Triple Chocolate Liquor Mill

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There are many stages in the process of making a luscious bar of milk chocolate from dried and roasted cocoa beans. This machine, a chocolate liquor mill used in the Hershey chocolate factory from about 1920 to the late 1970s, was critical in the early stages of the process. Between heated stones, the mill ground the "nibs," or cracked cores of the cocoa beans, melting the cocoa butter contained inside. The resulting liquefied cocoa butter and ground nibs produced a mixture called "chocolate liquor," (a liquor with no alcoholic content). Unsweetened chocolate liquor is very bitter, and, while normally it isn't eaten as is, it can be used in the production of certain food products or sold as baking chocolate. To make "eating chocolate," like that in candy bars, the chocolate liquor requires many more additives, as well as the processes of mixing, refining, and conching.
Milton Snavely Hershey's (1857-1945) road to becoming the most recognized name in the American chocolate industry was neither smooth nor entirely sweet. After failing at the confectionary business in Philadelphia, Denver, and New York, Hershey moved back to his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and began a business making caramel candies. While the company enjoyed modest success, Hershey was continually experimenting with new products.
Currently not on view
J. M. Lehmann Machine Works
Credit Line
Gift of the Hershey Foods Corporation
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Industry & Manufacturing
ca 1918
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
place made
United States: New York
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
stone (overall material)
overall: 93 in x 132 in x 41 in; 236.22 cm x 335.28 cm x 104.14 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name
triple chocolate liquor mill