process and made it available to produce commercially.

According to Time, Hershey's began using the same mass-production processes for its kisses that it was already using for its milk chocolate bars. And, while the Wilbur Buds didn't have any wrapping, Hershey's introduced individual foil coatings so that people could carry the chocolates around without them melting. Then, in 1921, Hershey's invented a machine to wrap its kisses automatically, thus speeding up the process even more. Three years later, it received a registered trademark for the paper identification strip with its name (via Everybody Craves).

Hershey's did take an almost six-year hiatus from producing kisses during World War II when aluminum was rationed. But it was back up and running in 1947, and hasn't stopped since (via Hersheyland).