During World War II, Wrigley was a gum available only to troops. Today, thanks to the Mars Company, Wrigley gum is just one of many candies and confectionaries available in super markets and corner stores across the nation.
Frank C. Mars began the company with his second wife, Ethel after having learned the art of candy dipping from his mother. They started a factory in 1911 to produce and sell candy wholesale. Unfortunately, the first venture failed. Mars moved his family to Minnesota and started again, creating the first incarnation of the candy empire.
The Milky Way bar that so many people enjoy was a candy inspiration from Forrest Mars, Frank’s son. He was inspired to create the treat after having tasted a popular milkshake. He advertised his candy bar as a “chocolate malted candy bar” and it became a smashing success that helped put the Mars Company on people’s radars.
The Snickers bar came in the 1930s, and the Mars Company established an international presence with Mars Limited in the UK. Mars began producing the Mars bar, which is still a popular candy today.
The Mars Company is known to be highly secretive. The company refused to acknowledge that Forrest Mars, Sr. had passed away in 1999, and they further declined to comment on his relationship to the company. Only one outside observer is noted on record to have seen the “M’s” being applied to an M&M batch, a reporter for Washington Post Magazine.
Unlike many companies of that time period, Mars is still family owned and on its fourth generation.