A Wilbur Timeline

  • 1865 - Henry Oscar Wilbur and Samuel Croft start up Croft & Wilbur in Philadelphia, PA

    • In 1865, Henry Oscar Wilbur and Samuel Croft start a confectionery business in Philadelphia, Pa. Operating under the name of Croft & Wilbur, they produce molasses candies and hard candies. A few years later, their business grows by so much that they require a new facility and move to 1226 Market St., in Philadelphia.

  • 1884 - Business is separated into H.O. Wilbur & Sons, a cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, and Croft & Allen, a candy manufacturer

    • In 1884, Wilbur and Croft decide to separate the business into a cocoa and chocolate manufacturer and a candy manufacturer. H.O. Wilbur & Sons manufacture the chocolate products, while Croft & Allen continue the hard candy and molasses candy business. H.O. Wilbur is assisted by two of his three sons: William Nelson and Harry L.

  • 1887 - Stirring Cupid design is introduced and H.O. Wilbur retires

    • In 1887, the Stirring Cupid campaign, one of Wilbur’s most enduring and well-known images, is introduced. The Stirring Cupid, a small winged cupid with bow and arrows stirring a cup of cocoa, will be used on product labels and advertising for years to come.

    • H.O. Wilbur retires in 1887, at the age of 59, shortly after the company moves to its final Philadelphia location at Third, New and Bread Streets. His sons, William Nelson and Harry L., assume full responsibility for the business.

  • 1894 - Wilbur Buds are introduced

    • In 1894, the company seeks a new way to sell chocolate and develops a technique where chocolate is deposited into a solid shape that resembles a flower bud.

  • 1900 - Kendig Chocolate Company opens in Lititz, PA and Bertrand K. Wilbur returns

    • In 1900, Kendig Chocolate Company, originally founded as a caramel factory, opens in Lititz, Pa.  

    • Bertrand K. Wilbur, a doctor in Alaska, returns to Philadelphia at the death of his brother, Harry. Upon his return, he assumes supervision of production in the chocolate plant.

  • 1902 - Kendig Chocolate Company is bought by new owners and a new plant is built in Lititz

    • In 1902, Kendig Chocolate Company is purchased by new owners and the company name is changed to Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate Company. The name change coincidentally takes place on February 14, 1902, Valentine’s Day.

    • Not long after the name change, a new plant is constructed at 48 North Broad Street in Lititz. The Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate Company is known for its chocolate cigars, nut lunch bars, Ideal almond bars, Noah’s arks, and Ideal cocoa.

  • 1905 - Lawrence H. Wilbur joins the company

    • A third generation of Wilburs joins the business in 1905, in the form of H.O.’s grandson, Lawrence H. He later develops the machine to foil wrap the famous Wilbur Buds®, which prove to be very popular with consumers.

  • 1913 - Addition added to Lititz Plant

    • In need of more space, the board of directors of Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate Company authorize the construction of a five-story addition to the existing factory in Lititz, Pa.

  •  1927 - Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate Company merges with Brewster Chocolate Co. and H.O. Wilbur & Sons strikes a deal to manufacture and sell Suchard Chocolate

    • In 1927, Brewster Chocolate Co. of Newark, N.J., purchases Ideal Cocoa and Chocolate Company. The company is renamed Brewster-Ideal Chocolate Co.

    • The same year, H.O. Wilbur & Sons negotiates with Suchard Societe Anonyme of Switzerland, to manufacture and sell Suchard Chocolate.

  • 1928 - H.O. Wilbur & Sons merges with Suchard

    • H.O. Wilbur & Sons merges with Suchard to form Wilbur-Suchard Chocolate Company in 1928. The negotiations also include a merger with Brewster-Ideal Chocolate Co.

  • 1928 - 1930 - Wilbur-Suchard Chocolate consolidates operations

    • From 1928-1930 Wilbur-Suchard continues operations in three different locations: Philadelphia, Newark, and Lititz. However, in August 1930, the Philadelphia operations are moved to Lititz and the Newark facility is sold back to Albert E. Brewster.

    •  During this time, Wilbur-Suchard produces products for both retail and wholesale markets.

  • 1958 - Wilbur discontinues the sale of Suchard items

    • In 1958, Wilbur-Suchard discontinues the production and sale of all Suchard items and changes the company name to Wilbur Chocolate Co.

  • 1968 - Wilbur is purchased

    • On October 18, 1968, Wilbur becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Company.

  • 1982 - Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc. acquires Mt. Joy facility

    • In 1982, Wilbur acquires a processing facility in Mt. Joy, Pa., from Bachman Candy Co.

  • 1992 - Cargill Purchases Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc.

    • In 1992, Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc. is purchased by Cargill, Incorporated. The Minnesota-based business is a global leader in the production and marketing of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services.

  • 2002 - Wilbur purchases Omnisweet and Peter’s Chocolate

    •  In June of 2002 Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc. purchases Omnisweet, a manufacturer of specialty compound chips, low-melt ice cream flakes and other unique, value added products. The company is renamed Wilbur Limited and is a division of Cargill Limited.

    • In October of 2002, Wilbur also purchases the Peter’s Chocolate brand from Nestlé USA of Glendale, California.

  • 2009 - Wilbur Chocolate celebrates its 125th anniversary

    •  In 2009, Wilbur Chocolate celebrates 125 years of providing quality products to the confectionery industry.  

  • 2010 - Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc. changes its name

    • In 2010, the official company name is changed from Wilbur Chocolate Company, Inc., to Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, Inc.