Skip to Content

History of Charleston Chew Bars

Charleston Chew bars have been a beloved candy for nearly a century. The candy was created in 1922 by the Fox-Cross Candy Company, founded by stage actor Donley Cross and his friend Charlie Fox. The candy was named after the Charleston, a popular dance at that time. The original version of the candy featured a chewy vanilla nougat covered in milk chocolate.

In 1957, Nathan Sloane bought the company and introduced two new flavors: chocolate and strawberry. The candy became even more popular, and it is still a favorite today. Charleston Chew bars have been featured in movies, TV shows, and even comic books. The candy has a rich history and has become an iconic part of American culture.

Despite its popularity, many people do not know the full history of Charleston Chew bars. This article aims to provide a comprehensive look at the candy’s origins, its rise to fame, and its enduring popularity. From its humble beginnings to its place in popular culture, the history of Charleston Chew bars is a fascinating story that is sure to delight candy lovers everywhere.

Origins of the Charleston Chew

Creation and Founders

The Charleston Chew is a candy bar that has been around for almost a century. The candy bar was created by Donley Cross, a former Shakespearean actor, and his friend Charlie Fox in 1922. After Cross’s injury, he decided to start his own candy company, and the Charleston Chew was one of the first products they introduced. The candy bar was initially sold as a chewy vanilla nougat covered in milk chocolate.

Naming the Candy Bar

The Charleston Chew got its name from the popular dance known as the “Charleston” in the 1920s. The candy bar’s creators wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the dance, so they named their candy bar after it. The Charleston Chew quickly became a hit, and it has been a favorite candy bar for generations.

Today, the Charleston Chew is still available in its original vanilla flavor, as well as chocolate and strawberry flavors. The candy bar has a unique texture that sets it apart from other candy bars. It is still a popular candy bar, and it remains a favorite among candy lovers of all ages.

Early Development and Production

Initial Recipe and Ingredients

The Charleston Chew bar was created in 1925 by the Fox-Cross Candy Company, founded by stage actor Donley Cross and his friend Charlie Fox. The original recipe featured a chewy vanilla nougat covered in milk chocolate. The candy was named after the Charleston, a popular dance at that time.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process for Charleston Chew bars involves several steps. First, the nougat is made by combining sugar, corn syrup, and egg whites in a large kettle. The mixture is then cooked to a high temperature and whipped until it becomes light and fluffy. The nougat is then poured into molds and left to cool.

Once the nougat has cooled, it is coated in a layer of milk chocolate. The chocolate is melted and poured over the nougat, which is then cooled again. Finally, the bars are cut into individual pieces and wrapped in foil.

Over the years, the Charleston Chew bar has become an iconic candy, known for its chewy texture and delicious flavor. While the recipe and manufacturing process have evolved since the candy was first introduced, the basic ingredients and techniques have remained the same, ensuring that each bar is just as tasty as the last.

Popularity and Growth

Rise in the Candy Market

Charleston Chew bars were first introduced in 1922 by the Fox-Cross Company. The candy bar quickly gained popularity and became a household name. During the 1920s, the candy market was booming, and Charleston Chew bars were among the top-selling candy bars in the United States.

Advertising Strategies

To maintain its position in the market, the company implemented various advertising strategies. One of the most successful campaigns was the “Freeze it, Break it, Share it” campaign, which encouraged consumers to freeze the candy bar and then break it into small pieces to share with friends and family. This campaign was highly effective and helped increase the popularity of the candy bar.

Expansion of Flavors

Over the years, the company has expanded its product line to include various flavors of Charleston Chew bars. In the 1970s, the company introduced new flavors such as chocolate and strawberry, which were well-received by consumers. Today, the company offers several flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

Overall, the popularity and growth of Charleston Chew bars can be attributed to their unique texture and taste, effective advertising strategies, and the company’s ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

Ownership Changes

Early Acquisitions

Charleston Chew bars have had a few changes in ownership since they were first created in 1922. In 1957, the company was acquired by Nathan Sloane, who was the president of the Sloane-Blabon Corporation. Sloane had a background in the candy industry, and he saw the potential in Charleston Chew bars. Under his leadership, the candy bar became even more popular.

