Horlick’s Malted Milk, Racine, Wis., U.S.A., London, Eng.

Horlick’s Malted Milk began manufacture in the late 1800’s and is still produced today by the GlaxoSmithKline plc, a British company headquartered in Brentford, London. According to the Horlicks web site:

Horlick’s was invented by two British-born men, William Horlick (1846-1936) and his brother James (1844-1921) from Gloucestershire, England. James was a chemist, working for a company that made dried baby food. William, the younger brother, had immigrated to America in 1869 and James decided to join him in Chicago in 1873. That same year, they started their own company (J&W Horlicks) to make a malted milk drink. They called their product “Diastoid” and their advertising slogan read: Horlick’s Infant and Invalid Food”

In 1875 the business moved to the outskirts of Racine Wisconsin, and up until 1883 they continued to use the name J&W Horlick. The 1882 Racine City Directory lists them as:

J&W Horlick (James and William Horlick) manufacturers of Horlick’s Food and Dry Extract of Malt. Rapids Road.

In 1883, the business incorporated under the name Horlick’s Food Company. They established a factory on Northwestern Avenue and around this time began using the factory location as their address. Early directories that I was able to find (1888, 1890, 1897, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1910, 1914 and 1916)  listed their address as simply “Northwestern Avenue near the city line.” All of these directories, list James as president and William as secretary/treasurer. Sometime between 1905 and 1910, the business changed it’s name to the Horlick’s Malted Milk Co.

After James’s death in 1921, William became president. The 1929 directory lists William as president and his sons William Horlick Jr and A.J. Horlick as vice presidents.

These early years of the business were featured in a history of Racine Wisconsin called “Racine Belle City of the Lakes and Racine County, Wisconsin, Volume II, published in 1916. It’s a little long and some facts, as presented, differ from the information found in the city directories, but all in all it paints a vivid picture of the company at the time including it’s product development, facilities, relationship with it’s employees and economic importance to Racine.

The name of no productive industry of the United States is perhaps more widely known than that of the Horlick Malted Milk Company, the business of which has developed until it reaches all parts of the civilized world. The company was organized in 1875 and was incorporated in 1878 as the Horlick Food Company by William and James Horlick, brothers, who established their plant in the outskirts of Racine, in Mount Pleasant Township. They began to manufacture a product known as Horlick’s Food, which was a prepared food for infants, invalids and the aged, to be added to milk to modify and enrich it. Their sales at the time covered only Chicago and vicinity. William Horlick, however, realized the great disadvantage of all foods for infants that required the addition of fresh milk, owing to the difficulty of obtaining fresh milk and keeping it so. He therefore began experimenting with the purpose of producing a pure food product containing adequate proportion of pure, rich milk – a food that would complete in itself, that would keep indefinitely in any climate and would be free from all the dangers arising from the use of milk that is impure, adulterated, laden with disease germs or in any way rendered unfit for use. Moreover, he desired that this food should be not only absolutely safe but very nourishing and easily digested by the most delicate infant or invalid, while it should contain at the same time all the elements of nutrition. In carrying on the work of experimentation Mr. Horlick met with many disappointments and leading chemists claimed that it was both a chemical and mechanical impossibility to perfect such a food, advising him to abandon the idea. He never faltered in his purpose, however, notwithstanding his heavy losses of time and expense, and at the end of six years, or in 1887, he produced for the first time in the world’s history a food product in powder form containing clean, rich milk combined with extract of malted barley and wheat that would keep indefinitely. The value of such a product was at once apparent and the business grew by leaps and bounds, so that it was difficult to make the supply meet the demand. A program of building was instituted. New buildings were added from time to time of reinforced concrete construction and the plant today covers an area of fifteen acres. In 1902 plant No. 2 was built, being a duplicate of plant No. 1, and in 1905 plant No. 3 came into existence, a triplicate of the others, but subject to enlargement. Since then the old buildings have all been rebuilt in concrete and steel. All rooms are large and well lighted and there is a perfect fire protection. Sanitation and cleanliness are among the basic elements of the business. There is a forced system of ventilation through the plant, the air being washed by sprays of water.

