Who Invented The Original Mint Chocolate Chip Patty?

On August 22, 1966, Charles Schulz introduced Peppermint Patty to the lineup of Peanuts characters. When the York Peppermint Pattie candy became a nationally distributed brand in 1975, it led many people to wonder: Who actually invented the concept of a peppermint patty? In reality, it was the Quiggins family of Ireland who, in the 1840s, first coined the idea of sweet peppermint enrobed in a silky layer of chocolate; however, Henry C. Kessler takes the credit for making the candy we know and love today. Kessler's version of the confection was created to have a firm and crisp texture, as opposed to competitors of his time, who's candy had gooey insides.

Kessler's journey in the world of candy began in 1920 when he opened the York Cone Company in York, Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, the business was initially created with a focus on ice cream cones. Displeased with the consistencies of peppermint and chocolate candies on the market during the era, Kessler sought to expand his cone company with the inclusion of the ideal chocolate peppermints. By 1940, York Peppermint Patties hit the consumer scene — but only locally at first.

Before long, the people of York made the patty a sensation, and Kessler opted to retire his production of ice cream cones in order to prioritize the peppermint confections. In fact, he took the texture and consistency of the patty so seriously that each batch of patties was subjected to a snap test — if a sample patty didn't cleanly break down the center, it was not to be sold.

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After branching out from York, Pennsylvania, the York Peppermint Pattie began to be distributed in other states like Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. By 1975, the York company was acquired by Peter Paul, and the patties graduated to nationwide sales and distribution. Paul popularized the candy even further with the slogan, "Get the Sensation," which became synonymous with the confection's cool and refreshing flavors.

In 1978, Paul merged the company with Cadbury for $27.50 per share, totaling $58 million (a number closer to $273 million today). The patties remained under Cadbury until 1988 when Hershey acquired Cadbury's U.S. operations. Hershey has had the rights to the patty ever since, and it can be enjoyed throughout the company's self-titled theme park in Pennsylvania; in fact, children are able to meet and take a picture with a York Peppermint Pattie costume-clad character inside the park.

On an interesting note, the candy has come full circle, as Hershey is located only about an hour away from York, Pennsylvania — the small town where the peppermint patty we know and love was first born.