In 1980, Sloane sold the company to Nabisco Brands, Inc. Nabisco continued to produce Charleston Chew bars, and they even introduced new flavors. However, in 1988, Nabisco sold the brand to Warner-Lambert Company.

Recent Ownership

Warner-Lambert held onto Charleston Chew for only a few years before selling it to Tootsie Roll Industries in 1993. Tootsie Roll Industries is still the owner of Charleston Chew bars today. Under their ownership, the candy bar has continued to be a popular treat, with many people enjoying the classic vanilla and chocolate flavors.

Tootsie Roll Industries has also introduced new flavors of Charleston Chew bars, including strawberry and chocolate nougat. They have also created Charleston Mini Chews, which are bite-sized versions of the classic candy bar. Despite the changes in ownership over the years, Charleston Chew bars have remained a beloved treat for generations.

Cultural Impact

Charleston Chew in Popular Culture

Charleston Chew bars have been referenced in popular culture for many years. In the adult animated sitcom The Life & Times of Tim, the candy bar is frequently mentioned throughout the series. The show’s creator, Steve Dildarian, once said that if the main character Tim were to have an epitaph, it would likely read, “Here lies Tim. He loved Charleston Chews.”

Influence on Other Candy Products

Charleston Chew’s unique texture and taste have influenced other candy products over the years. Many modern candy bars are more complicated in terms of flavor and texture, but Charleston Chews remain popular for their simplicity and chewiness. The candy bar’s popularity has also led to the creation of bite-sized versions called Charleston Mini Chews, which were introduced in 1998.

Overall, Charleston Chew bars have had a lasting impact on candy culture and continue to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Manufacturing Evolution

Technological Advancements

Throughout its history, the manufacturing process of Charleston Chew bars has undergone significant changes and improvements. In the early days, the candy was made by hand, and the production was limited. However, with the advent of new technologies, the manufacturing process became more efficient and cost-effective.

One of the most significant technological advancements in the production of Charleston Chew bars was the introduction of the enrobing machine. This machine allowed for the chocolate coating to be applied to the nougat center in a more precise and consistent manner. This innovation not only improved the quality of the candy but also increased the production capacity.

Modernization of Facilities

As the demand for Charleston Chew bars grew, the manufacturing facilities had to be modernized to keep up with the production. In 1957, Nathan Sloane bought the Fox-Cross Candy Company and introduced new flavors, including chocolate and strawberry. This move led to the expansion of the manufacturing facilities to accommodate the increased production.

Over the years, the facilities have continued to be modernized, with the introduction of new equipment and technologies. This has enabled the company to increase production capacity while maintaining the quality of the candy.

Today, the manufacturing process of Charleston Chew bars is highly automated, with state-of-the-art equipment used to produce the candy. The company continues to invest in new technologies to ensure that the production process remains efficient and cost-effective while maintaining the high quality of the candy.

Challenges and Controversies

Health Concerns

As with any candy, Charleston Chew Bars have faced criticism for their high sugar content and potential negative effects on health. In particular, some have expressed concern about the impact of the candy on dental health, as well as its potential to contribute to obesity and other health problems.

While it is true that consuming too much sugar can have negative effects on health, it is important to note that Charleston Chew Bars, like all candy, are meant to be enjoyed in moderation. By consuming candy in moderation and practicing good dental hygiene, individuals can still enjoy the occasional treat without putting their health at risk.

Market Competition

Throughout its history, Charleston Chew Bars have faced stiff competition from other candy bars on the market. In particular, the rise of more complex and varied candy bars in recent years has made it more difficult for Charleston Chew Bars to stand out from the crowd.

Despite this competition, however, Charleston Chew Bars have remained a popular choice among candy lovers. Their unique texture and classic flavors continue to appeal to consumers of all ages, and the candy bar remains a staple in many households and candy shops around the world.