To maintain such a plant necessitated the employment of a large force of people and in developing the plant the company has shown marked consideration for the welfare of the employees. They maintain an athletic association and there is a whist club and a cricket club for employees and also an employees’ beneficial association. On the pay roll are found three hundred and fifty names. The department of agriculture of the State University at Madison says that the standard of dairying in this part of Wisconsin has been raised very largely owing to the rules of the Horlick factory in regard to the production of good, clean milk and the example furnished therein. Nearly every city in the United States has asked for a copy of the rules of this plant for the production and care of pure milk and these rules have constituted the basis for much municipal legislation in regard to the milk supply of cities. William Horlick owns personally several farms upon which are several hundred head of cows and he also buys milk from one hundred and fifty farmers. In 1915 the company erected a new milk house which is one of the finest in the country.

The process employed in the manufacture of the food consists in boiling the milk in a vacuum, which enables them to boil it without heating above one hundred and forty degrees, for milk “cooks” at one hundred and fifty-six degrees. This results, therefore, in removing all water without cooking. The company has a plant in Slough, England, equal to the No. 2 plant of Racine, and supplies from that point Europe, Africa and a part of India. The trade today covers the entire world, shipments leaving for all parts of the world every week. Every Arctic explorer for the past twenty years has carried a supply of Horlick’s malted milk in powder and lunch tablet form, for it supplies more nutrition to the bulk than any other food and people have lived for many years with no other sustenance. It is standard with all the armies of the world and is regarded as an indispensable accessory on all exploration and camping trips.

In 1889 James Horlick went to New York, where he established a branch, and in 1890 opened the English branch and since that time has been in charge of the English plant. He is the president of the company. William Horlick has been managing director of the home plant and has always lived in Racine. He is secretary and treasurer of the company and his two sons are actively associated with him, the elder, A.J., being vice president of the company, with William Horlick, Jr. as secretary. In 1906 the name was changed to Horlick’s Malted Milk Company. There is no other enterprise that has made Racine as well known throughout the world as this product, today used in every civilized country on the face of the globe.

The story mentions that James went to New York in 1889 to start a branch and then moved on to England in 1890 but the NYC directories say otherwise. There’s no mention of James or the business in the 1889 or 1891 NYC directories but James is listed in the 1892 directory. In that directory, and that directory only, he’s listed at 230 Pearl with the title President. I can’t find any mention of Horlick’s in NYC again until 1904 so it doesn’t appear that James established a NY branch at that point though he may have laid the groundwork.

In 1904 A. J. Horlick, one of William’s sons, is listed as a director in a company called H.W. St John & Co. with an address of 239 South Street. Then between 1905 and 1925 Horlick’s Food Co., and later, Horlick’s Malted Milk Co. is listed and H.W. St John & Co. is included in the listing as their agent. Based on the directories I can find they were located at 239 South Street (1905), 37 Pearl Street (1909 – 1917) and 18 Pearl Street (1918 – 1932). In 1948, H.W. St John & Co. is still listed at 18 Pearl but there’s no mention of Horlick’s.

H.W. St John is still in business today. Their web site calls them freight forwarders and says they were founded in 1902. Based on the fact that A.J. Horlick was one of their early (and probably initial) directors, I have to think that the Horlick’s were instrumental in starting the company in NY as an instrument to distribute their products.

As described in the above feature, the secret to Horlick’s success was developing the process of drying milk into a powder. They obtained a patent (278967A) for the process entitled “Granulated food for infants and process of preparing the same” on June 5, 1883, not 1887 as stated in the story. Four years later, in 1887, they trademarked the name “malted milk. The 1883 date is confirmed in a Horlick advertisement entitled “A Discovery that Benefits Mankind” found in the June 25, 1919 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

A 1921 National Association of Retail Druggists price list demonstrated that by then they were not only selling malted milk in different size cans or jars including a “hospital” size but also selling what they called “malted milk lunch tablets.”

