Whitman’s Chocolate Timeline

1842 Stephen F. Whitman opens a small retail "confectionery and fruiterer shop" at Third and Market Streets in Philadelphia. He hopes to compete with the finer French candy makers of the time.
1854 Choice Mixed Sugar Plums from Stephen F. Whitman becomes the first packaged confection in a printed, marked box-now known as a "trademarked" package.
1860 Whitman's first newspaper advertisement, a novelty during the era, appears on December 29th — three months prior to the beginning of The Civil War.
1866 Whitman, needing more space for his candy making operation, moves to 12th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. The company begins to wholesale its confections to other merchants in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. These products are primarily bulk items retailed under dealers' store names.
1869 Stephen's son, Horace, joins his father in the candy making business.
1876 Whitman's is awarded a bronze medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition for product excellence.
1877 Whitman's Instantaneous Chocolate, its first of many famous tin-boxed chocolates, is introduced to the public.
1878 Whitman's receives an award at the Paris International Exposition for product excellence.
1880 The Whitman's building at 12th and Market Streets is destroyed by fire.
1888 Horace F. Whitman succeeds his father as president of the candy company.
1889 Whitman's moves its operation to 606-612 Cherry Street, Philadelphia.
1899 Whitman's is awarded a silver medal "for excellence of products" at the National Export Exposition, upon the recommendation of Philadelphia's Franklin Institute.
1904 Whitman's first magazine ad debuts-beginning a commitment to advertising that continues to this day.
1906 Whitman's again moves its operation, this time to 4th and Race Streets, Philadelphia.
1907 Under the direction of sales manager Walter P. Sharp, Whitman's establishes its own national sales organization for direct distribution to dealers on a national level. The company targets "better drug stores" and places products with only one druggist per town.
1909 The business of Stephen F. Whitman & Son is incorporated with Horace F. Whitman, president. Whitman's continues its commitment to advertising by placing its first ad in "The Saturday Evening Post."
1911 Walter P. Sharp succeeds Horace F. Whitman as the company's third president and begins to develop The Fussy Package for Fastidious Folks. Whitman's advertises a "money back guarantee," a belief in quality not supported by many other manufacturers of the era.
1912 Whitman's Sampler® is introduced to the public. The Sampler box includes a collection of the most popular pieces of candy sold in the confectionery shop. Whitman's becomes the first in its industry to use cellophane to wrap its packaged products. Cellophane is imported from France until 1924, when Dupont started the United States production. For many years, Whitman's is the largest single user of cellophane in America.
1915 The Sampler emerges as the most popular assortment in the Whitman's line. In recognition of its standing, the Messenger Boy is introduced, becomes a registered trademark and is added as a piece of candy to the Sampler.
1917 Whitman's modifies its Library Package and calls it Service Chocolates — Sweets with a Book — a vest-pocket edition of classics by well-known authors, packed with the company's chocolates and sent overseas to American troops during World War I. The concept of providing an assortment of books is coordinated with a small New Jersey publishing company that later gains wider recognition as "The Book of the Month Club."
1920 Whitman's introduces a line of fountain syrups, sauces and icings.
1924 Whitman's first full-color magazine advertisement debuts. Whitman's introduces a special line of art boxes, including "Salmagundi," an exotic Art Nouveau design from the mysterious East, and "The Lebrun Box," a true Mother's Day masterpiece by the French artist, Madame Lebrun.
1926 Louis L. McIlhenney succeeds Walter P. Sharp as the company's fourth president.
1929 Whitman's retail store at 1626 Chestnut Street is recognized as the finest building erected on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The stock market crash starts one of the worst depression eras in American history. Whitman's, however, sets the quality standard for the candy industry through extensive advertising and a refusal to cut prices or reduce quality.
1932 The Great Depression reaches its lowest level. Whitman's continues to lead the candy industry with an unabated advertising and selling effort and a steadfast refusal to reduce prices, lower dealers' profits or sacrifice consumer quality.
1937 Insets and liners, including the famous "pillow puff" liner, are added to the Sampler.
1939 Louis McIlhenney launches the Sampler's most famous advertising campaign, "A Woman Never Forgets the Man Who Remembers." The campaign remains popular for the next two decades.
1942 Between 1942-45, Whitman's sends six million pounds of chocolate to overseas servicemen in Land, Sea & Air tins. Women on Whitman's production lines slip notes into boxes to comfort the fighting men. Many of these letters result in long-term friendships and even some post-war marriages.
1945 The Sampler box is enhanced through the introduction of the "French Edge", with the top and bottom edges extending beyond the sides of the box. This packaging modification becomes the hallmark of all fine candy.
1946 Whitman's and General Electric team up to develop the first refrigerated display case, selling more than 8,000 units with the aid of only pre-production blueprints.
1948 More than 9,000 refrigerated display cases are installed for Whitman's dealers throughout the country, thus helping to reduce the seasonality of boxed chocolates.
1950 Beginning in 1950 and for the next decade, Bing Crosby, Alan Ladd, Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor are among the many motion picture stars who appear in Saturday Evening Post advertisements endorsing Whitman's Chocolates. Compensation for these endorsements is in boxes of chocolates and a mention of the star's upcoming motion picture.
1961 A 10-acre building on a scenic 37-acre campus just outside Philadelphia becomes the new plant location for Whitman's.
1971 More than 575 cross-stitched samplers, collected by Whitman's through the years, are donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
1976 Whitman's debuts its first tin of chocolates since the 1930's, a commemorative bicentennial box. The limited edition tin quickly sells out.
1977 Beginning in 1977 and for the next decade, America's revitalized interest in chocolate spurs Whitman's to develop and market several new products, including chocolate bars, chocolate chips, baking chocolate, hard candy sticks, Danish butter cookies and special items for the Christmas and Easter seasons.
1984 Whitman's introduces "Light Chocolate" with one-third fewer calories than its regular products.
1987 Whitman's Sampler celebrates its 75th anniversary. It remains America's best-selling box of chocolates.
1991 Whitman's Candies becomes a permanent fixture in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Dozens of company artifacts, including old Sampler boxes and magazine ads, help museum curators better understand how Americans lived in the 19th and 20th centuries.
1994 Whitman's partners with another America icon, Peanuts, to develop a line of licensed products that include Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
2001 Whitman's introduces its Sugar-free Sampler. Following the terrorist attacks on the United States, Whitman's revives its tradition of providing service men and women with boxed chocolates. More than 6,000 boxes of chocolates containing hand-written notes of encouragement are delivered to American troops.
2002 Whitman's Candies celebrates its 160th anniversary.
2013 Whitman's Samplers® celebrates its 100th anniversary.
2014 Lindt & Sprungli, manufacturer of premium quality chocolates worldwide, acquires Russell Stover Candies and Whitman's Candies.