Curtiss Candy Company

Baby Ruth candy barThe Curtiss Candy Company is more popularly known as the creator of the Baby Ruth candy bar. Currently, most of the company’s popular brands are now owned by Nestlé.

Curtiss Candy Company was founded in 1916 by German immigrant Otto Schnering. Schnering got the inspiration of naming the company from his mother’s maiden name in order to make it more American sounding. The company’s first product was the confectionery item Kandy Kake, a pastry bar topped with peanuts and enrobed in chocolate. During its first year, the company earned just under a hundred thousand dollars, but was able to achieve total sales of $1 million in the year 1921.

In 1919, Curtiss Candy Company opened a new factory, which was three-stories high, and hired around 400 employees. What made the company skyrocket in sales in 1921 was the creation and launching of its Baby Ruth candy bar. After the launching of Baby Ruth, other currently popular candy bars were also launched and were named ‘Butterfinger’ and ‘Polar Bear.’ Curtiss Candy Company continued to grow in the 1930s, employing over a thousand employees around the city.

In 1964, the company was acquired by Standard Brands, which then later went into a merger with Nabisco in 1981. After the merger, the Curtiss brands were then sold to the food giant Nestlé.

In previous years, there had been a controversy around the origin of the brand name Baby Ruth. Three theories came out regarding the origin of the candy bar’s name:
1. The candy bar was named after President Cleveland’s daughter Ruth Cleveland.
2. The candy bar was named after the baseball legend Babe Ruth.
3. The candy bar was named after the granddaughter of Mrs. Williamson. Mrs. Williamson’s husband was the president of the company that co-developed the formula for the Baby Ruth candy bar.

Of the three possible explanations, Curtiss Candy Company claimed that the first explanation is correct. Some critics however, questioned this explanation because President Cleveland’s daughter died long before the Baby Ruth candy bar had even been launched.

Regardless of the controversy behind the name, Curtiss’ Baby Ruth had been, and still continues to be, one of the most popular candy bars across the country and even in other parts of the world.

Company headquarters address: not applicable
Ownership: not applicable
No of Employees: not applicable
Geography: not applicable
Demography: not applicable

Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Polar Bear – although the brands Baby Ruth and Butterfinger were created by the Curtiss Candy Company, currently these brands are now owned by Nestlé.

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  1. Kathy (Van Vleet) Kerns April 21, 2017 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I remember Ed Seibert in Purchasing. He was a nice man.

  2. Glenda September 18, 2016 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Bring back the Royal Flush or someone have the recipe. Best candy bar ever. I remember from the canteen in school.

  3. jan mayers March 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    bring back the royal flush candy..please…or at least give me the recipe

  4. Jerry Kelley July 2, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Anyone remember the Curtiss Candy theme park in Medicine Park, OK, in the ’60s?

  5. Kathy (Van Vleet) Kerns November 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I worked at Curtiss Candy from 1971-1979 in Industrial Relations (now called Human Resources) – should have stayed cause it was my favorite job! I remember Jack Farn, Bob Steel, Phil Gagliano, Jim McGovern, Ralph Lawrence, Oliver Stella and have many, many more fond memories. I remember doing the service awards for Mr. Lipps, and planning our first picnic away from the factory in Franklin Park.

  6. Paulette Hawkins September 16, 2014 at 12:01 am - Reply

    If Nestle bought out Curtiss Candy Company, I wonder if they have the recipe for the Royal Flush candy bar. I just read many,many request for the best candy bar ever made to be brought back like a lot of other retro items.Please if any one can bring it back, BRING IT BACK!!!!!!

  7. Gloria Rankin-Brown May 1, 2014 at 4:55 am - Reply

    My mother Marian Rankin worked at Curtiss Candy Company until it moved to Franklin Park. Several of our family members also worked there. I fondly remember those big boxes of candy treats they gave their employees at Christmas. I always looked forward to my mother bringing home that box. Does anybody remember the year they moved to Franklin Park?

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  9. mike enstrom October 21, 2012 at 10:37 am - Reply

    who owns the patent for Chum Gum and how can we contact them to produce this bubble gum again?

    2 sticks of soft chew pink coloredbubble gum coated in powdered sugar. Just one of a kind flavor burst!

    Back then it was 1 penny for the two sticks wrapped in a blue wrapper.

    Thank You,
    Mike Enstrom

    • Karel Heinz January 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Oh my goodness! I have been wondering about this gum like for ever. Glad I just happened upon this post from 4 1/3 years ago. Isn’t the internet wonderful.

  10. Arthur L. Dale August 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I went to work for Curtiss Candy Co. in Chicago in Feb,1961, my first employment after graduating from the Univ of Illinois in chemistry. I was the quality control lab supervisor from 1961-63. I was a skinny kid back then but gained 40 pounds the first year at Curtiss by eating the candy such as Baby Ruth bars, Butterfinger bars, Coconut Grove bars, Saf-T-Pops, Curtiss marshmallows ( when marshmellows were still good to eat because they were starch mold deposited instead of extruded). I worked for Joe Bacher and Harry Schumann, chief chemist. It was a wonderful place to work. Since I was a small town boy at heart I accepted a job as chemical engineer at Teepak, Inc. in Danville, IL in 1963 and took early retirement there in1996.

    • Barbara Seibert Ayres May 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      My dad, Edward Seibert worked for Curtiss for 47 years. He loved the product and ate it and never gained an ounce! I remember him taking me to the plant an letting me take a fresh “bar” off the line. This was when the plant was still located down town. I think his last job there was as a purchasing agent, but before then he wore many different hats. He worked there before WWII and then returned after it was over. My grandfather Leo Seibert an possibly my uncles also worked there. The Schnering family and my family were very close. I think my dad retired in 1968 or around there.

    • Barbara Rand March 19, 2016 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Hi, my name was Barbara Fink at the time 1961-1963 when I worked there. Worked in the office at the factories downtown for about 1 1/2 yrs and then went to the main office to work with Mr. Ramsey – I sure enjoyed my time there – met so many great people! Seems like you just couldn’t help putting on a little weight especially going to the breakroom and passing by the conveyor belts – filled with butterfingers and Baby Ruths!!!! Good memories there!!!!!

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