Originally intended for infants and invalids, Horlick’s malted milk was a perfect fit for the back packs of explorers and soldiers. According to the Horlick’s web site the drink has made it’s way to both the North and South poles and in fact, Richard Byrd named the Horlicks Mountains on the Ross Ice Shelf in honor of the company’s $30,000 sponsorship.

The 15 acre factory site, located on Northwestern Avenue must have been in a constant state of flux what with the constant building additions and modifications described in the story. The grounds however appeared to be kept perfectly manicured at all times. A February 1912 article in the Practical Druggist summed it up this way:

To gain an adequate idea of the extreme beauty of the surroundings of the Horlick plant, one must visit it during the summer, when the eye can feast on the vision of green turf, the abundant foliage and many-hued flowers and the lagoon.

A couple of Horlick postcards capture both the size of the operation and the impeccable landscaping.

According to a 2001 article in the “Journal Times” the Company shut down in 1975. Today, some of the Horlick building complex remains. Haban Manufacturing was utilizing a portion of it to manufacture snow blowers and related equipment but that company went out of business in 2000.

This photo appears to be the current view of the building to the right in the first Horlick Post Card above.

The jar I found is early machine made and embossed with both Racine and London locations. According to the Horlick’s current web site they established the London factory in 1908 so I assume it was manufactured after that. It was probably wrapped in paper as evidenced by this early 1920’s advertisement from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that pictures what they call “the old reliable round package”

Huyler’s, New York

According to the “History of Huyler’s Candy Company” by Jennifer Walkowski excerpted from the “Huyler’s Candy Company Building (in Buffalo NY) Nomination for Listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places:

Huyler’s chocolate and candy company was once the largest and most prominent chocolate maker in the United States. Headquartered in New York City, the Huyler’s company operated a large chain of Huyler’s branded stores across the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their high-quality chocolate products were a part of daily life, given as holiday gifts, used as special indulgences and as treats for young girls and boys.

It is said that Milton Hershey worked at Huyler’s in the mid 1880’s before moving to Pennsylvania and starting the Hershey Co.

The company was founded by John S. Huyler.

His obituary in the October 1, 1910 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes the early days of the business

Mr. Hurley was born in Manhattan in 1846, his father being David Huyler. In 1875 he started the business which proved to be the foundation of his fortune, on Broadway near Eighteenth Street, Manhattan. There it was that he made the announcement of “Huyler’s Taffy. Fresh Every Hour.”

This proved a trademark that was on everyone’s tongue, while the candies were in so many mouths that the business speedily grew to immense proportions, and branches were established all over Manhattan Borough.

In 1881 Mr. Huyler formed a corporation under the name of “John S. Huyler” of which his father, David, was made the president. It is a family corporation. Mr. Huyler’s father dying in 1885, John S. became the president in his stead. There are about sixty Huyler stores all over the country. Nineteen are in Manhattan, four are in Brooklyn, and there are branch stores in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Newark, Atlantic City, Long Branch, Newport and other cities. The factory is in Manhattan.

The growth referred to in the obituary is documented in the New York City Directories.

  • The 1876/1877 Directory listed John S. Huyler at his first location at 863 Broadway. His occupation is listed as “candy and old fashioned molasses candy”
  • By 1886, the factory and offices had been established at 64 Irving Place and were listed along with what appear to be three Manhattan retail locations; the original store at 863 Broadway as well as 150 Broadway and 17 W. 42nd Street.
  • By 1905, two additional Manhattan retail locations were added; 508 Fifth Avenue (pictured below) and 469 Broadway.
  • Then four years later in 1909, in addition to the Irving Place factory and offices, the number of Manhattan retail locations had soared to 21 (as opposed to 19 mentioned in the obituary).

Most of the NYC store openings were announced in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The announcements provide some insight into the store decor and products. The following is from the June 14, 1906 issue of the Brookyn Daily Eagle announcing the opening of the store at 81 Nassau Street.

Another Huyler store has opened at 81 Nassau Street, Manhattan, where the well-known Huyler candies and chocolates will be on sale to relieve the rush of their other downtown stores. The new store makes eleven opened by Huyler in greater New York, and the twenty-sixth in the chain of stores operated directly by the Huyler Corporation in various parts of the States and Canada. The store is handsomely appointed, finished in mahogany and with a tasty color scheme carried out on walls, ceiling and decorations; it cannot fail to satisfy those who come in to enjoy their famous fountain drinks, which will be served to perfection. The store will have a soda counter fifty-five feet in length, able to accommodate the crowds that will flock there for their celebrated ice cream soda, phosphates, etc. It is located handier to the Wall Street and jewelers district than any other in their chain.

Another, this one in the May 14, 1908 issue announced a new store in Hudson Terminal (now the World Trade Center PATH Station) with a sales approach aimed at daily commuters. It describes a process that still thrives today in commuter terminals.

The opening of the latest Huyler store today in the Hudson Terminal Building at Cortlandt and Church Streets just west of Broadway is an instance of the up-to-dateness of the big company, which aims to keep its advance line of stores abreast of the shifting lines of demand. For customers in a hurry to catch ferries or elevated trains they will make a special feature of carrying in stock a full supply of freshly packed boxes ready to carry without a moments delay…

John Huyler was a man who apparently appreciated those who worked for him as evidenced by this paragraph that was included in his obituary:

He was in the habit of giving his employees in Manhattan an annual outing, hiring a steamboat for the day. It was also his policy to look after the welfare of old employees, providing them with a home. He purchased ground on the Hudson for that purpose. He was also a generous contributor to Syracuse University, a Methodist institution, of which he was a trustee. He recently made a gift of $20,000 to that institution.

After his death, the business remained in the Huyler family. The 1915 NYC Directory listed Frank DeKlyn Huyler, his oldest son, as president, B. F. DeKlyn, a relative by marriage, as Vice president, and two other sons, David and Coulter as treasurer and secretary respectively. By this time the retail store count had reached 23 Manhattan locations and another 5 in Brooklyn.

In the early 1920’s, Huyler’s began expanding outside of the candy world, opening restaurants. An announcement in the December 13, 1924 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for a new store in Brooklyn described both the restaurant and the target audience.

Huyler’s are opening a new store at 529 Fulton Street, between Duffield and Gold Streets, Brooklyn, in the heart of the theatre and shopping district. Distinguished in the candy world for 50 successful years, they need no introduction to the Brooklyn public. Huyler’s candy has maintained its superiority for years and has become a standard of excellence today. The soda fountain should be mentioned also for it’s cleanliness and order, its efficient and tasteful service, and its delicious fresh fruit syrups.

The distinctive feature of the new store is a fine restaurant equipped with all the modern conveniences to meet the demands of the busy shopper as well as a more leisure tete-a-tete. You will find there all the refinement and good taste which characterizes all the Huyler’s restaurants.

A men’s grill in early American style will be opened very soon to serve the business man who insists on pleasant surroundings, as well as a well cooked, substantial meal at moderate prices.

A comfortable waiting room has been provided so that there need be no waiting in line during the rush hours.

The many friends and patrons of the Huyler’s store, located for years at 458 Fulton street, will be glad to know that this new store is opening almost directly across the street, and that it will be managed by Miss Godsil, well known and liked by a highly esteemed clientele.

Finally, after 50 years, the family sold the business in 1925. Subsequently owned by several different entities, I don’t find any advertisements for them after the early 1950’s. The original store location was still in business as late as 1944 as evidenced by a June 28 classified ad that used the 863 Broadway address.

The jar I found is a small (4 1/2 inches high), early machine made jar. A 1905 advertisement for Frederick Loeser & Co. listed Huyler jars that contained “assorted fruit balls, lemon balls and horehound sticks.”

It also could have contained powdered chocolate or cocoa which were also Huyler products.